Interns for the Environment
This summer, students from the department of Environmental Studies and Science conducted valuable research on individual internship projects related to nature trails, amphibians and pigs.
Here’s a glimpse at the fascinating and complex projects they worked on.
Trail Perceptions Project
Pace University and Rockefeller State Park Preserve
This project explores how and why visitors utilize Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
Throughout the summer and into the fall semester, undergraduate Environmental Studies student, Emma Weis ‘17, monitored trail use, conducted GIS (geographic information system) mapping, and surveyed park visitors.
Weis explained her work, “I am studying how visitors to Rockefeller State Park Preserve perceive the park as a greenspace. I went to three trails and monitored trail use by doing a count of how many people were using the trails, what they were using it for and then conducted brief field surveys, interviewing 89 people over eight days in July and August. In early fall, I will be mapping out trail accessibility for the Brook Trail, Brothers’ Path, Old Sleepy Hollow Road Trail and Pocantico River Trail using GIS to help ensure there is adequate access.
Culvert Management Planning for Amphibian Connectivity
Pace University and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
This project assesses small culverts, identifying those that most greatly reduce amphibian road deaths and those most important for facilitating water run-off.
Throughout the summer, Dyson College MA in Environmental Policy student Nadya Hall ‘18 and Environmental Studies undergraduate Christina Thomas ‘19 monitored culvert crossings in the Pocantico watershed to track amphibian mortality.
Thomas explained, “We studied wildlife connectivity - the degree to which the landscape facilitates animal movement and other ecological flows. We monitored culvert crossings in the Pocantico watershed to see if animals go from one side of the street to the other and survive. We received training from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to measure barrier levels and we entered that information into a database. This information will be used by the Department of Transportation to decide whether they need to invest in retrofitting culverts in New York State for wildlife preservation.”
Forest Ecology Internship
Pace University and Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
The woodland environment is the natural habitat for some breeds of pigs. They contribute to the ecological health of the woodlands by rooting up invasive plants, breaking down rotting logs, aerating the soil and more. The Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture believes that conservation can be achieved through the introduction of pigs. This project aims to evaluate and identify existing forest plant species and their density before introducing pigs into the woodlands.
Dyson College Environmental Studies undergraduate, Chase Harnett ’19, assisted in the identification of plant species and their density, and relayed the information into a GIS mapping system that formed a baseline understanding of the existing plant species.