Reflections from Joseph M. Krienert
About the Project
My USGS internship contributed towards a project mentored by Dr. Geneva Chong. This assignment focused on habitat assessment via plant phenology monitoring in the North-Central US. A major aspect of this research includes the use of field cameras that automatically capture photos of an ecosystem several times each day, nearly 365 days a year. The images are uploaded to a central database where long sequences can reveal ecosystem dynamics, such as annual trends in plant growth and senescence influencing migratory trends of foraging species. Through this internship I was able to analyze data derived from one of these field cameras, and spend several days of fieldwork programing, repairing, and installing 3 new observation sites!
Most Memorable Experience
Without a doubt, this internships amazing fieldwork highlighted my summer. The rich vistas of a sprawling meadow sheltered by Pilgrim Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, and the lush prairie pastures in the agricultural heartland of southeastern Iowa were just a few of the best workplaces I have ever experienced! Not only were the backdrops phenomenal, but Dr. Chong's planning included on-site teamwork with specialists that were as diverse and inspiring as the surrounding scenery.
Pursuing a master's degree of Hydrogeology was to become a fundamental focus for the two years following my undergraduate studies. The advice of university mentors and family members confirmed my own premise, that such an investment to enhance skills would help ensure success later in my academic and professional future.
How the program contributed
Improving my ability to work on a project topic distinct from previous training was a major benefit of this internship. The North Central Climate Science Center where most of my summer work took place was operated by many uniquely specialized individuals. Networking closely with this team exposed the benefits of bridging knowledge from diverse educations to focus on reaching a common goal.