Summer months are always busy with Blue Thumb's biological collections around the state. Bug collections happen at every site that is monitored by a volunteer, which is currently around 80 sites. Fish collections happen in a specific region of the state and that region rotates so that each area gets collections every four or five years. During most summers, the Blue Thumb team is joined by an intern who is primarily with us to help with fish and bug collections. Typically a local college student, they spend the summer getting in creeks and getting lots of experience with professional field work. It's also valuable educational experience in stream ecology, water quality, wildlife biology, stream habitat and how biological collections provide important information and data in those areas. This summer, we are excited to be joined by Matthew Moelling. Read on for more about Matthew, his background and what he hopes to gain from his experiences with the Blue Thumb program.
Where do you currently attend school and what are you studying?
I currently attend Oklahoma City University and am majoring in Biology with minors in Environmental Science and Chemistry.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy hiking, playing basketball, and watching movies
What is your background or prior experience, if any, to the kind of field work you are doing with Blue Thumb?
I have not had any prior experience with this kind of field work so it's a new experience for me!
How did you find out about the internship with Blue Thumb?
I found out about the internship through one of my professors at school.
What made you decide or want to apply?
After reading the description of the internship I immediately became interested, as it involved topics related to my studies. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn and discover more about where I want to take my interests in the future.
What excited you the most about the internship with Blue Thumb?
The field work and hands on aspect of the internship excited me the most. The chance to work outside and be immersed in the habitats was exciting for me, as well as the valuable experience I would acquire in the field.
What do you think might be the biggest challenge about this internship with Blue Thumb?
Having the work schedule be so unpredictable as weather and other factors come into play. You have to learn how to be flexible and be ready to adjust. Some field days may be really long and others might be a little shorter. It just depends.
What do you most hope to gain out of this internship?
I hope to gain valuable work experience in the realm of biology and environmental science. Acquiring knowledge in this type of setting will serve me well in the future. I also hope to walk out with great connections with my fellow Blue Thumb team and my Conservation Commission coworkers.
How does this internship with Blue Thumb fit into your overall career plans and goals?
Although I am still discovering what subjects, specifically, within environmental science interest me most, this internship will help me get my first taste of work in the field I am interested in. Hopefully, this will help springboard me into a career that I love by providing me with a good background in field biology as well as natural resource conservation.