Barnard students interning at Black Rock Forest Consortium include Martha Villalba '12, Gabriella Spitzer '13, Jessica Schollenberger '13, Sarah Gilly '13 and Rachel Collens '13.
This summer, six Barnard students are interning at the Black Rock Forest Consortium, a nature preserve in the Hudson Highlands where a variety of environmental research projects are underway. Intern Sarah Gilly '13, an environmental policy major, is working with Senior Lecturer Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch on a project monitoring bird populations in order to identify trends and clarify bird-habitat interactions. The data they gather will be incorporated into a Virtual Forest module. Maenza-Gmelch is also overseeing the research of Alexis I. Brinkerhoff '12, a double major in mathematics and environmental science, as she analyzes soil samples for macrofossils, carbon levels and pollen grains—these data will be used in conjunction with historical climate observations about changes to the forest's wetland areas. Environmental biology major Martha Villalba '12 is in her second season studying the eastern painted turtle population, this season with the help of Gabriella Spitzer '13, an environmental science major who is also assisting with Black Rock Forest's environmental monitoring stations. Jessica Schollenberger '13 and Rachel Collens '13 are involved with data collection for a long-term project called "The Future of Oak Forests," which examines what a forest would look like without oak trees in terms of succession, soil microbes and moisture, small mammal activity, and other variables. Shollenberger is also assisting with a variety of other research initiatives, while Collens, an urban-studies major with a concentration in environmental science, is investigating the historic Storm King Mountain Controversy from a Black Rock Forest perspective, under the guidance of Peter Bower, senior lecturer in Barnard’s environmental science department.
Another student intern, Alexis I. Brinkerhoff '12, is pictured here coring wetlands at Black Rock Forest.