NEGSA Conference Impressions

Dan and Justin at their poster

Daniel and Justin are both sophomores who have worked with Prof. Gourley for the last semester. They are preparing for a summer research project in the White Mountain National Forest, where they will study soil nutrient dynamics following clear cutting.

My poster presentation investigated the sediment of a stream reach that contained elevated levels of total mercury that were found during a wide-scale study of the Park River watershed,. I did not expect that many people,  to come, look at my poster, and ask about my study. Some were definitely challenging but others were very encouraging and absorbed. A meeting with Andy who works at the White Mountain National Forest about an upcoming research project went really well. Once again, I did not expect that many environmental scientists and geologists in one place and a lot of the posters and talks were informative, interesting, and really laid back. I had a great time skiing/snowboarding with Professor Gourley, Professor Bushey, and Justin.

At the conference, I discussed our future work with the White Mountains National Forest Department of New Hampshire to determine the levels of nutrients present in the soil of a section of forest before and after a clear cut takes  place.  The primary purpose of the research is to deduce whether there is a sufficient level of nutrients for a healthy forest to regrow.  Many listeners were very excited to see our results over the next few years.  In general, the experience was fun and educational.  Skiing with Professor Gourley and discussing our research with fellow students, Sama and Stephani.


NEGSA Conference Impressions

Jon Gourley presenting Linnea's poster

Linnea, a junior ENVS major conducted research with professor Gourley on heavy metal concentration in urban sediments. Unfortunately she could not attend the conference, so Jon had to do some extra work.

I designed a study to assess the trace metal concentrations in the fine-grained sediments in an urban stream. For this study I took grab samples periodically along the stream in order to locate hot spots and at the mouth of a sanitary sewer outflow (SSO) to determine if it is a source of contamination to the river. I also compared my samples to a previous study done that did detailed sampling at the mouth of the SSO, and to the sediment quality guidelines and probably effect concentrations. Ultimately I located one hot spot, and found that the current concentrations of trace metals were lower at the mouth of the SSO, compared to the past concentrations. I was unable to attend the 2013 Northeast GSA conference to present this research, but thankfully Professor Jonathan Gourley was willing to put in some extra work and present for me.


NEGSA Conference Impressions

almost done - Sama survived her poster presentation, except for her adviser who still wants to snap "just one more (always horrible) picture..."

Sama is a junior who has participated in various research projects with professors Geiss and Gourley. Fr this conference she presented results from one of our ENVS courses:

Attending the regional GSA conference in New Hampshire this spring was a completely new experience for me. I jointly presented research that Renee Swetz and I performed in our Methods in Environmental Science class (ENVS 275) In our study we investigated the effects of urbanization on a small nearby urban watershed by quantifying and analyzing stream flow and water conductivity. I personally felt that presenting a poster at such a conference was a challenging experience since the audiences were all experts in the field of geology and they clearly knew more than me. Nonetheless, I was really amazed at how they appreciated the work that I did as only an undergraduate. It was equally interesting to attend poster presentations and oral sessions by other people especially learning about research in the field that I presented my poster in (accompanied by a few ‘aha, I know what you’re talking about’ moments). Overall, the conference was a wonderful learning experience with an added benefit of being in a beautiful resort overlooking the mountains and a few perks of staying in a popular vacation resort.

This is just one more piece of evidence that Sama's adviser can't get one decent shot of his advisee.

NEGSA Conference Impressions

Stephani with her poster on the magnetic properties of soils.

Stephani is a senior working with Prof. Geiss on the magnetic properties of soils. This was her first conference, and here is what she has to say about it:

The 48th Annual North Eastern Section Geological Society of America meeting was my first opportunity to venture north of Connecticut and also to get more information on current studies in my field of interest. I presented my research project on the magnetization of soil by fire. Standing beside my poster and explaining the results to geologists and other students was one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic career. I enjoyed traveling with other Trinity students and feeling part of a significant group of researchers.

Ryan Burch ’98 Introduces Senior Seminar Students to Aquaculture

Ryan Burch '98Ryan Burch ’98

Ryan Burch, who graduated from Trinity in 1998 (long before we had an ENVS program) learned about Environmental Science at Trinity after seeing a picture of our recent Iceland trip in the Trinity Reporter (this one). So last fall he picked up the phone and called me up, offering his help with the program. Ryan now works for the harbor master’s office in Brewster, MA and invited us to come out to the Cape for a visit.

Yesterday evening Ryan gave a talk on shellfish aquaculture to our senior seminar. He introduced us to all stages of the shellfish farming process, from obtaining the proper permits to harvest and sale of the grown product 3 to 6 years later.

Of course, no lecture on shellfish is complete without a little tasting. Here Ryyan shows how to shuck an oyster:

and less than a few minutes later we got to try it ourselves:
What a way to end the day!

McCookout Delayed by Another Week

construction in front of McCook HallNow with spring finally arriving (almost no snow, skunk cabbage poking out of the ground) everybody here is looking forward to the first McCookout of the saeson. Unfortunately: no such luck this week. A “three-day” construction job that started in January (yes, I am writing this towards the end of March!) is still blocking access to most of the McCook patio. So, hopefully we’ll have the first barbecue of the season next week.

Trinity Students Present at Regional Geology Conference

Jon Gourley and I joined four of our students, Justin Beslity, Danel Hong,Stephani Roman and Sama Shresta on a trip to Bretton Woods, NH to attend the  Geological Society of America’s Northeast Section meeting.

The meeting took place in the historic Mount Washington Hotel (pictured above in the snow), and we spent three days attending talks, talking science and hanging out in a pretty fancy place.

Jon Gourley pondering some slight modifications to our oh-so-fancy digs in McCook Hall.

On Tuesday it got serious for the students: Sama, Justin and Dan were all presenting posters. Needless to say, they did great, and after a long day we all went up to nearby Fabyan Station for dinner.

Sama explaining her poster.

Dan and Justin talking to Dr. Lisa Doner, Plymouth State University

Dinner at Fabyan Station

On Wednesday morning Stephani convinced everybody that grass-fires are a really bad way to change the magnetic properties of soils and Jon Gourley convened a session on urban watersheds.

Stephani explaining her poster to Dr. Bob Darling, SUNY Cortland

In summary, we definitely had a few rough days, but, hey, somebody has to do it, right?

The flannel shirt boys in action. The girls were too fashion conscious to join us.
Dan fattening up for the long drive home: 2 burgers, 1 wrap, a shake and a large soda…