My name is Ryan Horsik and I’m currently enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. I’m majoring in environmental science and I’m minoring in criminal justice. I’m loving the work I have been doing for the last month or so. Interning for Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust is a truly amazing experience that I feel so lucky to have been given the chance to be a part of it.
As of right now I have been mostly working in afterschool programs at various elementary schools. I never thought I would help teach science to kindergarten, but It has allowed me to see a different aspect of conservation. I remember someone told me that its important to teach kids about conservation, so that they can grow up and hopefully help to make changes. I didn’t look at it like that before, I just saw conservation as protecting land or a species. That is only a part of it, in order to protect as much as we can we need help. I was unsure about how teaching kindergarteners would actually go, I’ve worked at a baseball camp before. However, I didn’t get the opportunity to actually teach anything. So, I was a little nervous for my first day and by the second day I already felt comfortable enough to lead my own group. It also helped that one of my supervisors thought that I would be totally fine as well, it reassured me as well that I could do it. I thought the kids wouldn’t listen to me at all, but I think its safe to say that I became one of their favorites pretty quickly. There was one time where my supervisor asked the kids if they wanted to stay with her and do an activity or if they wanted to go with me. I was surprised when I saw a majority of the kids wanted to go with me, it could’ve been the fact that we were going to see some live turtles. Yet, I felt a little proud of that and it came to my attention that I have to teach these kids as much as I can.
Another part of my internship is taking care of turtle hatchlings, most of my experiences with turtles have been out in the wild where they are far away and much bigger. The Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust has been headstarting these hatchlings so they can release them at a much bigger size, so their survival rate increases dramatically. I’ve been taking their measurements such as weight and length, so that we can see how their growth over time. It meant a lot to me that I was given a little bit of responsibility when it came to recording their growth because if the measurements are off then it could ruin the dataset. Not to mention, they are small and they do need to be handled with care so to be trusted enough to handle them is truly an honor.
Where I work right now is easily the best work environment that I have ever experienced and that goes all the way up to the MANO PROJECT. Its easy to see that everyone wants to work together to build a stronger community and to get to know each other.