Since I have returned from Canada, I’ve been working in the QLF office in Ipswich. I have been working on the Sounds Conservancy’s 15th Anniversary Publication, and successfully handed it off to the graphic designer early last week, which felt like a triumph since I have been working on it on and off for the last two years.
Last Wednesday, July 22nd, Chris O’Book, Megan Murley and I travelled down to Cape Cod to check in with a few 2009 Sounds Conservancy grantees. Our first destination was to visit Alison Andrews with her advisor Barbara Brennessell in Wellfleet, MA. We arrived at Indian neck, on the bay side of Cape Cod, around 10 AM ready to search for Diamondback Terrapins, a threatened species native to the salt marshes of the sounds region. It was towards the end of their nesting season, so we saw plenty of caged off nests, but no actual turtles nesting, which was a little disappointing, but understandable considering how late in the nesting season it was. It was a beautiful day and a great opportunity to stretch our legs, so the mission was successful. After a brief swim in the bay, we left Wellfleet around noon to our next destination of Provincetown, MA, at the very tip of the cape. We had a great seafood lunch in town, and then met Owen Nichols at the Center for Coastal Studies office, right next to the downtown, touristy section of Provincetown. He showed us around the office, talked about his project studying the longfin inshore squid, and also about working collaboratively with all types of fishermen and scientists. He then showed us a tank in the office they were using to raise larval squid, so we were able to see these tiny creatures feeding. It was a beautiful day and turned out to be very informative, as I knew little of either project.
On Thursday, July 23rd, the Sounds Conservancy held a luncheon at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point for all of the 2009 grantees, some of the TSC directors, some QLF staff, and several Avery Point staff. This gathering was very successful, as we had about nine grantees show up and talk about their presentations. It was great to put faces to the names and projects I have only read about and to meet these fascinating, dedicated people in person. We got a tour of the amazing Avery Point campus, which is located right on the coast in New London, CT, and also had a fantastic catered lunch in a beautiful conference room overlooking Long Island Sound.
On Wednesday, July 29th, Chris O’Book and I travelled down to southern Massachusetts to do a few more site visits for the Sounds Conservancy. We met 2009 grantee Tara Rajaniemi at 8:30 AM at a coastal salt marsh in Fairhaven, MA. This site used to be the location for the Atlas Tack and Nail Factory, so the site was contaminated with heavy metals for decades. The EPA has tried to restore it to its natural state, so we were out there collecting samples to see if the restoration has been successful up to this point. Tara and her colleague Rebecca had planted bags full of resin in the marsh about a month before and came back to collect them to determine the amount of nitrogen present in the ecosystem. The marsh looked to be fairly healthy, considering its history, and we had a great time tramping around collecting the samples. We then drove to Woods Hole, MA, the location of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and more importantly 2009 grantee Dr. Michelle Portman. We talked about a few of her previous TSC funded projects, one involving marine zoning on Cape Cod and the other looking at offshore renewable energy projects, and the regulatory framework differences between the US and Europe. She was incredibly nice, and I learned a great deal in our hour talk with her. We then went to a restaurant in Woods Hole and both indulged in a Lobster Panini, something completely new to me. How delicious it was!
Friday is the last day of my internship, and I soon will be headed to Colorado to start my sophomore year at Colorado College. It has been a great summer, and I cannot thank QLF enough for the amazing opportunities they provided for me this year!