Ashlyn Crain ’22 focuses on marine life conservation and education during Edisto Beach internship

卢蒙学者和戈德华特学者, Crain spent the summer at Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina researching loggerhead sea turtle nests.

银河游戏官方下载网大四学生,Lumen学者和 戈德华特奖学金接受者 Ashlyn Crain ’22 recently completed her three-month internship at Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina, 整个夏天都在做“海龟实习生”.”

实习分为两个方面——保护和教育. 实习期的保留部分, 她负责每天的黎明巡逻, 在一英里半长的海滩上寻找新的海龟巢穴, taking eggs samples for a genetic study done at the University of Georgia and performing inventories of hatch nets.

A loggerhead sea turtle egg taken as a sample to put into an ethanol solution as a part of a genetics study.

The education side saw her leading public inventories and night walk programs, where she and a group of volunteers would give a presentation on sea turtle development, what it looks like for them to come up on the beaches and watch a sea turtle nest.

Crain said it was this night walk program that was the most rewarding for her. To see the reactions of the people experiencing this for the first time and that they were genuinely interested in something that she is passionate about was very gratifying.

“I am a big advocate for education of conservation and so it was really cool to have groups of 30-plus people that we would be taking on the beach with us and getting to experience a loggerhead sea turtle nest for the first time,”她说.

After discovering the Edisto Beach State Park internship through a job board with a wide database for wildlife positions and internships, 有一天她申请了, 是下一个面试机会吗, 然后在接下来的一周被录取了.

“I actually had another internship that had been canceled because of COVID reasons,”克雷恩说. “So, it was a frenzy in April of trying to find something and this just really landed in my lap, 这是一个完美的机会.”

在2020年,克莱恩是 被选为15位“Lumen学者”之一 她的项目, “Mitigating carbon emission: Four strategies for sequestering atmospheric CO2 in trees.该项目的研究仍在进行中,克雷恩, along with her faculty mentor associate professor of biology David Vandermast, 计划在毕业前完成这项研究.

The research looks at four different types of forest and trees planted in cities on how they are deploying carbon directly from the atmosphere in those locations. The research is done through a partnership with Duke University’s Carbon Offsets Initiative and so far, 达勒姆的街道上种了数百棵树.

Crain said that it’s been interesting to see how naturally occurring systems such as old-growth forests, 比如银河游戏官方下载网森林分校, can guide how trees are planted in cities to deploy carbon in urban environments.

“It’s really been interesting to apply how these systems that are naturally happening in old-growth forests and forests like you would see at the 伦大学 Forest can have an effect on how trees planted in cities are deploying carbon directly from the atmosphere in those locations,”克雷恩说.

Growing up in the mountains of Tennessee, she wanted to apply her childhood interests to her future. “I came into Elon really wanted to go into the forestry side of service and industry and really fell in love with the topics that I was learning about in classes like biodiversity and population biology,”克雷恩说.

但从那时起, her interests have shifted more to coastal ecology which is still relevant to carbon cycling. Having grown up in the mountains, that was the ecosystem that initially piqued her interest.

“But I was able to take a wetland ecology class and an aquatic biology class both under Dr. Brant Touchette and I think that was really the first opportunity I had to understand coastal systems in a deeper way than I had before,”她说.

展望未来,克雷恩正在缩小毕业后的选择范围. She is currently looking into graduate programs and various labs in which she could see herself getting her master’s degree or doctorate. She said she’s also open to taking a seasonal position and gaining some real-world experience before school.

Whichever avenue she decides, she would love to continue researching and educating.

“我绝对想留在研究领域, 这是我非常喜欢和热爱的事情. 但我也喜欢教育, so I’m looking for something that can really combine those two passions of mine,”她说.