On July 28th 2021, The Everglades Foundation held a virtual ceremony for graduates of its 2021 John Marshall Everglades Internship program. Each undergraduate student who completed the program presented their research to a panel of scientists and environmental leaders.
The Everglades Foundation partnered with Florida International University's (FIU) Coastal Ecosystems Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site program in this eighth year of the John Marshall Everglades Internship program. The REU is a 10-week paid research program located on the campuses of FIU.
This year's internship ran from May 24 to July 30, and included a hands-on, immersive opportunity for students to develop and conduct an independent Everglades research project. Each project was completed in collaboration with a research team from The Everglades Foundation, FIU faculty, and graduate student mentors.
The interns also met with high-level stakeholders, policymakers, and local business leaders to discuss their roles in Everglades restoration, and to understand the federal and state policies that continue to drive restoration of America’s Everglades – the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world.
This year’s class included:
· Michael Borbolla, a student at FIU who researched the correlation between total mercury levels found in juvenile bull shark tissues and their length and weight.
· Katherine Hulting, from Gordon College, studied invertebrate communities at Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research sites.
· Michael Taks, from FIU, focused on analyzing the relationship between trophic levels and secretions of fish nutrients to better determine the implications of human impact.
“The John Marshall Everglades Internship with FIU Coastal Ecosystem REU helped me think big picture about water and biodiversity, all the way from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay,” said Taks, who is majoring in sustainability and minoring in environmental science. “Water is life for the Everglades – one of the most unique ecosystems in the world – and it is our job to be informed stewards.”
Upon completion of the John Marshall Everglades Internship program, the students have an in-depth understanding of the history of the Everglades, its environmental challenges, its connection to Florida’s economy, and the solutions for restoration, all of which will benefit their future careers.
“Nearly 80 John Marshall Everglades Interns have gone on to brilliant careers in science, communications, and education,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation. “Our program is preparing the next generation of environmental leaders who will continue to study and protect vital ecosystems like America’s Everglades.”
John Arthur Marshall (1940-2016) was a career military officer with a resilient commitment to preserving the environment. He chaired the Environmental Action Committee for the South Florida Water Management District; served on the Everglades Coalition; the Florida Environmental Institute, and Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. In 1998, he and his wife, Nancy, founded the Florida Environmental Institute. In 2013, Nancy joined The Everglades Foundation’s Board of Directors, and led the development of the John Marshall Everglades Internship Program.