During the summer of 2012, intern projects ranged from sustainability initiatives (e.g. reducing the carbon footprint of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park through reduction of transportation -related emissions) to science communication (e.g. communicating the impact of climate change on the cherry trees at the National Mall).
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park
Interns Emily Long and Jessica Jondahl worked at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park to address objectives of the Park’s Climate Friendly Parks program aimed at lowering the Park’s carbon footprint. Transportation related emissions were a major driver of the footprint, and the interns conducted research on the feasibility of powering Park vehicles with locally-produced biodiesel, as well as establishing a ride-share system for Park staff. The interns also built upon the Park’s existing recycling program, bringing it to more Park facilities through research on recycling service availability and deployment of recycling signage and receptacle infrastructure. This occurred in conjunction with the rollout of a conservation messaging campaign for staff and a website update.
National Capital Parks-East
Interns Elizabeth Murray and Yuejiao Zhang developed education materials for National Capital Parks East on the possible link between climate change and increases of disease-bearing ticks within the Park. They interviewed local experts from the USDA Agricultural Research Services and park rangers to understand the difficulties presented by disease-bearing ticks, including but not limited to preventative maintenance, monitoring, and the contraction of Lyme Disease. Their research and designs resulted in new informational posters, pamphlets and an update in the Park’s Junior Ranger Program.
National Mall and Memorials Park
Interns Galen Hiltbrand and Adam Robinette worked at the National Mall researching the relationship between climate change and cherry tree bloom dates, and the urban heat island effect on the Park. Their work has resulted in a video script, a visitor center poster and new training sessions for interpretive rangers. Galen and Adam also created a How -To video on the Capital Bikeshare system for the National Mall's Facebook page. The video was created to promote Capital Bikeshare to park visitors so that they can reduce their carbon footprint.
Center for Urban Ecology
Intern Michael Randolph worked at the Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) providing foundational research for possible citizen science projects to track phenology (seasonal variation) data for local flora to involve people in understanding climate change impacts in their own local parks. His work with CUE also involved communicating climate impacts with displays allowing visitors to compare historical photography with current conditions of the vegetation.