Background: Susquehanna Bank contributes funds to Millersville University in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to support students who choose community service-based internships at nonprofits or government agencies. The donation allows the university’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Management to offer an award to selected students who are completing an academic internship during a summer semester.
This summer, Millersville student Alexa Rose Kramer completed an internship with the Schuylkill Conservation District in Pottsville, Pa. The following is a journal of her experience:
Schuylkill County has a lot of abandoned mine sites, and one of the main tasks of the Conservation District is to put in treatment systems at the sites in order to raise the pH of the water and eliminate the iron and aluminum found in the water, as well as doing routine water tests to make sure the systems are working.
This internship relates to my career goals in that I would really like a hands-on job that allows me to work outside. Through the internship, I hope to narrow my focus on potential jobs that really interest me, and also gain a lot of real-life experience in the field so I know what to expect at a future job.
One of the projects the interns at the Conservation District have been involved in is the monitoring of saplings that have been planted at reclaimed mine sites around the county.
At two different reclaimed mine sites, Michael Coal in Tremont and Silver Creek in New Philadelphia, many trees have been planted in hopes they will survive and recolonize the disturbed land. Twenty trees were planted in a structure called a waterbox, and twenty were planted just regularly. Once a month, it is our job to measure the tree height, width, stem diameter, number of branches, and number of leaves of each tree.
We then submit the data to be analyzed. It is a neat project to be involved in and will be interesting to see the final results of the study.
As summer was coming to a close and we were approaching our last week interning at the Conservation District, my fellow intern and I had the opportunity to take part in a really cool project. We helped members of the Fish and Boat Commission complete a stream bank restoration on the Pine Creek in Tri-Valley. The project lasted two days and included some hard labor! It was neat to see the process and then get to see the finished result. I learned some very important processes that will definitely help me in a future career!
Alexa Kramer of Pine Grove, Pa. is a junior at Millersville majoring in Environmental Biology.