The Shining River Science Interns of SYRCL

This year, SYRCL was lucky to have three dedicated high school seniors intern with the River Science department. Dantes Zapata, Nåah Lifland, and Aiden Keller  completed over 266 volunteer hours entering data, assisting with outreach, updating inventories, and spending some days in the field. Many thanks to Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning (SAEL) and Ghidotti Early Learning High School for working with the community to provide youth this opportunity. Here are the interns impressions on their experience.

What drew you to SYRCL?

2017-18 Interns (from left): Dantes Zapata, Nåah Lifland, and Aiden Keller.

Dantes: “I am genuinely interested in the environment and want to pursue a career in environmental science.”

Nåah: “I really enjoyed being part of the salmon rafting program in previous years and I am passionate about the environment. I am considering a career in the environmental field and felt this would give me some good experience.”

Aiden: “I wanted to gain experience doing river science field work. I feel fortunate that I got to work in Van Norden Meadow and Bear Meadow with SYRCL’s hydrologist Karl Ronning, to measure ground water depth using piezometers as well as use stream gauges to measure flow rate.”

What was your most interesting experience at SYRCL?

Dantes: “Mapping the locations of storm drains in Nevada City – I saw parts of the watershed that I never knew existed!”

Nåah: “While volunteering at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, I helped raise awareness about an issue of particular importance to me – opposing Centennial Dam. I enjoy learning about the bigger picture and working to make change in our community.”

Aiden: “Diving down 15 feet into all three forks of the Yuba River to place temperature probes into the sand. And yes, I wore a wetsuit.”

What is something you gleaned from your internship with SYRCL?

Dantes: “I have a much greater understanding of the eclectic nature of working in an environmental organization. From grant writing, to site assessments, volunteer management, fundraisers, and school interactions – there is much involved.”

Nåah: “Seeing what progress looks like – things don’t happen in just one day. Meeting a goal is a continuous process and requires an ability to work with others to make it happen.”

Aiden: “Collecting scientific data and learning how to correctly document it in a field journal to ensure quality assurance.”

SYRCL is grateful for Dantes, Nåah, and Aiden’s contributions and wishes them the best of luck on their bright futures!

“The interns brought with them a sense of humor and a ‘can-do’ attitude that added so much life and positive energy to the office. The entire staff appreciated having them around and truly valued their willingness to help out and learn new things. We will miss them!” said Frieda Slavin, Community Engagement Coordinator.

“I could not be more impressed with the professionalism, wit, and good company each of these interns brought to the River Science team. I am sad to see them go, but I hope to work with them in the future,” said Karl Ronning, Hydrologist.

For information on internships with SYRCL, contact Megan Learned, River Education Manager


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