Fun Full Week of Firsts

Water chestnut (Trapa natans)
Water chestnut seeds

When it came time to sit down and think about what I would write about this week, I realized how exciting my week truly was. Instead of highlighting one subject, I decided to share my week full of firsts with you. To begin, I participated in my first water chestnut pull at one of the nearby waterways. Water chestnuts (Trapa natans) are invasive aquatic plants. They are invasive to our waterways because they can disrupt the ecological balance of aquatic ecosystems by acting as dense vegetation on the top of the water surface. The thick vegetation can make it hard for native plants under the water to grow since it would be harder for the sunlight to reach the plants. The decomposition of water chestnuts could be harmful to fish because it causes reductions of dissolved oxygen in the water. Overall, the day was a win-win. I got to have a fun day in the kayak while helping the environment by removing invasive plants. 

Scoping out water chestnuts while kayaking
KOBO (King of the Blue Ocean) - One of the six blue whale skeletons on display in the world

Another highlight of my week was getting to visit the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Here we met with Rufai who is a guide at the park. Rufai did a great job of explaining to us the history of the area. We also got to make a quick stop at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. I was blown away by how large the museum was. You could spend a couple of days in there. 

View from a New Bedford dock
Teaching Secretary Haaland how to play the fishing game

My favorite first from this week was getting to meet Secretary Haaland from the Department of Interior. During her visit, I was able to speak to her about fishing and the fish in the Blackstone River Watershed. She allowed me to show her the fishing activity that I had set up. During this activity, you practice your fishing skills by catching plastic fish. On the back of each fish, there is the name of a fish that you may find in the Blackstone River Watershed along with some facts about the fish. It was such a pleasant experience meeting Secretary Haaland. She even earned her junior angler badge!

Posing with Secretary Haaland
Secretary Haaland reading about the golden shiner she caught

I am so excited to experience many more firsts throughout my internship!

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