Katelyn Parker ’16 is putting her double major in environmental studies and geography into practice this summer as a Field School Fellow with the Lake Moraine Association. She is working on several projects that aim to limit the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) into the lake, which is about three miles north of the Colgate University campus.
Katelyn’s primary project is to create a stewardship program for Lake Moraine, which will educate boaters about AIS by stationing volunteers at the public boat launch. These volunteers will be collecting and recording data from boaters and providing educational material about the AIS that can be found in Lake Moraine as well as in surrounding lakes that the boats may be visiting as well. She is also developing a way for volunteers to use iPads or tablets for more efficient and accessible data collection.
Katelyn is spending many hours this summer at the public boat launch to develop this stewardship program. At the launch, she is collecting data about the boats that are launching and those that are being pulled out of the lake, and educating the boaters about the stewardship program. She then collects data about the type of boat, the registration number, the number of boaters, their purpose on the lake, and the last body of water that they have visited. She then checks the boat for any invasive species by examining the haul, trailer, trailer wheels motor, and fishing rods and related equipment.
In addition to learning about lake ecology through this project, Katelyn is getting to know the fifteen board members of the association, all of whom come from different backgrounds and experiences, and is able to observe the various ways that they work together to improve the lake and the surrounding area for residents and visitors. The association considers issues which range from treating the lake with chemicals to stocking it with fish for recreational fishing use to encourage more lake activity. The group creates rules and regulations that allow for safe activity on and use of the lake, and to ensure compliance with the local, state, regional, and federal laws that will protect the lake.
This fellowship has been valuable to Katelyn because it has allowed her an opportunity to learn more about the community surrounding Colgate. As a native of Washington, she came into the Upstate Institute fellowship with very little experience of the Upstate New York region. As she studies lake ecology for this and surrounding lakes, she is learning a lot about what the region has to offer. About the fellowship, she says, “This program has provided me with an opportunity to research, learn, and expand my knowledge on a local issue, while interacting with an organization and people that are passionate about their work and the mission of their association.”