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Hope VanDerwater '21

ars nova, 2021

Major: Environmental Science
Bio: Hope is a senior environmental science major also enrolled in Fordham's accelerated master's program where she will get a M.S. in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Ecology and Systematics. After completing the Master's program, she intends to get a PhD or DVM.

Title of Research: Environmental Education Internship at Genesee County Parks and Recreation
Mentor: Dr. Mark Botton
Abstract: In summer 2020, I worked as an intern and environmental education assistant with Genesee County Parks and Recreation in Western New York. My responsibilities included working in visitor services, greeting hikers and guests, caring for the resident animals at the Interpretive Nature Center, and answering questions about the history, ecology, and layout of the park. I also assisted with the educational programs, excursions, and classes, including outlining, writing, and conducting my own original educational program. I worked to improve digital access to the interpretive signage in the park and designed and created a set of over 20 signs to educate visitors in the Outdoor Learning Center trails. I also worked with the ACORNs, the parks’ affiliated non-profit organization doing administrative tasks and gardening. Overall, my main takeaway from this position was how important public environmental education is to all ages, including adults, as it promotes sustainable actions and personal connections with the environment.