October 16, 2017. By Mary Kate Alger, Coastal Research Volunteers high school intern and senior at Next Charter School.
Hello, my name is Mary-Katherine Alger, and I’m currently an intern and volunteer for New Hampshire Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension. I’m a senior at Next Charter school, and I’m using this volunteer opportunity to complete a capstone program for my school. For capstone, all seniors must go through an internship or similar experience in a field they’re interested in, and so I chose to work with NH Sea Grant, as marine biology is an interest of mine. I hope that through working with Caitlin and Alyson, I can gain a better understanding of how marine research is done, and what kinds of jobs people have working with marine life.
I’ve been volunteering for NH Sea Grant for a little over a week, and in that time I’ve helped with several different activities. I’ve helped with dune restoration, by first digging up beachgrass in a place that could benefit from some thinning, and then later replanting it where there was not enough. I also helped with oyster restoration for The Nature Conservancy by recording the number and size of oyster spat that had grown in different places in New Hampshire’s Estuaries.
Other work I’ve done has been less volunteering and more so just learning about the local ocean and the things that live in it. I recently got the opportunity to go on an integrated aquaculture raft, and see firsthand how it worked. I got to see how the seaweed, algae, and mussels grew on the sides, and fed the steelhead trout that were being housed in the raft. The next day, I attended a meeting for the town of Seabrook and learned about the dunes, the Common Garden, and what factors help protect against storms.
I will have more volunteering time and learning opportunities throughout this fall and spring, and I’m very excited to learn more about marine science and research!