By: Akida Ferguson
Working as an intern at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) has been a rewarding and exciting experience. As an intern I have been able to garner hands-on experience in the field I intend to be employed. Working closely with Mike Mensinger, an Environmental Scientist at the Reserve, I have been able to practice science in both the field and the lab. As a junior at Delaware State University, I am majoring in Natural Resources with a concentration in Environmental Science. It is rare to find an internship that exposes you to this much practical experience and I am grateful for the opportunity.
Every day is an adventure in which I learn something new. This internship has expanded my research knowledge by my participation in secretive marsh bird surveys, trawling studies (fish and crabs), water quality monitoring, and weather data collection. In addition, I have also assisted in educating middle school students on the research we conduct at the Reserve. This internship has given me meaningful experiences that I can use in the future.
As part of the internship program I am required to conduct my own research project. I am investigating the effect of Phragmites australis (an invasive plant species) on blue crab survivability. By tethering crabs to the marsh at various sites along Blackbird Creek, I aim to find if certain species of vegetation aid juvenile crabs in predator evasion better than others. I will be presenting a research poster at an undergraduate student symposium this summer.
The staff at the Reserve has been awesome and friendly, and I have even made a few turtle friends. I come in everyday eager for what’s in store. I know that this experience has better prepared me for my future endeavors. I would like to thank the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Cooperative Science Center for funding this internship and the Delaware National Estuarine Reserve for hosting it.