Summer Internship Series: My Summer as an Environmental Advocate

Mae Riordan ’18

Agriculture Outreach and Advocacy Intern, Missouri Coalition for the Environment

This summer, I worked as the Agriculture Outreach and Advocacy Intern at Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE). I worked directly under Alicia Lloyd, MCE’s Clean Water Policy Coordinator. My tasks for the summer included organizing footage, interviews, and pictures from their “Farm Tour” into tangible products to release to the public. This means I wrote blog posts and other features on a variety of agricultural and environmental issues facing Missouri, but I also created a GIS Story Map highlighting farmers across the state. I specifically researched different issues that affected agriculture production within Missouri, which was pretty exciting.

One of the tasks I worked on was researching the chemical pesticide, Dicamba, and its affect on Missouri farmers. This became a very exciting task, because this summer it was a hot issue across the country, so it felt very relevant and important. Essentially, dicamba is a pesticide that must be applied to a certain variety of dicamba-resistant crop, otherwise it will kill anything it touches. This caused tensions in Missouri for farmers, because the pesticide can drift from a farm that uses these dicamba-resistant seeds onto a farm that doesn’t, ultimately financially hurting the farmers who’s crop was killed. There was even a murder over the issue of dicamba drift in Missouri’s boot-heel.

Along with the blog post, I also added content to MCE’s website on pesticides. Since pesticides can truly affect our clean water and health, it was really important that MCE included some content on it on their website. You can read about what I researched and came up with here!

Last, I spent the majority of my time working on editing photographs, interviews, and video clips that MCE collected while talking with a variety of farmers across the state. The farmers ranged from owning 1000-acres of land, to a small 2-acre plot. What was really cool was that these farmers all practiced sustainable methods for farming, which really took what I’ve learned the past 3 years as an Environmental Studies major, and showed real world applications of the processes. The farm tour story map hasn’t been added to the website yet, since it’s a work in process, but it was really awesome to learn how to work with different software to create something that the public would love to look at and learn about sustainable farming!

Overall, this summer was an incredible learning opportunity. From visiting a water treatment plant, to attending video conferences with some leading individuals in the environmental field, I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. It’s exciting to see that some of my tangible products will help inform the public of some really detrimental impacts of agriculture on our land, and hopefully it will have a lasting impact on educating the public!

Summer Internship Series: Surfing through Five Rivers Metro Parks

Will Shepard ’20

Five Rivers Metro Parks, Dayton, Ohio

My name is Will Shepard. I’m from Thetford Vermont which is a tiny little town about twenty minute drive away from Dartmouth college. I am 21 years old and a sophomore here at Denison studying Political Science. I took a gap year last school year and went to New Zealand and had an absolute blast. On my return I got an internship with Five Rivers Metro Parks in Dayton Ohio, made possible through a stipend with Denison. I appreciated my internship a ton, and even though I know now that working in a public park is not what I want to do after college, I think that it has inspired me to pursue something in the government sector.

I achieved a decently significant amount during my internship, I was able to help set up and organize a website that detailed every single trail in the fifteen parks that Five Rivers runs. This project was probably my favorite thing to do because it required me to work with my officemates on how best to showcase the park. I had to detail every trail and write up how they should best be used, the attractions they provided, and when was the opportune time to visit that park and those trails. I had a lot of fun doing that project. I also worked on setting up the annual Bike to Work Day, which involved getting vendors and local businesses to come and sponsor the event. That was a lot of work, but well worth it as the event was incredibly successful.

I think that this internship provided me with a lot of knowledge. That knowledge comes in a variety of ways. I think that I am much better equipped to deal with communicating effectively in the office space as well as being able to effectively communicate with other, outside businesses. I was able to gain the confidence to suggest that they get the University of Dayton more involved with the park by offering programs that the university students could participate in and even get community service hours for completing.

I expected a little bit more work on environmental stewardship work, but was happily surprised when that was actually translated into getting the locals to be more involved in the park system. I was really happy working for them during the six weeks. Although I would not do it again because I know that that isn’t where I want to be post college, I am incredibly grateful to Denison for receiving the stipend to make it all possible.

