Student Assessing “Irene” Damage
WALKING VERMONT’S WATERS
July 16, 2012
LSC senior Joshua Grant is spending his summer vacation walking streambeds as part of an internship with the Friends of the Mad River (FMR). Grant, an Environmental Science major, was granted a “Vermont Recovery” internship through Vermont Campus Compact (VCC). He is helping to organize and lead volunteers in conducting a comprehensive visual assessment of the Mad River watershed.
VCC placed 13 college and university students with organizations such as the American Red Cross, Vermont’s Irene Recovery office and regional recovery groups across the state. They have taken on a variety of projects that range from working directly with flood survivors, documenting changes to local rivers, and improving emergency response plans.
Grant is experienced in water ecology projects having spent the past two summers interning with Trout Unlimited on a habitat recovery project in the Upper Connecticut River. He explains that his interest in watershed health and ecology stems from “connecting all the dots from my undergrad environmental studies. [It] has amplified the importance of the water that flows all around us.”
Grant, other FMR interns and volunteers are walking up tributaries off the Mad River from their “confluence to their source.” They “collect data on incisions in the flow channel, slumps (erosion) on the banks, and wood jams within the flow,” caused by Irene or other storms. “The physical attributes of these features are measured and photographed. This data is then correlated with their GPS coordinates and will be represented on maps of the watershed.” A watershed is the area of land which collects all surface water to its river channels.
Grant has also won LSC’s prestigious Dudley Bell Outstanding Athlete Award for the past three years. The honor, given to the top student athlete at LSC, was due to his “outstanding performance” with the cross country team. He also shared the Green and Gold Scholar-Athlete Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average.
He plans on studying entomology in graduate school. “My love for insects evolved from a childhood interest. They are very intriguing animals in their quantities and diversity. Just as water flows around us everywhere, insects exist in almost every habitat imaginable.”
Vermont Campus Compact is a statewide coalition of college and university presidents committed to the civic mission of higher education. The Friends of the Mad River is a private, nonprofit organization committed to protecting, improving, and enhancing the ecological, recreational, and community values of the Mad River and its watershed.