Cameron Fletcher, Student Technican
- Total Reports: 7
- View all reports by Cameron Fletcher →
Posted on August 17, 2011 | Permalink
Student Technician Week in Review
Last week was one of the coolest weeks Iíve had during my internship with the Department of Natural Resources. Most of the week, I attended the Maryland Streams Symposium, where I learned quite a bit. My first workshop was advanced fish identification. I found the workshop to be really fun as we got the chance to just take a bunch of fish and identify them using a key and microscope. We were pretty good at identifying the fish too! I think we only identified one or two incorrectly. The next workshop was advanced mussel identification. This workshop was extremely difficult because in my opinion most of the mussels looked exactly the same! I can say that I came out of that workshop with a better understanding of the different parts of a mussel, but I am not even close to being comfortable with identifying them. For my fieldtrip, I decided to go on the herpetology search because I wanted to see another side of a stream ecosystem. With a group of around 15 people, we searched in streams and in the woods for different amphibians and reptiles. Personally, I found one salamander under a rock, but it got away so I couldnít identify it. Overall we found Northern Dusky salamanders, Northern Two-lined salamanders, a Pickerel frog, and a Northern Ringneck snake. Although we didnít find much, all of the species we did find were new to me so I was pleased with our discoveries. The next workshop I attended was Benthic Macro Invertebrate identification. I had some experience with these species due to my high school stream studies, but in this workshop we went more into detail about how the species differed from each other and how we could use what we found to assess stream quality. Finally, the last workshop that I attended was dragonfly identification. This workshop was probably my favorite as I found myself to be pretty good at identifying dragon fly casts. Even though I was the youngest student in the room, I picked up dragonfly identification rather quickly and was one of the most accurate identifiers in the room. Overall, I learned a lot at the Maryland Stream Symposium and would definitely consider going again!
While the symposium was fun and informative, the highlight of last week was observing the sinking of the USS Radford off the coast of Delaware. Thanks to Erik Zlokovitz me and the rest of the interns had the privilege of boarding a ferry to go watch the USS Radford sink into the ocean on its way to becoming an artificial reef. If this wasnít exciting enough, I got the privilege of being the official videographer of the Maryland DNR for the day. It was my job to film the ship as it sunk, and personally I think I got some pretty good footage. We were out in the ocean for about 4 hours before the sinking as workers were still drilling holes in the ship and preparing it to sink correctly. Over those 4 hours, some of the media crews left their cameras to go sit down for a while; however, I and a guy from the Maryland Park Service stuck our ground and we kept each other company so that we would be ready when the ship decided to sink. After four hours of watching the ship, the front began to look like it was lowering in the water. We watched the ship carefully, and all of a sudden the back of the ship was sinking fast. The front began to rise out of the water as the ship slipped into the ocean. Finally it was completely submerged, and the total sinking time was 1 minute and 8 seconds. Fortunately, I got the whole thing on film from start to finish as the other media guys were rushing back to their cameras. I like to think that I did a pretty good job as the official Maryland DNR videographer!