In Class News

June 20, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Schmidt: Invasive Species, Green Roofs, Prescribed Burns, 14,000 Acres

Nate SchmidtBy Nate Schmidt ’13
Environmental and Plant Biology Student, Ohio University

Hey everybody,

As some of you know, I have been lucky enough to be interning at Bernheim for 12 weeks as a Natural Areas Intern in Clermont, Kentucky. I can’t believe it’s already been over a month. I’ve have been exposed to a lot of different things since I started working here in mid-May. Invasive species management is probably at the top of the list right now as far as duties go for me. I’ve become very familiar with the flora and fauna of the area being that I spend most of my days outside in the 14,000 acres of forest in Bernheim with a few co-workers that know everything in this area like the back of their hand.

Nate SchmidtMy boss is a really cool guy and has gotten me involved in several different projects and activities associated with Bernheim, so I’m getting a well-rounded experience. The entire staff here at Bernheim has been so awesome. They are all very nice and welcoming and I feel like I’ve known them for much longer than a month. They’ve invited Ryan and I over for cookouts and been more than willing to help us get acclimated and adjusted. Lots of interesting people with interesting backgrounds and stories to tell.

Nate SchmidtI’ve also participated in 6 prescribed burns ( 5 in Bernheim and 1 in University of Kentucky’s Research Forest). That was really intense and interesting for me to learn and experience. Also, I’ve been involved in a lot of community outreach and education by assisting in a green roof installation on University of Louisville’s Nucleus Building, helping with plant sales, helping educate locals on invasive species at workshops, and most likely more things like that in the future. Also, I’ve acquired my applicator’s license so I can spray pesticides when we are out killing/removing invasive species. More recently, two co-workers and I were put in charge of constructing a trail through the woods that weaved in and out of a really cool wetland area with tons of biodiversity, including an active beaver lodge. It will be used as an interpretive trail to educate young children and connect them with nature.

See Nick’s photo on FlickR.

This week, I was put in charge of a wetland restoration project. We formed a list of about 15 different compatible wetland species and I was in charge of the placement, planting, and maintenance of these species. With some help from a few co-workers we planted over 300 plants in this wetland in just 2 days and now leave it up to nature to do the rest. I’m really excited to see how it takes shape. This weekend, We are going to be conducting a night survey for bats, night jars, and scorpions that should be very cool and interesting. These are some of the main things that I have been actively participating in at my stay here.

Outside of work, there is tons of things to do as well. We have access to a private lake with a fishing boat so we tend to hang out there a lot to swim and fish and what not. Also, there is lots of trails to hike. As you may know, we are in the Bourbon trail here in Kentucky so there is tons of good bourbon and nearby distilleries to check out. Trying to plan some trips to Mammoth Cave and other attractions nearby.

That’s about all I have right now off the top of my head. I’ll have to get my pictures up on here soon so you guys can see some cool things I’ve come across. Hope you guys are having a great experience. Hats off to Harvey for setting these up, can’t thank him enough.


Nate Schmidt

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