Training the Next Generation
2017 Interns and Seasonals in the Research & Conservation Department - Every spring, Research & Conservation gears up for our field season, May to September, by bringing interns and seasonals on-board. They receive training in applied conservation, helping us complete our field work while strengthening their botanical skills, learning data collection protocols and sometimes directing the research questions themselves.
This year the Research & Conservation Department hosted four great seasonals and interns: Katherine Fu, Elle Gadient, Margo Paces and Peter Zerbe.
Katherine Fu is a Ph.D. Candidate with Dr. Becky Hufft as her primary advisor, and was a Graduate Research Assistant for the summer. Katherine designed and started a soil seed bank study at Chatfield Farms. She collected soil samples and began greenhouse germination to find out which plant species are in the soil seed bank at Chatfield Farms. The results will tell us which method of restoration may be most suitable at Chatfield Farms as part of the Deer Creek Restoration project. Katherine returned to the University of Colorado Denver for the second year of her Ph.D. program in grassland restoration in August.
Elle Gadient synthesized information and collected specimens and tissue samples of underrepresented plants for GGI-Gardens. While at the Gardens, Elle learned how to collect plant specimens and take detailed field notes. At the end of her position, Elle returned to Iowa to start her senior year at Wartburg College. She will be using the research skills she developed over the summer while conducting field research on Lepidoptera diversity this fall.
Margo Paces returned for a second year with the department as a Botany Seasonal. Continuing to work on the Deer Creek Restoration project, as she did in 2016, Margo spent the majority of the season working at Chatfield Farms monitoring the plants along Deer Creek. The data Margo collected will help us understand what effect beaver dams have on surrounding vegetation. Margo also assisted in the field, scouting for seeds and collecting demographic data on rare plant species.
Peter Zerbe was previously a database seasonal in the department and became a Botany Assistant in the spring. Over the summer, Peter helped Dr. Chrissy Alba conduct a botanical survey on a private property in Douglas County. At the end of the season, Peter started a master’s program in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Colorado Denver with Dr. Melissa Islam as his primary advisor. He will use our collection data to develop a graduate thesis. As part of his graduate work, you can find him in the herbarium continuing to identify the plants he collected over the summer.
Collectively, our seasonals went on 18 trips to field sites or Chatfield Farms, hiked over 82 miles and were an invaluable part of our field season.