Internship posted by: WorkingAbroad Projects
Posted on: September 24, 2013
An internship opportunity for environmental science students to work towards protecting and improving the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River Basin in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, through environmental education, advocacy and action.
We have places for 3 month periods in 2013and 2014 to take part in a range of projects.
The cost for food, acommodation in private room, programme materials, equipment & training, airport pick up/drop off is £1390.
Cape Fear River Watch
Cape Fear River Watch is a non profit organisation working towards protecting and improving the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River Basin in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, through environmental education, advocacy and action.
We have places for 6 interns to join for 3 month periods in 2013 to take part in the following projects:
1. Greenfield Lake
Greenfield Lake is a historic treasure located near downtown Wilmington. It is a unique cypress ringed freshwater lake in a city park just minutes from downtown Wilmington, NC. This amazingly preserved example of Cypress Dome Ecology, ringed by a 5 mile paved walking/biking path, features beautiful gardens (it was the original location of the famous NC Azalea Festival), a 900 seat amphitheater, a boat ramp, picnic areas, playgrounds, tennis courts, a skate park and more.
Less than 100 years ago a bottled water company was bottling and selling the spring fed waters of the Lake. Later rapid urban development, excessive stormwater runoff and nutrient pollution severely stressed the lake, making it unsightly and unappealing. CPFRW has been working closely with Wilmington's Parks & Recreation and Stormwater Services departments to protect and restore Greenfield Lake's ecology and today we operate a small boat house (paddle boats, canoes and kayaks for rent by the hour) on this hidden ecological gem.
Greenfield Lake Eco-Tours
Small groups learn all about Greenfield Lake's history, current uses, flora and fauna on a trip led by the interns in River Watch's newly restored electric launch - which replaces the venerable big red canoe. Special trips with a focus on wildlife photography, migrating birds, and plant and animal identification have also been very popular.
Seasonal Nature Tours
Greenfield Lake and Cape Fear River Watch offers guided birding tours on the lake in our classic, restored electric launch. As interns, you will learn to identify the Widgeons, Gadwalls, Cormorants and Egrets that roost in and around the Bald Cypress that dominate the lake. Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, and more variety of duck than seem reasonable also call the waters of the lake their winter home. You will also learn to identify the Long Leaf Pine, Live Oak, Magnolia, Dogwood and other wetland forest trees surrounding the lake that play host to many varieties of Warbler, Nuthatch, Flycatcher and Vireos. The one hour tours will be led by the interns once you have been trained.
Paddleboats, Canoes and Kayaks are available for rent. You will work part of one day a week at the boat ramp renting water vessels to visitors. All proceeds from the rentals benefit programmes that help to carry out the mission to protect and improve the water quality of the lower Cape Fear River through education, advocacy, and action. The Greenfield Lake programme is a cooperative effort among Cape Fear River Watch, The United Way, and the city of Wilmington, North Carolina.
2. Enviroscape Programme
You will learn a specific presentation for the Enviroscape Program, which is a city initiative. You will get approved and certified by the city, then go into schools to give presentations. Interns will work with city environmental leaders on cleanups, education and water quality monitoring, which are all part of the Enviroscape programme.
3. Paddle Series
Each month we paddle a different stretch of the region's diverse waterways. We may explore a primeval, twisty stretch of blackwater creek one month and the next month will see us in the saltwater marshes and beaches of the estuarine lower reaches of the river. The Cape Fear River watershed is a paddler's paradise with stretches of water for nearly every taste. Our main goal with the monthly paddles is recreational. We're not racing and we keep the advocacy and the science to a minimum (though we're always happy to point out interesting features.) Our underlying goal is simple. The best way to get to know a river is to get out on it. Walk its banks. Fish it. Paddle it. Pretty soon you'll want to share the river with others and protect it for generations to come.
Interns will help lead these paddle series after some instruction from our Executive Director, Kemp Burdette.
4. Water Quality Monitoring
A water quality plan is being developed through UNCW and will target Greenfield Lake and the Cape Fear River through a collaborative effort with Cape Fear River Watch. Two CFRW board members, are professors at University of North Carolina in the Science department and are actively developing the water quality programme.
Goals of the Water Quality Monitoring programme include:
• Informing and educating citizens about the conditions of the river basin.
• Establishing a monitoring network.
• Generating water quality data.
• Halting degradation of the Cape Fear River basin.
Once the programme is initiated, interns can conduct the water quality monitoring. This will enable you to work with professors and other scientists at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, which is well known for its outstanding graduate and post-graduate marine science programmes. The programme will provide support possibly including technical assistance in monitoring design, equipment use, data management and analysis.
5. Rain Garden and Maintenance
Storm water is the largest pollution problems across the United States and the Cape Fear River is no exception. Rain gardens are one attractive solution to storm water pollution. Rain gardens are shallow depressions planted with special water tolerant species of plants that thrive in wet conditions. Runoff from roofs and parking lots are captured and directed into the rain gardens, filtering through the soil and naturally removing pollutants. An added advantage is mosquitoes won't have time to breed, because the water drains within a day. This also reduces the load on the sewer system, and the amount of lawn chemicals and pet wastes that would otherwise have drained into the sewer system making its way to rivers and lakes.
Interns will have the opportunity to learn how to design and build a rain garden. A rain garden thrives at the Cape Fear River Watch headquarters, where team members will check in on a daily basis. You will be responsible for maintaining the rain garden, as well as other projects associated with the building.
6. River Semester
The Education/Outreach committee is developing a pilot programme for River Semester. Interns can help design the programme by developing plans and conducting reconnaissance efforts. Once River Semester is up and running, interns will have a heavy role in conducting the summer programme. River Semester will accommodate approximately 15 - 20 students who will gain a diverse and complimentary learning experience through a combination of field and experiential work. It will offer students a deep understanding of the unique setting in which the Cape Fear River Basin is located and the pivotal role this region has played in local and global affairs, particularly in relation to the environment.
7. Camp Site Maintenance
Cape Fear River Watch has a campsite, which can only be accessed by water. This campsite needs to be maintained on a weekly basis. Once a week, interns may paddle to the site to conduct site maintenance. The campsite will be available for you to camp any time.
8. Office Renovation and Assistance
Cape Fear River Watch experiences the same funding issues as most NGOs do. They are not in a position to hire professional painters, carpenters, electricians, etc. Many updates are needed to the CFRW headquarters on the river. Interns may assist staff with these types of projects.
9. River Cleanups
In 2009 Cape Fear River Watch volunteers picked up over 15,000 pounds of trash from local watersheds during our Second Saturday Clean-ups. In 2011 and 2012, this number increased as we added new areas and increased the number of volunteers who came out to clean up their watershed.
As with previous years' Greenfield clean-ups, this year's effort will include both land and water components. Since so much of the shoreline is approachable only by water, many interns will be using canoes and kayaks to get where the trash lies. Sometimes it seems that azalea bushes exist solely to catch blowing McDonalds wrappers. Interns will be asked to scope out areas needing to be targeted for the monthly clean-ups. Once those areas are identified, you will help organise and lead the clean-ups.
If you are interested in joining this project as an intern, you will need to fill out the online application form (you can also print it out and send it to us by post) – to secure a placement on the project, please complete and submit the form including two references and your deposit of £180. If for some reason, your application is declined, we will reimburse this deposit fully. However for those who are accepted, the full amount needs to be paid two months before departure. Once your place is confirmed, you will receive a pre-departure package with all detailed information on your project, suggested items to bring, details on the work you will be doing etc.