Summer Internship

Milwaukee River Valley Feeling Ripples of Summer Youth Restoration Crew

By Karen Mark

Entering my senior year of college, I had the amazing opportunity to intern in the beautifully forested and rolling hills in Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana. Turns out my summer internship did more than improve my resume. While I had studied environmental sciences, it was working out in the field that I truly understood the complexity and interconnectedness of ecosystems. I gained in-depth knowledge not found in textbooks as well as the importance of connecting people back to their natural surroundings.

I was enthused to learn about the River Revitalization Foundation’s (RRF) summer youth restoration crew for high school students. RRF is nonprofit land trust in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that establishes parkways for the public to use and enjoy along the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers. It also works to protect, preserve and improve the environmental health of the Milwaukee River Valley.

Similar to my internship, many of the summer youth crew members were urban youth and had not worked in the “great outdoors.” Over the eight weeks of the program, the students learned how to identify native and invasive species, removed invasive species such as burdock, planted native species, and built benches along the river for the public. Additionally, the summer youth crew educates visitors and youth about the history of the river and plant identification by leading hikes along the Beer Line Trail using the “Take-a-Hike” publication. Check out the summer crew’s video on RRF’s website called “A Day in the Life of the RFF Summer Crew” that they created to showcase the various projects and activities they completed.

Kimberly Gleffe, Executive Director of RRF, could not boast enough about the students to me, “This year’s summer crew was a fabulous group! They had a real sense of pride and cared about making a difference in the valley.” By educating the students with conservation knowledge and skills, I am certain that the Milwaukee River Valley will be cared for and maintained for future generations to enjoy.

If you live in the Milwaukee area, to get your hiking shoes on, get a copy of the “Take-a-Hike” publication for a guided tour around the Beer Line Trail and experience the Milwaukee River Valley. While enjoying the beautiful landscape and waterways, be sure to thank RRF and the summer youth crew for all their great work to preserve, protect and improve Milwaukee’s natural areas.

About the author: Karen Mark is a Student Temporary Employment Program intern in the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Management and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Public Service Management.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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What I Learned on My Summer Internship at the EPA

By Alex Gorsky

My internship at the Environmental Protection Agency was a whirlwind of excitement and opportunity. I was able to meet so many interesting and important people.  Not only did I meet directors of each of the EPA’s program offices, I also got to meet Administrator Lisa Jackson. At the beginning of my internship I went and heard Ted Danson speak and also got him to sign his new book, “Oceana.” I also got to write a couple of articles for the EPA’s Greenversations blog, attend two conferences related to aging and the environment, as well as the regular office work many interns have.

Even though I did so much over the summer, I still have a lot of work to do when I return home. I want to bring the things I learned on the job back to my home and school. For instance, there are many great programs that my school can take advantage of provided by the EPA’s OnCampus program. I am going to try to take the knowledge I have gained while working here and bring it back to my school in order to get it more environmentally friendly, which can help save money. At home, I can educate my family and friends about health and environmental issues, like simple ways to avoid heat stroke during the hot summer months. Even though my parents have chosen to “green” their house, such as making efforts towards recycling, there are some more things that they could do to further improve their overall environmental efficiency. For example, having a rain barrel to collect rainwater and use that to water plants during dry seasons. I will also look with them to find proper ways to dispose of medicines and electronic devices.

There are a bunch of easy things you can do to help the environment, and you don’t even need to work at the EPA to do them! Turn off the lights in a room you aren’t using, take public transportation to work, instead of turning the heat up put on a sweater, use a push mower instead of one powered by electricity or gas. The opportunities for environmentalism are endless! Look at EPA’s Pick 5 for the Environment for more examples.

About the author: Alex Gorsky was a summer Intern in the Office of Public Engagement. He is a senior at Beloit College majoring in Environmental Studies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.