A Day in the Life of an Education Intern at the Wonderful South Slough Estuary

What I’m doing this summer as an OSG Intern:

My internship this summer is driven by two primary roles: 1) assist in leading summer science camps for kids K-12 and 2) work on the creation of a touch-screen water quality exhibit at the South Slough Interpretive Center. The exhibit will be used to show how different water quality parameters are closely tied to the success of local ecosystems and how those same parameters can change.

What I’ve been doing in the first couple weeks of my internship:

As I am living in Corvallis, all of the work I do on non-camp weeks is remote. Last week was a non-camp week and so I was primarily working on establishing the layout of the water quality exhibit and how it will be organised for visitors to interact with.

This week, however, was a camp week… much more exciting! On Monday, for a non-camp related educational workshop, I collected animals off of the docks of Charleston with my mentor, Jaime Belanger, and brought them to Reedsport Elementary in oxygenated tanks. There, we taught the kids about local sea life and how to make observations.

A crab in its megalops stage of development that I caught off the docs of Charleston and got to show the campers this week… which were members of the Megalops Camp.

On Tuesday, our Megalops Camp (for 2nd and 3rd graders) started. During camp this week, I lead educational hikes and activities, maintained a safe learning environment, drove campers from place to place, and taught lessons about how the major habitats that can be found at the South Slough.

Each day of camp is different, but everyday involved tasks like leading hikes with specific educational goals in mind, catching animals for the kids to observe, creating and leading educational games (i.e. South Slough Jeopardy), handing out snacks, cleaning up, preparing supplies for various activities, etc.

This is me leading the kids through a game yesterday morning before taking them on an educational watershed hike.

Is COVID-19 affecting my work routine this summer?

While we still need to where masks during camps, COVID has played less of a role in how camps can be conducted this summer, compared to last summer, my first as an OSG intern. There are still many regulations we have to follow when leading the camps, but there is more freedom now in where we can take kids to learn.

What is my favorite on-the-job activity so far?

My favorite moments this past week were all associated with seeing the faces on campers when they saw and interacted with animals. When I got to lead an activity on the docks, the kids were stoked to see and touch kelp crabs, jellyfish, starfish, etc. They would see an animal and scream for me to catch it. Shortly after catching the critters, I’d let them go, but it was great to see the enthusiasm in the kids.

There was also a moment yesterday when all of the campers got to see two parent tree swallows feed their big baby that had not yet fledged. We all creeped towards the nest quietly and then stood still for a couple of minutes. After patiently waiting, they were rewarded with a pretty cool sight!

A common murre near the Charleston docks, where I was leading an activity and catching animals for kids to observe more closely.

Thanks for reading!

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