Internship Opportunity!

Brody Eggert

This year I am an intern for the Garden Club and Third House Nature Center, a program in which EHHS seniors learn, work, and study at Big Reed Pond in Montauk. The interns this year are Brody Eggert (me), Hannah Hartsough, Bella Tarbet, John-Henry Kernell, Kevin Chabla, and Allie Schumacher. We learn a great deal about the environment of the park and the problems it faces with invasive species as well as its significance to the area around it (upon completion of the program interns also receive a $2,000 scholarship). The program is open for all seniors to apply to in September or October of their senior year, if you are interested in applying see Mr. Schack in the science hallway. Below is a summary of a day as a THNC intern!

During the 5th week of our Internship with Third House Nature Center and Garden Club, and we are ecstatic to say we were able to meet in person and head out onto the pond! We took two canoes, three kayaks, and a boat out on the pond. The weather was perfect for paddling: no wind, about 70 degrees, and sunny! Although the water was 57.6 degrees, so we tried our best to not go in. Visibility in the pond was about four and a half feet. In some parts of the pond it was as low as four feet, two inches and in others as high as four feet, eight inches

We did a loop around the pond in the direction from duck blind one to duck blind two. We stopped at all the wood duck boxes on the pond but did not observe any activity. However, we observed nine individual ducks on the pond, we did not see any on our last paddling excursion. Of these nine ducks, there were black ducks, bufflehead, and wood ducks. We also saw a few cormorants fly overhead.

Allie and Matt began casting off of their boat and although they didn’t catch much at first, Allie quickly started pulling in bass after bass. The first largemouth bass she caught was a 14-incher which (at the time) was a record for the interns. She then caught a smaller 7-inch largemouth, and then broke her previous intern record with at 16-inch largemouth bass! She also managed to catch another 7-inch bass and a final 14-inch bass. All of the bass caught appeared to be in very good health, with no marks or lesions on their slippery skin. All of the bass were safely released (Matt got bit more than once) back into the pond where they swam away, unsatisfied.

In addition to the plentiful largemouth bass, we took a look at the different reed species around the pond. Specifically the bayonet rush (Juncus militaris), a monocot. We observed the bayonet rush in its natural habitat, which after some research, I learned that bayonet rush on Long Island is at the southern edge of its range, except for some occurrence in North Carolina. This species has compartmentalized areas on its stem, which we were able to feel when we ran our fingers over it. Bayonet rush is very common on the pond and is a semi-aquatic species. We also identified various other semi-aquatic and aquatic plant species. 

Overall, we had a very exciting day out on the pond and learned a lot about the various flora and fauna that inhabit it!