2017 Internships with the Pound Ridge Land Conservancy
Click on Descriptions Below
The PRLC’s internships are based out of the Armstrong Education Center where interns gain experience working hands-on to support conservation initiatives like sustainable living, renewable energy, native plant restoration, and wildlife habitat management. Each of the internships is designed to further PRLC’s conservation and education capacity while providing the intern with new skills, concepts, tools, and approaches to environmental work.
Set on the 43-acre Armstrong Preserve or one or more of PRLC’s 18 protected preserves, and personally guided by the PRLC’s Land Steward/Educator, the internship program challenges students to put into practice what they have learned and to integrate their knowledge with real-world experience. Our internship program continues to evolve based on our projects and our organizational needs; past and current internships are designed for high school and college-aged individuals but future internships may target different age groups including graduate and PhD candidates. Inquiries and internship ideas are always welcome.
Why does the PRLC host internships?
We are happy to invest our resources in an internship program because we are dedicated to educating the next generation of conservationists; it is these bright young men and women that we work to inspire and motivate. To fulfill the education commitment in our mission, we run a variety of educational projects – workshops, classes, talks, etc. – but our most powerful education tool is the deep immersion in real-world conservation science that our interns receive throughout their experience at the Armstrong Education Center and our preserves.
A History of Successfully Completed Internships –
Summer Interns 2016
Snowden J. and Olivia P.
Snowden worked for PRLC in Summer 2016 as our Restoration Gardener Intern. He assisted with the care and raising of native plants in our nursery at the Armstrong Preserve and Education Center and with the establishment and maintenance of restoration areas at other sites. “I worked at each of PRLC’s preserves by doing various tasks such as weeding, planting and management of the trails which has given me intuition about the work that is needed to maintain a biodiverse ecosystem.” Snowden diligently removed invasive species like garlic mustard and Japanese barberry from planting sites and protected soils by replanting and mulching. “The growing and planting of native plants into forests has enlightened me on the criticalness of reinstating native plants into areas that had been disturbed and overtaken by invasives. I compiled an extensive list of all the plants that survived at Halle Ravine and where they are located. This was to help organize and keep record of our efforts in our enclosures.” Snowden also took photographs to document our progress in the fenced restoration areas and guided visitors through them. “My experiences at PRLC taught me so much and I plan on using this knowledge in the future to have a new perspective on the environment when thinking about conservation.”
Olivia was invited to return in 2016 for a second season as our Conservation Intern, with added responsibilities in addition to preserve maintenance. Olivia provided data summaries and maps for four on-going native plant restoration projects and one long-term invasive plant study. She also reported on the training she received in measuring deer-browse pressure and her establishment of six study plots in our preserves. Olivia also assisted with outreach and partnership efforts. She wrote an article on our internship program for PRLC’s website and the local newspaper and she entered more than 50 reports of invasive species to the iMapInvasives database for regional partners. Olivia’s experience working with the PRLC has helped her to hone her professional interests and transition into full-time work in the environmental field.
Summer Interns 2015
Christiana R. and Sabrina H.
PRLC sponsored two paid internships in 2015. We also hosted an undergraduate senior thesis research project for Manhattanville College and a number of college and high school volunteers. Many of them contributed to ongoing native restoration projects at PRLC’s Armstrong Preserve and Education Center (link to slideshow).
Sabrina joined us for the month of January 2015 and returned as our Conservation Intern in the summer. She attends Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and is interested in environmental policy. She helped to design educational signage for our self-guided interpretive trail at the Armstrong Preserve and Education center and to document the state of PRLC signage at other preserves. She also created career development outreach materials for aspiring conservationists like herself. In the field, Sabrina contributed data to a long-term research project in the Isaacson fen and maintained restoration areas at the Isaacson, Armstrong, Carolin’s Grove, Clark, and Russell Preserve restoration areas.
Christiana served as PRLC’s outreach assistant and intern in the Armstrong Preserve and Education Center’s Working Backyard. She graduated from Pace University in 2015 with a degree in Biology and enjoys working with plants and with children. Christiana managed our vegetable garden and native plant nurseries, including Open Garden dates at the Preserve. She also assisted in the planting and maintenance of restoration areas at Armstrong and other preserves. Christiana was skilled in photography and documented the butterflies that visited our new native butterfly garden at Armstrong.
Summer Interns 2014
Olivia, on loan to us from Marist College, was a PRLC Conservation Intern for the summer of 2014. She led the season’s work to control invasive Phragmites at the Isaacson Preserve and its rare fen habitat as part of a long-term project that is aided by volunteers from our board and the wider community. Olivia collected a fifth year of data from our monitoring plots and prepared a report to guide future work.
At the 70-acre Clark Preserve, Olivia worked to clear two acres of invasive Japanese barberry as called for in our forest health management plan and facilitated replanting of natives at the preserve’s entrance and parking lot.
