Name: Rachel Dalton
Class Year: 2016
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Internship: Conservation Science Research Intern, the Wilds
Location: Cumberland, OH
Hello again from beautiful Cumberland, OH! It’s been warmer here over the last couple of weeks, interspersed with the occasional monsoon (when it rains here, it rains pretty impressively!). I just came back inside from standing on our deck and listening to the wood thrushes sing. They are very abundant in the treed areas around here, and I love hearing them in the evenings. The other night I also heard a barred owl hooting, which was neat.
One of the things I have been working on this week is finishing/proofreading the Intro section of my paper. All of the interns are required to write a full scientific paper about their project, which if you are not already familiar with this, includes Introduction, Methods & Materials, Results, and Discussion/Conclusions sections, as well as an abstract, works cited, etc. We also have to format our paper according to the requirements of a primary literature journal that publishes work similar to our project. I decided to write mine with the formatting requirements of the Journal of Wildlife Management, as there are several papers about eDNA monitoring published in it. We will also be responsible for making a scientific poster and PowerPoint presentation to share the results of our studies. The 8 students with the best posters as selected by the Chief Science Officer at the Wilds, Dr. Barbara Wolfe, will present them at the Columbus Zoo on the last day of our internship.
I have also been perfecting my DNA extraction skills as of late, and am now to the point where I can do it independently (woohoo!). I recently did a DNA extraction from Indian rhino tissue! I am also learning how to do qPCR right now, which I am excited about. Looking forward to applying these skills with Indian rhino eDNA very soon!
Speaking of some of favorite perissodactylids… Last week, fellow interns Katie and Evan and I had the opportunity to visit the rhino barn and spend some time with Julia the white rhino!
Something I have been realizing more and more is just how much I am learning during my time here. I’m learning a lot about eDNA and rhinos of course through my research, but I have also had opportunities to learn from quite a few people here at the Wilds who are not only extremely knowledgeable, but also very willing to share their knowledge (something I am very thankful for and have benefited greatly from!).
|A hellbender! |
Image courtesy of the Wilds' Facebook page.
As another example of learning cool things from really neat people, Mollie and I had the opportunity to tag along with our supervisor/instructor, Joe Greathouse, and fellow intern Katie on a trip to the giraffe barn later that same day. Katie is working on a project that involves developing alternative browse sources for the giraffes. On our way there, Joe told us all about different diet-related health issues that can occur in giraffes, previous experiences he has had in caring for them during his time as a zoo keeper, different nutritional aspects of different browse sources, etc. I was fascinated. And getting to feed two of the giraffes was a lot of fun, too J It is truly hard to appreciate just how tall they are until you are on ground level right next to them!
|One of the Indian rhinos residing at the Wilds.|