Summer Growth and Surprises

What I’ve learned this summer:

This summer has been a great learning experience for me on so many levels. On a personal level, I have learned how to manage my time with the utmost efficiency; I have learned how to cut out the time spent on meaningless brain-dead tasks that don’t get me closer to achieving my goals. As I am working on the completion of my honors thesis, serving as an OSG intern, participating in a bird physiology lab, and preparing for PhD program and fellowship applications, I have never been busier. This summer has forced me to manage my time well and to learn what is truly important for my own well-being. If I didn’t have time to relax and socialize, I would surely go nuts, so I have really learned to optimize the free time that I do get. I feel that this summer has taught me that I can handle a large workload and still enjoy my life… as long as I cut out wasted time on the phone, TV, etc.

A brown pelican that I saw while exploring the tidepools with summer science campers at South Cove in Charleston, OR.
Urchins and anemones spotted during last camp.

On a completely separate note, I have learned a lot about how various water quality parameters, such as temperature, salinity, turbidity, etc. affect estuarine ecosystems, such as the South Slough. On virtual weeks this summer, I have been working on putting together the SWMP water quality exhibit, which will be a touch-screen exhibit set up at the South Slough Visitor’s Center. In doing so, I have had to read about the different effects that water quality parameters can have on dozens of organisms. The hope is to develop informative slides that visitors can read through, in addition to an interactive slide that allows visitors to manipulate water quality parameters and watch what happens to the organisms on screen (increase in number, disappear, become sick, etc.). Working on this project has forced me to read a surprising amount of primary literature in order to establish the water quality ranges in which different animals and plants can survive!

What’s been surprising:

Compared to last summer, when I was one of the only interns at the South Slough, there are so many interns working this summer! Last year, I worked with both the education team and the science team, but this summer, it seems like every member of the science team has a personal intern, so I am exclusively serving as an education intern. It’s really nice to see SSNERR thriving and busy with projects, research, etc. While, for selfish reasons (more fieldwork opportunities), I enjoyed being one of the couple interns last year, it’s great for the South Slough to have so much support this summer.

What I’d do differently:

I really feel satisfied with how my internship has gone this summer, so there isn’t anything serious that I would have liked to do differently. That being said, I did try to join in with the summer campers on shirt painting during last camp, and boy did I suck at that,,, See pictures below.

This is the front and back of the shirt I painted last camp. That blob you see is supposed to be a flounder. I also tried to write “Bad at Painting” on the back, but started running out of room and thought “Bad at Paint” would be funnier anyway!
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