Ryland B. (Hometown: Pound Ridge, NY)
Ryland, a graduating senior at John Jay High School, filled the shoes of our 2014 AEC Preserve and Native Plant Propagation Intern. His main responsibility was to carry out a pilot project involving propagation of native plants and the remediation of varied habitat areas used for outdoor education. He conducted research on methods of native plant propagation and seed collection, and prepped sites for planting and subsequent care of native plants, including the installation of protective fencing. Ryland participated in ongoing projects including meadow and vernal pool restoration, wildlife surveys and assisted with the maintenance of the Armstrong’s native plant nursery stock.
Summer Interns 2013
Nick A. grew up in Northern Westchester and studies plant ecology at the College of the Holy Cross. He conducted a baseline assessment of the vegetation community within our proposed deer exclosure site at the Armstrong Preserve and documented seasonal change in the meadow community at the 70-acre PRLC Clark Preserve off Autumn Ridge Road. Nick’s meadow study plots were inadvertently mowed by the landscaping crew of a supportive neighbor, but he responded adaptively, as did many of the plants in the meadow, making for a true learning experience. Nick’s work will serve as a reference and guide for future projects to be completed at our preserves involving meadow habitats and on private properties where the landowner implements conservation goals.
Nick A.’s 2013 Digital Map of the Clark Meadow Plant Communities based on a Stratified-Random Method of Sampling
Tuddy D. came to us from NYC as a graduate student at Columbia University School of Continuing Education. This summer she completed an internship in Native Landscape Design. Her work was based at the Armstrong Education Center at the 43-acre Armstrong Preserve where she analyzed site conditions and researched local ecology to find what plants would thrive best in an educational, native plant garden and would also benefit wildlife. She designed plantings for five micro-sites of varying sunlight and soil conditions which will be used to educate area landowners on augmenting the conservation value of their property without attracting deer.
The over-abundance of deer in our area has resulted in decreased availability of food for wildlife. Tuddy’s native garden plans address this issue with elegant style. Her designs do not require fencing and showcase plants with varying seasonal interest for humans and animals alike.
Tuddy D.’s 2013 Planting Plan
The summer of 2013, Alizah S. was a rising senior at Fox Lane High School. She demonstrated a vital interest in sustainability along with a strong work ethic. Alizah provided consistent support in the second year of our organic garden, helping with planning, mapping, seeding, weeding, harvesting, and bug control. She turned our compost and added it to the young and growing plants, watered when it was dry, and enthusiastically shared her learning with visitors to our garden. Alizah’s interactive garden map will be used to plan next year’s rotation of spring, summer, and fall crops.
Alizah S.’s 2013 Interactive Garden Map
Summer Interns 2012
Gustavo S. presenting his 2012 Summer Internship work for an audience at the Armstrong Education Center
Matt F. (Hometown: Chappaqua, NY)
Education at time of Internship: Sophomore, Wildlife Science at Paul Smith’s College, Brighton New York (Adirondack State Park).
Matt’s interest and experience in wildlife science were exercised with a bird survey of the Armstrong Preserve which he submitted to the PRLC in a formal report. To complete the survey, which successfully documents 27 bird species on the Armstrong Preserve, Matt spent his bird breeding season (May- June) rising before dawn to identify singing birds in the field.
Matt also gained first time experience with ArcGIS software while he produced a map of the Armstrong Preserve’s Natural Communities (on right), which required hours of careful field observation and research. The hours he dedicated to learning how to use a handheld GPS unit and process its information via ArcGIS will give him an advantage when he enters a formal GIS class at Paul Smith’s College.
Finally, Matt inventoried the plants of the Armstrong Preserve’s meadow. This list of plants has since been incorporated into the Pound Ridge Land Conservancy’s Meadow Management Plan where it was used as a baseline against which to compare future meadow vegetation. In Matt’s words “By interning at PRLC this summer, I put myself right into the heart of land management and ecological sciences which proved to be a great journey.”
Gabby S. (Hometown: Bedford, NY)
Current education: Rising Senior, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Gabby acted as the Armstrong Garden’s documentarian by writing many pages for the garden portion of the PRLC’s website. To accomplish this task, Gabby began by researching the role of the Armstrong Gardens at the Armstrong Education Center. She used dozens of pictures, hours of board and staff testimony and her on-the-ground observations to encapsulate the meaning and message behind our gardens. After organizing and synthesizing her research, Gabby successfully designed and wrote a beautiful set of web pages, each grounded in credible, specific and practical information. Her work is currently incorporated on this website. “This internship was personally enlightening…this project taught me to leave my ‘structured and organized’ comfort zone and create a valuable resource for my community.”
The Armstrong Gardens are a six-part integrated system where each part works together to create a functioning network. As discussed in the introduction, our concept of an interrelated, multi-part garden is guided by the principals of permaculture, where garden elements work together to produce greater productivity and reduce waste. The Armstrong garden’s multi-part network fundamentally contrasts the common non-integrated system where the majority of inputs are not generated on site and therefore need to be imported. Multi-part gardens are practical and sustainable since each part uses another’s waste as an input, reducing the need for outside resources. For example, instead of purchasing all of our fertilizers and soil conditioners, our composting system allows us to inexpensively improve our soil.