Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Internship Experience with CRISP

This summer I was given the opportunity to work with the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) through an internship offered by The Student Conservation Association (SCA). During my internship I worked on a variety of outreach programs at local school districts, fairs, and on the web. I was able to contribute to public awareness of CRISP's top ten priority invasive species, focusing primarily on the emerald ash borer and Asian Longhorned beetle.
Educating the Public at the Forest Pest Fair in Margaretville, NY

My most notable project, which I completed with the other summer intern Kersten Laveroni, was a Youtube series. Each episode in the series explained how the species was introduced, how to identify it, and most importantly- what to do to stop the spread in the Catskills. It was fun to research each species and then locate where it was found in our region- often taking adventurous road trips. I also had fun developing my video presence and now appreciate actors who memorize pages of script much more! I am sure that this project will continue to raise awareness and contribute to CRISP's work long after I leave my internship position :) Check out CRISP's youtube channel to watch the videos.

Another fun project was working with children at local school districts, the Frost Valley YMCA, and the summer camp program at Mine Kill State Park. During these visits I introduced the concept of what an invasive species is and why it is important to protect the Catskills from them. I highlighted the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle using activities such as games, specimen samples, coloring activities, and trivia questions. It always amazes me just how much children can learn in a short amount of time. CRISP's efforts here will go a long way in sustaining a movement of environmental awareness.

Showing students at Bennett Elementary how to be strong ash trees

I also had the opportunity to pursue a more independent project on agricultural pests. I created a page on the CRISP website that highlighted several of the agricultural pests that are a issue in New York. The page also provides resources  to learn about integrated pest management, as a sustainable method to control and prevent crop damage from pests. I also created a pamphlet on the brown marmorated stink bug, a pest that causes damage to many fruit crops. This pamphlet will be used at future CRISP events. This project was a great way to  connected CRISP's goals to my personal interest in food and agriculture.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

I could not have asked for a better Internship. Working with Meredith Taylor, the director of CRISP, as well as the staff at the Catskill Center, was a pleasure and I truly appreciate their leadership and guidance. The experience was above and beyond all of my expectations and I have no doubt that this experience will continue to benefit me as I pursue a career in the environmental field.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Swan Lake Water Chestnut Removal

Last week the CRISP team went out to Swan Lake in Sullivan county to check out the status of the water chestnut infestation.  The infestation covered a substantial portion of the lake, about 120 acres out of 395.  The home owners association decided to use a chemical treatment after hand pulling failed to make a huge difference in the amount of water chestnuts.  They decided on a five year treatment plan, the first one took place in the summer of 2009.  The first treatment was a small area to test the effectiveness. It only took about 2 months for drastic changes to be seen. The CRISP team helped as much as they could during their brief visit to the area and managed to clear water surrounding the nearby park.  We want to encourage people to do what they can to manage breakouts like these before taking huge steps like chemical treatment.  However, sometimes its the most cost efficient and effective.  When I saw the lake I couldn't believe that less then 3 years ago it was swarming with water chestnut.  The residents of Swan Lake still have a long road ahead of them but they are optimistic and hope for a water chestnut free lake!
1 week after the first treatment
4 weeks after first treatment


Friday, July 6, 2012

Aquatic Invasive Training


On June 21st I went to a training on aquatic invasive species. The training was at a research station along the Delaware River, on the Pennsylvania border. The training was mainly for the summer staff, who help people who are boating on the river so that they can advise people to get their boats cleaned and to look for any invasives that may be on the boats. Unlike the reservoirs, there is no enforcement to make people clean their boats here.  The program was sponsored by CRISP as part of their boat stewards program.

The training was all day and we learned about 20-25 different invasive species and a few stories of species that are really bad such as the zebra mussel and didymo (AKA rock snot). There were so many invasives to learn and it was good perspective to see just how easily these organisms can spread and how hard they are to control. I also found it interesting (and shocking) that the introduction of invasives to an aquatic ecosystem has such a large effect on the diversity of native species.
Didymo is also one of the 10 priority species for CRISP that was presented at the training. It is a single celled organism that attaches to rocks on river bottoms and forms colonies that are dense mats.

 Colonies prohibit macroinvertibrates from living on the stream bottom. Since macroinvertibrates are such a large source of food in aquatic ecosystems and are important in breaking down organic matter, cycling nutrients didymo can disrupt the entire stream habitat. Here is a great video that shows just how much rock snot can spread from a single cell.

 One of the other aquatic species we learned about that are on the priority list for CRIP’S are Water Chestnut and Eurasian water milfoil. Water chestnut floats on top of the water like a lily pad and lowers the dissolved oxygen levels below what is needed to support a healthy aquatic ecosystem.  It can be identified by its thorny, black seeds.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Reservoirs are Open!

Yesterday, Carrie and Kersten got the chance to go canoeing on the Pepacton Reservoir!  First, they went right down the road in Arkville to the Pepacton Bait and Tackle shop, a local steam cleaning vendor.  After a thorough cleaning of the canoe and all the gear, they were finally on their way to the water.  They arrived at the Shavertown Bridge boat launch and were not the only ones enjoying the beautiful day on the water.  There were day campers and kayakers ready to launch and paddle!  The views were beyond amazing and the atmosphere was pure serenity.  The interns wouldv'e stayed for hours, their only deterrent was their lack of sunscreen and water...  It was a great experience and we recommend it for everyone! Go out and enjoy your surroundings!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

EARTH DAY AT BENNETT ELEMENTARY

Yesterday, June 6, our summer interns Carrie Carson and Kersten Laveroni represented CRISP at Bennett Elementary during their Earth Day.  Sixth grade teacher, Mr. Savatgy organized a great event and had a turn out of about 15 presenters of very diverse topics.  Carrie and Kersten presented to 3rd, 4th, and 6th graders and taught them how to identify the emerald ash borer and a few other invasive species.  They kept the kids involved throughout the presentations, having them act out the attack of the EAB and the speed at which it spreads, among other things.  The students gave us hope when they knew what the Asian longhorned beetle was and some even knew what the emerald ash borer was.  That proves that education is one of the most important and rewarding things to do!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Grants Available for Urban and Community  Forest Projects

Funding from Environmental Protection Fund Grants for urban community forest projects to provide environmental, economic, and social benefits, and improved quality of life for New York State residents are being made available. Grants will be awarded for projects focusing on tree inventories and management plans, tree planting, and invasive pest detection surveys.  Applications are due by June 21, 2012.

For more information visit:
http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/5285.html
Call: (518)-402-9425
or email: mckramar@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

CRISP 2011 Annual Report

Want to see what CRISP has been up to in the last year? Check out our 2011 Annual Report here!