2017 Intern Blog Series: Week 1

Quit your job. Buy a ticket. Get a tan. Never return.

Hi everyone! We are the 2017 John Marshall summer interns, or as we like to call ourselves, the Cleverglade Interns, or CI, for short. We are excited to be here for the next two months and share our adventures with you along the way. We plan to post an update each week, so stay tuned to hear about everything we are doing in and out of the office… we promise to keep you entertained!

From left to right: David Baldwin, Annalee Maloney, Jonathan Valentine & Rachael Meyer.

Our first day as interns started early Thursday morning when we all gathered for breakfast with board members and friends of The Everglades Foundation who made this internship a reality. Our initial nerves were quickly calmed after we presented a short bio about ourselves and met with everyone in person.

We had to wake up early again Friday morning to meet with Dave Lawrence, Everglades Foundation board member, and others for a group Everglades trip and airboat tour ride. Annalee and Rachael had never ridden in an airboat before, but it was far from ordinary for all of us. The view was absolutely breathtaking. It’s one thing to sightsee like a tourist, but it’s another to be shown around by a scientist. Our Fearless Leader, Dr. Kristie Wendelberger, hopped off the boat several times to explain the cool biology of the marsh: the periphyton, apple snails, sea grasses and waterflow. If that was only the second day, we’re sure the rest of our summer will be full of more nerdy adventures!

Dave Lawrence Tour Airboat Ride pre-takeoff.

 

Jonathan’s childlike fascination of BladderWort.

Saturday morning felt more like a vacation than work. Gary Lickle, an Everglades Foundation board member (and all around awesome human), took us in his airbus to get a bird’s eye view of Lake Okeechobee which is located at the heart of Everglades restoration. The Everglades Watershed, an area larger than New Jersey, is crisscrossed with enough canals that, if lined up, you could take a one way cruise to California. When looking out the window of Gary’s plane, we felt a sense of awe at the scale of this massive endeavor and the multitude of stakeholders involved.

Rachael takes control of Gary’s plane from the copilot’s seat during the flyover of Lake Okeechobee.

After the plane ride, we took a guided tour at Grassy Waters Preserve with Sam Dorfman, an environmental educator in West Palm Beach. He taught us how to identify the vegetation at the preserve by using multiple senses. We ate pine needles from a Slash Pine Tree, smelled the candle-like aroma of the Button Bush, and tasted the juicy Sawgrass. It was a relaxing, yet educational, end to our excitingly long day.

View of a marsh from Grassy Waters Preserve.

While our first few days were full of adventure, we had to get down to business in the office for the official start of our first week. Monday and Tuesday were spent getting to know our way around the office and listening to the staff talk about what they do for The Foundation. We love everyone we have met so far! They gave us about a hundred suggestions regarding where to go and what to eat in Miami, and baptized us with shots of Cuban coffee before we headed out into Miami rush hour traffic to go home.

That’s all we have for now, but to hold you over until next week here is some practical advice from a sticker in the copilot’s seat of Gary’s airplane:

“Quit your job. Buy a ticket. Get a tan. Never return.”

Hoping we survive in this crazy city,
The CI

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