New Interns Hit the Field

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

Samantha Kahl, AWSMP’s Temporary Watershed Educator reports on training for this year’s seasonal stream technicians. The technicians, and occasionally Sam, will be in the field surveying Ashokan Reservoir streams this summer. In Sam’s words….

I just spent five days with seven Watershed Corps (WCC) interns training under the supervision of Mark Vian, Emily Polinsky, and Danyelle Davis of the NYC DEP Stream Management Program.

The first three days of the Stream Management training was conducted in a classroom at Ulster County Community College (UCCC).  Mark and Emily provided us a solid (and fun) academic background detailing watershed history, the importance of stream monitoring, and various tools and techniques used in the field. They are fountains of information regarding the NYC Watershed, making the academic portion both interesting and exciting.

WCCC Training 2017_Credit Emily Polinsky

From Left to Right: Justin Alecca (Brown hat, purple shirt), Samantha Kahl, Brendan Keating, Aaron DePetris, Amanda Cabanillas (crew leader), Bridget Bromm (UCCC), Erica DePalma (SCA), Mark Vian, Travis Ferry (RNSMP), Courtney Brill, Emily Polinsky, Aimee Hartwig, Winston Gedicks.

Due to inclement weather, we lost one of our field training days, but our fearless leaders made the most of our remaining two days out in the field. We traveled to the Frost Valley YMCA where we accessed the West Branch of the Neversink River for our second round of training. Mark, Emily, and Danyelle, as well as seasoned WCC intern Amanda Cabanillas, reinforced our academic education by getting us in the stream for visual assessments and conducting stream cross-sections using laser levels and stadia rods. We also trained on specific computer software (RiverMorph) that produces a graph of the cross-section data collected; the software provides a visual representation of how the streambed looks if you were to cut the stream in half.

Provisional Data XS1 FVMF

A stream channel cross-section.

The entire group is comprised of intelligent and dedicated students from all backgrounds; each of them contributing to the training in their own amazing way. A friend from the Roundout Neversink Stream Program shared with us the benefits of Chaga mushrooms and where to find them; a UCCC student shared his fly tying stories with us; while others shared experiences from their lives and their reasons for entering the environmental field. It was great to be in the field and work with students and professionals learning about geomorphology, all of whom respected each other and genuinely cared about stream management practices. In my opinion, we all came out of the training with the knowledge and field experience necessary to be successful in our desired fields.

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