Summer Internship Series: Emily Oaks Nature Center

Craig Freeland ’19

Emily Oaks Nature Center, Skokie, Illinois

My​ ​name​ ​is​ ​Craig​ ​Freeland​ ​and​ ​I​ ​am​ ​an​ ​Environmental​ ​Studies​ ​and​ ​Educational​ ​Studies​ ​double major​ ​with​ ​a​ ​minor​ ​in​ ​Art​ ​History​ ​and​ ​Visual​ ​Culture​ ​from​ ​Lanham,​ ​MD.​ ​This​ ​summer​ ​I​ ​had​ ​the opportunity​ ​to​ ​work​ ​at​ ​Emily​ ​Oaks​ ​Nature​ ​Center​ ​in​ ​Skokie,​ ​Illinois.​ ​Prior​ ​to​ ​this​ ​I​ ​spent​ ​two​ ​days at​ ​another​ ​non-profit,​ ​but​ ​quit​ ​after​ ​realizing​ ​the​ ​organization​ ​did​ ​not​ ​operate​ ​with​ ​the​ ​integrity that​ ​I​ ​expected.

At​ ​Emily​ ​Oaks​ ​I​ ​held​ ​a​ ​host​ ​of​ ​positions.​ ​Initially,​ ​I​ ​started​ ​off​ ​the​ ​summer​ ​as​ ​a​ ​camp​ ​program leader​ ​at​ ​their​ ​summer​ ​camp​ ​named​ ​Earth​ ​Adventures.​ ​The​ ​camp​ ​was​ ​run​ ​by​ ​lifelong environmental​ ​educator​ ​Jill​ ​Flaherty,​ ​whose​ ​specific​ ​position​ ​at​ ​Emily​ ​Oaks​ ​is​ ​School-Age Coordinator,​ ​which​ ​means​ ​that​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​year​ ​she​ ​is​ ​primarily​ ​organizing​ ​programing for​ ​students​ ​from​ ​grades​ ​K-12​ ​and​ ​even​ ​younger.​ ​Working​ ​under​ ​Jill​ ​were​ ​three​ ​camp​ ​directors and​ ​the​ ​camp​ ​program​ ​leaders,​ ​who​ ​were​ ​all​ ​college-aged.​ ​Each​ ​of​ ​us​ ​had​ ​a​ ​group​ ​of​ ​about​ ​8-9 campers​ ​whose​ ​ages​ ​varied​ ​from​ ​6-11.​ ​My​ ​group​ ​was​ ​comprised​ ​of​ ​9​ ​years​ ​olds​ ​full​ ​of personality​ ​and​ ​energy.​ ​These​ ​qualities​ ​made​ ​the​ ​work​ ​difficult​ ​at​ ​times​ ​but​ ​its​ ​was​ ​also incredibly​ ​rewarding​ ​experience.

The​ ​bulk​ ​of​ ​our​ ​responsibilities​ ​included​ ​basic​ ​supervision​ ​and​ ​running​ ​programs.​ ​Running programs​ ​was​ ​the​ ​phrase​ ​that​ ​the​ ​organization​ ​used​ ​for​ ​leading​ ​activities.​ ​These​ ​programs covered​ ​a​ ​wealth​ ​of​ ​topics​ ​including​ ​the​ ​carbon​ ​cycle,​ ​energy​ ​transfers,​ ​and​ ​photosynthesis.​ ​On top​ ​of​ ​those​ ​programs,​ ​the​ ​camp​ ​went​ ​to​ ​a​ ​local​ ​pool​ ​every​ ​Tuesday​ ​and​ ​Thursday,​ ​taught​ ​how to​ ​build​ ​fires,​ ​and​ ​went​ ​on​ ​field​ ​trips​ ​all​ ​around​ ​the​ ​area.​ ​All​ ​of​ ​this​ ​was​ ​done​ ​in​ ​the​ ​span​ ​of​ ​a​ ​4 week​ ​session,​ ​and​ ​when​ ​those​ ​4​ ​weeks​ ​came​ ​to​ ​an​ ​end​ ​I​ ​was​ ​truly​ ​sad​ ​to​ ​see​ ​the​ ​campers leave.

