The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter has announced one Adirondack conservation associate, two freshwater stream barrier assessment technicians, and one invasive species management steward have been added to their summer staff.
The Conservancy’s Adirondack Conservation Associate program gives motivated young professionals a start in conservation through on-the-job experience. In addition to tackling a specific lead project, the associate is expected to work across departments to gain interdisciplinary experience from professional staff in conservation science, fundraising, environmental stewardship, and communications.
This year’s Conservation Associate is Rachel Renders, a 2019 graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo with a bachelor’s degree in communication and double minors in environmental studies and geology. She is expected to focus primarily on coordinating several marketing and communication projects for the chapter, including creating new signs and informational pieces to enhance the visitor experience across the Conservancy’s six public nature preserves in the region.
Daniel Sinopoli and Elizabeth Metzger join the Chapter for the summer season as stream barrier technicians. Elizabeth, a graduate from Juniata College, holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and brings experience surveying brown trout and invasive macrophytes in Pennsylvania watersheds. Daniel holds a bachelor’s degree in Aquatics and Fisheries Science from SUNY-ESF. His honor’s thesis research focuses on the biogeography and taxonomy of the Bowfin (Amia calva) in the Mississippi Basin.
The technicians are expected to spend each day on local streams and rivers recording data on the fish-passage barriers in various watersheds feeding directly into Lake Champlain. According to existing data, nearly three-quarters of all culverts in this area are not considered large enough to withstand flooding or provide passage for fish. Data collected over the summer will integrate with the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC) database, the regional network that hosts an online dataset for screening road-stream crossing barriers. This information helps identify where upgraded culverts can reduce flooding risks, minimizing road damage and allow brook trout to reach cool headwater streams.
The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is a partnership program of The Nature Conservancy and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), works with state agencies and dozens of collaborators to protect lands and waters from the negative impacts of invasive species, such as Eurasian watermilfoil, Asian clam, and Japanese knotweed.
Julie Fogden is APIPP’s 2019 invasive species management steward and is a graduate of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a degree in Environmental & Natural Resource Conservation. She brings a background in invasive species work, most recently working as a Field Technician for Trillium Invasive Species Management Inc. conducting invasive plant surveys and managing infestations throughout the Hudson Valley. Throughout her 12-week position, Fogden is expected to focus on conducting invasive species surveys and management at DEC campgrounds, trailheads and the chapter’s six public nature preserves.
New staff members are based at the Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter headquarters in Keene Valley.
Photo of Nature Conservancy seasonal staff courtesy John DiGiacomo.