Saying Goodbye to Summer
Whether you're paddling on the Grasse River, visiting one of our countless waterfalls, or picking up fresh veggies at a farmer's market, summer is one of the best times to be in the North Country. This summer, the four college students interning with Nature Up North got to experience that firsthand.
For almost 9 weeks this summer, our team more than quadrupled as Val, Grace, Lydia and Emily joined our staff as summer naturalist interns. They boldly took on the task of getting to know the north country - traveling over 1000 miles back and forth across the St. Lawrence River Valley leading programs, attending conferences, hiking new trails, and making friends.
In the end, it's the human connections we make that stick. This summer, we worked this over 300 k-12 students from 6 school, sampling water quality, building fairy houses, and learning about our fascinating backyard. We also had a blast traveling around the North Country hosting nearly two dozen community programs. We hiked, fished, paddled, and even did yoga by a waterfall! Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for one - or many - programs this summer.
Special thanks go out to both the Canton and Potsdam Farmer's Markets for having us as a guest vendor and helping spread the word about programs. We'd also like to thank the St. Lawrence Outdoor Program for generously providing boats, paddles and pfds for the summer paddling series.
Keep reading below to hear summer highlights from our interns!
Valeria Maldonado '21
Hometown: Ponce, Puerto Rico
From waterfall yoga to paddling down the Grasse River, this summer was nothing short of fun. Leading programs such as papermaking and waterfall yoga made my experience at Nature Up North more unique. Throughout the summer I learned everything from tree ID to bird calls from professors at SLU and community members. This internship has taught me skills that I’ll cherish throughout my years at St. Lawrence University and in my future career.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this experience at Nature Up North an unforgettable one. I’m excited to keep working with Nature Up North in the coming year and to keep exploring the North Country for the next two years.
Val is a Junior at St. Lawrence University studying Environmental Studies & Psychology.
Grace Hines '22
Hometown: Canton, NY
Hey, it’s Grace! I want to take a moment to say thank you to all the Nature Up North staff, fellow interns and everyone who made this summer so memorable. This internship went by in a flash and it seems as if it was only yesterday when it started. There are too many highlights to go over, but a few were the Build-a-Bee house and the Soil Science Workshops I led. These events will have a real staying power with me because throughout the whole process of creating and then actually doing these programs I was in a constant state of hands on learning. I think such opportunities are quite rare nowadays and so I’m very thankful for having been given this. This whole experience will stay with me forever and I will definitely try to put all the new skills that I’ve learned here to good use in the near future.
Now where do I go from here? This fall I'll be training as an international orientation leader and working as one of my college’s student ambassadors and tour guides. I plan on earning my bachelor of science in Geology, Biology, or both. After that, I’m actually not quite sure, but I know it’ll be great!
Grace is a sophomore at Sewanee: University of the South. She plans to major in Geology or Biology.
Lydia Dwyer '20
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
After one summer with Nature Up North, I can confidently say I have learned a lot more about the environment, the community, and how they connect. This internship altered my outlook on both communication and outreach, too. After developing and running community programs, leading paddles, and writing for the Nature Up North blog, I learned how to better engage with people and share information effectively.
One of my favorite parts of this internship was the amount of time we spent outdoors. I enjoyed bettering my tree identification skills, learning basic wild foraging, and discovering all the wonderful outdoor spots in the North Country, ones I hadn’t known about before! Some of my other favorite moments of the internship include leading our free fishing clinic, writing a program on building fairy houses, and writing a blog about the annual goose wrangle in Messina. The biggest highlight of the summer, however, was getting to know the Nature Up North team. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to work with such a dedicated and awesome group of people!
After this internship, I will be finishing my senior year of college at St. Lawrence University, studying Biology and Spanish. Following graduation, I hope to travel, continue working in these areas, and eventually pursue a higher degree in biology. Thank you to Nature Up North for an amazing summer!
Lydia is a Senior at St. Lawrence University studying Spanish and Biology.
Emily Gerber '20
Hometown: Odessa, FL
It’s hard to believe that my time as a Nature Up North Summer Naturalist has come to an end. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to intern with such an amazing organization whose mission I feel so strongly about. This summer was filled with opportunities to move outside my comfort zone, try something new, work hard, and have fun along the way.
Some personal highlights include leading community paddles, developing two new programs, practicing tree identification, working with all the interns, and getting to know the North Country community better. Looking ahead, this fall I will be diving into my senior year at SLU and finishing up my conservation biology major and creative writing minor.
As I begin my search for what’s next to come, I will take all of my experiences with the Nature Up North team into consideration. I am excited to say that I have truly found a passion for environmental education and biological fieldwork through the opportunities that I have been afforded this summer and look forward to seeing where the future takes me.
Emily is a Senior at St. Lawrence University studying Conservation Biology.