Eight high school, college students and recent graduates interned at The Watershed Institute this summer. Alongside staff, they are conducting legal research on the regulation of polluted stormwater runoff, implement habitat restoration projects on the Watershed Reserve, devise communications strategies about water and watersheds, and help manage the rain gardens, green roof and meadows around the Watershed Center. They also are monitoring water quality at 13 new sites in the Assunpink Watershed in Trenton.
Jannat Ali, 21, interned with the science team, sampling macroinvertebrates and monitoring the chemical makeup of Assunpink and Jacobs creeks. She also helped investigate the accessibility of various sites to see if they were suitable as future monitoring locations. She graduated in May from Mercer County Community College and will continue her biology studies at Rutgers University.
“Learning other skills from everyone was very interesting and fun,” she said. “It was a pleasure to work with an amazing team, and the best part was that we got to learn a little bit about everything!”
Jared Austerlitz, 20, was a fellow Alliance for Watershed Education sponsored by the William Penn Foundation. He performed chemical monitoring of the streams in the Delaware Watershed, collected and identified macro invertebrates, assisted staff with special events and programs, and participated in community outreach to help increase public awareness of water quality and expand the Watershed’s constituency. He will attend Rutgers University-New Brunswick this fall.
Emily Dallas, 24, was a fellow with the Alliance for Watershed Education. She worked on several projects with the science department and did community outreach, such as staffing an educational booth at the Mercer County Fair and Highland Park Farmer’s market. She assisted with the Watershed’s four Academy programs for high school student, sharing her experience about the intern opportunities. She graduated from Sweet Briar College in 2016 with a B.S. in Environmental Science.
“Often, environmental issues can seem very daunting and large-scale. However, I have really enjoyed conducting stream studies that may someday be used to have an impact on municipal or state policy,” she said. “The group of science department interns this year was awesome. We got along well, learned from each other, and always made our work fun. We even put a barbecue grill together, with instructions including 32 illustrated assembly steps. All of us come from very different backgrounds, but we make a great team!”
Krystal Delnoce, 19, was an intern funded by the Princeton Environmental Institute. She helped the science staff with the Jacob’s Creek Watershed Study and the Urban Watershed Study by collecting data at each locale to help create a better understanding of how land use impacts water and habitat quality. She gained knowledge on a variety of subjects, including GIS, macroinvertebrates and green infrastructure. She is a rising sophomore at Princeton University and is majoring in civil and environmental engineering.
Gavin Horoszewski, 18, was the Ted Stiles Stewardship intern. He assisted Watershed staff on a multiple tasks, including a bluebird monitoring project, invasive search and eradication throughout the Watershed Reserve, weeding and maintenance in the native tree nursery, fence maintenance, native tree surveying, and invasive plant removal. He recently graduated from the Peddie School and will be attending the University of Richmond in the fall.
Matthew Ramirez, 20, was an intern funded by the Princeton Environmental Institue. He is a rising senior at Princeton University who is studying Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. During his internship he completed research on New Jersey’s municipal stormwater ordinances.
Two Watershed interns in the Education Department will continue into mid- December.
Michelle Perkins, 22, was the Assistant Camp Director at the Watershed Nature Camp. She will help the education staff with visiting school children, and multiple adult, family and children programs. She received her degree from Mercer County Community College this spring.
Korie Vee, 25, has helped with the Watershed Nature Camp as a group leader and will assist with field trips, Next Generation Science Standards visiting classes, and a variety of adult, family and children programs. She graduated in 2017 from Montclair State University where she received her degree in Environmental and Earth Science.