Hey everyone I’m Christian Heggie and this summer through the Greening Youth Foundation and Mosaics in Science Diversity Internship Program, I’m heading up north!
My internship will be at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northeast Ohio. I will be working as a river technician assistant, helping to plot access points, map river trails, test water quality, and more! I am a senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainability. I’ve always loved to be outside and dream of one day hopefully working on a national park. This is an incredible opportunity and I’m ready to learn as much as I can!
This week I had the opportunity of visiting the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. This was my first time visiting a National Historic Site so I wasn’t sure what to expect but the site was a beautiful area surrounded by meadows, forests, and wetlands as well as the French Creek State Park. When we first arrived here, we had some time to explore some of the artifacts and talk to the park rangers inside the visitor’s center. Afterwards, we removed some invasive plants and helped replace a fence that was protecting a re-seeded area from deer. After lunch, we had some time to walk around the historic site and I got to learn a little about how wood was transformed into charcoal. Ignited wood was built into what they called a three corner chimney, covered with leaves and dirt, and ignited in these charcoal pits (picture to the left). For 10-14 days, workers would keep an eye on the ignited stack of wood to stop any open flames while they waited for the wood to fully char. Once the wood was fully charred, the cooled charcoal would be loaded onto wagons and taken to a cooling shed.
I look forward to spending more time in Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site and learning more about the history there. This week’s visit was a nice sneak peek at what there is to learn about.
Later on in the week, we participated in crayfish corps. It is a volunteer based program in the park that works on removing the invasive rusty crayfish. While we were out in the creek with a group of volunteers, we found a crayfish with eggs! Luckily, this particular crayfish species was a native so we were able to place it back into the water safe and sound.
This week I got to start setting up for the native bee project. The project is being finalized and soon will begin sampling what species have been inhabiting the dunes. The exciting part of this week was getting a chance to do restoration work for the day taking out invasive species with herbicide. The rest of was week was spent researching methodologies and current conservation issues with native bees. Next week there will be an event call ISWOOP where park interpreters will learn from researches about different conservation topics to express awareness to the public. The picture below shows bowls that will be set up in transects in sample areas. The bowls will be filled with soapy water to remove surface tension so when bees land in the bowl, they are captured. The color of the bowls mimics flower color because bees are attracted to these colors when they are pollinating. Bees are generally attracted to flower color as it is the most noticeable characteristic of the plant. The importance of this project is to catalog what species of bees inhabit the park. It is a replication of a study that was conducted in 2011 that inventoried bee species in the park. The bowls help maximize collection and sampling efforts with the hopes that the collections will give us a good representation of bee species captured. Previous studies have found that the park has 200 different species of native bees. I hope to find as many species as I can this summer with the hopes of measuring how these populations have changed since they were surveyed in 2011.