The week where I learned about Natural Resource Management!

Buford Trout Hatchery

CHattahoochee RIver national recreation area

out in the natural resource....

Above photo captures the group using the botanist hand lens tool to get a closer look at the Rhus plants and a magnifying lens attachable tool for phones to get a detailed photo (see below). In the photo to the right, I am using shears and cutting excess shrubbery that may be blocking sunlight. Bottom right photo is a picture of the full Rhus in all its glory.

now for my blog....

        It has been a NPS Summer to say the least! I went from never visiting a National Park before my internship to visiting over a handful in a short amount of time. My supervisors have been amazing in providing opportunities for me to go on field visits and connect with NPS staff to learn about other facets in the NPS. During the last week of June, I tagged along with the interns at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CHAT) and learned about natural resource management. It was nice being able to meet two Scientists in Parks (SIP) interns, a Fish and Feathers intern and two interns from American Conservation Experience. It is inspiring to meet and see other interns who are passionate about preserving our natural and cultural resources.  

       As a group, we visited the Buford Trout Hatchery and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gave us a tour of their facilities. It was my first time visiting a trout hatchery. In the multiple raceways, there are 500,000 trout that are both brown and rainbow and are being reared to stock into Georgia’s designated trout waters. The Buford Hatchery is located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Forsyth County, just north of Atlanta. The Buford Hatchery is a key partner and resource for CHAT and vice versa. It was interesting to learn that the hatchery has a sustainable water system, it pumps water from the Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier’s Buford Dam for its trout production and returns the hatchery water to the river. The DNR staff answered all of our questions and stressed the importance of water as a natural resource that should be protected. We even had the opportunity to feed the trout and touch both Brown and Rainbow Trouts! The roof and raceway system is neat and it is impressive to see how they can do arduous work with a small staff. We also met their water quality scientist, it was nice to hear her perspective in how she found herself working in the natural resource management world.  


     I reconvened with the intern group again later that week to visit CHAT and participate in a vegetation work day. Allyson Read, a biologist at CHAT, shared with us the reintroduction efforts of Rhus michauxii, also known as Dwarf sumac, in the park. She shared how CHAT has partnered with botanists from the Georgia DNR in this conservation endeavor. Rhus michauxii grows in the southeastern region and is found in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. In order to help this plant and provide optimal growing conditions, our task was to clear vegetation near Rhus michauxii plants that may be impeding growth or sunlight. We used shears to cut weeds and shrubbery to give the Rhus plants the best shot in surviving. We were advised to wear long sleeves and long pants in order to avoid scratches because we were in shrubbery up to our shoulders. Afterwards, we all shared lunch at a picnic table and were able to learn more about the different work we are doing at our internships. That was my first time visiting one of the units at CHAT and I hope it is not the last time!  


     Being able to witness conservation professionals in their element and see how excited they are about the work they do was gratifying. I hope I can find my dream job one day in the environmental field and impart knowledge to the next generation. So far, everyone in the NPS has been so welcoming and enthusiastic about their work and sharing valuable information with interns. I deeply appreciate that! It has made the world of difference in experiencing things for the first time. 

 Thank you for reading, 

Julia Martinez 

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