In​ ​the​ ​second​ ​half​ ​of​ ​the​ ​summer​ ​the​ ​nature​ ​of​ ​my​ ​work​ ​changed​ ​greatly.​ ​I​ ​worked​ ​with​ ​the campers​ ​on​ ​occasions​ ​as​ ​a​ ​substitute,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​bulk​ ​of​ ​my​ ​work​ ​became​ ​land​ ​management​ ​and building​ ​maintenance.​ ​I​ ​spent​ ​hours​ ​preparing​ ​firewood,​ ​laying​ ​down​ ​mulch,​ ​and​ ​repairing structures​ ​found​ ​around​ ​the​ ​nature​ ​center.​ ​The​ ​work​ ​was​ ​very​ ​hands-on​ ​and​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​much​ ​more comfortable​ ​using​ ​hand​ ​tools​ ​after​ ​completing​ ​my​ ​employment​ ​at​ ​Emily​ ​Oaks.​ ​And​ ​use​ ​of​ ​tools was​ ​only​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​many​ ​skills​ ​that​ ​I​ ​gained​ ​this​ ​summer.

Living​ ​independently​ ​this​ ​summer​ ​was​ ​a​ ​blast,​ ​but​ ​there​ ​were​ ​many​ ​people​ ​that​ ​helped​ ​me along​ ​the​ ​way​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​it​ ​went​ ​as​ ​smooth​ ​as​ ​it​ ​did.​ ​I​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​thank​ ​my​ ​supervisors​ ​Jill Flaherty​ ​and​ ​Lee​ ​Hansen​ ​for​ ​being​ ​so​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​me​ ​and​ ​make​ ​accommodations.​ ​Second,​ ​I would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​thank​ ​all​ ​of​ ​my​ ​co-workers​ ​this​ ​summer,​ ​especially​ ​the​ ​cohort​ ​of​ ​camp​ ​program leaders​ ​that​ ​quickly​ ​became​ ​my​ ​friends​ ​that​ ​I​ ​would​ ​hang​ ​out​ ​with​ ​whenever​ ​I​ ​wasn’t​ ​at​ ​work. Lastly,​ ​I​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​thank​ ​my​ ​friend​ ​Natalia​ ​Duarte​ ​her​ ​mother​ ​Paula​ ​Freeman​ ​for​ ​allowing​ ​me to​ ​stay​ ​at​ ​their​ ​home​ ​for​ ​free​ ​and​ ​become​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​family.​ ​Without​ ​any​ ​of​ ​these​ ​people​ ​the summer​ ​I​ ​described​ ​above​ ​would​ ​have​ ​been​ ​impossible​ ​and​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​have​ ​enough​ ​gratitude​ ​for any​ ​one​ ​of​ ​them.

Summer Internship Series: Solar Spotlight

Kathlyn Craigie ’18
Intern, Small Town Solar, Granville, Ohio

Summer internship series: solar spotlight - js8af5trroomclb2zdjg_small_town_solar_headshot_kathlyn_7-150x150.jpg image #0My name is Kathlyn Craigie and I am a senior at Denison University. I am a double major in Communication and Psychology and had an internship with Small Town Solar this summer. Prior to this internship, I did not have much knowledge about solar energy or renewable resources. After hands-on installing solar panels on roofs, interviewing local Licking County residents how have installed solar arrays, initiating marketing campaigns and researching renewable energy, I have learned many life skills I will use once I graduate Denison.

Working for Small Town Solar, there was no ‘typical’ day. Each day brought new experiences and activities. For instance, one day we would have a group huddle in the Gilpatrick House, the next day we would be traveling all around Licking County visiting different solar arrays, the next we would hike to the solar installations in the Denison University Bio Reserve and the day after that we would install our own solar systems. I loved working for Small Town Solar because each day was exciting and different from the day before.

My favorite part of my internship this summer was learning how to DIY solar. I gained so much knowledge, I was even able to convince my parents to go solar too! When I went back home after my internship ended, I climbed up on the roof of my house and did a solar analysis of my roof. Prior to this internship, I would have never been able to complete that analysis.

I would like to the thank Cookie Sunkle in the Liska Center, the Knowlton Center for Career Exploration, Jeremy ’97 and Susan King ’96 and Jon Ulmer ’93. Without all your help, I would have never had this incredible experience and an unforgettable summer.