GCEH has sponsored high school internships in field ecology for many years now. In 2012 we began partnering with the Third House Nature Center (THNC), located at Third House, Montauk County Park, where the Big Reed Pond area of the park serves as an ideal study site.
Each fall, GCEH’s Sandy Taylor and Linda Brandi work with East Hampton High School’s science department to select students for the program. The interns then spend Sundays throughout the school year working with THNC staff to study field ecology, ornithology, botany, pond hydrology, and geology — and any other aspects of the natural world at hand. Seniors who complete the program receive a stipend of $2,000, no strings attached.
This year, we are sponsoring five students, two seniors and three juniors. This is the second year juniors have participated, and THNC hopes that, like their predecessor, Hannah Mirando, who joined as a junior and now is at Cornell studying ornithology, they will return their senior year.
Victoria Bustamante, Vice President of THNC and one of the kids’ instructors, reports that the 2019 group is fantastic – engaged, curious together, and playful, while clearly loving being outside. Recently the students surveyed the Big Reed area for a new invasive plant, Osmanthus heterophyllus, or false holly, and will be writing up their results to submit to the Long Island Botanical Society and/or the New York Flora Atlas.
The photo above shows this year’s students with Madison Aldrich, third from the left. Madison was a GCEH scholar four years ago. She is a senior majoring in environmental health at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at SUNY in Syracuse and currently serving on the board of THNC.