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U.S. Students Intern at HBRC

Four university students from the United States are working as interns at Hawke’s Bay Regional Council for three weeks.

Massey’s 2016 National Expedition and Internship programme has brought 24 US students to Napier this winter. They started with a two week study tour around New Zealand, before arriving in Hawke’s Bay for their internships at various organisations. Their internships started on Monday June 13 and will go through to 8 July when they will present their work at an expo.

Thomas “Beau” Badon is an environmental and soil science major at University of Tennessee; Kara Ernst and Lauren Blais are both from Michigan State University, Kara as an animal science major and Lauren as a nutritional science major; and Ashton Townsley is an animal science major at University of Illinois.  These three universities have up to 50K students each, roughly the population of Napier.

Beau and Ashton are helping HBRC’s Water Quality & Ecology team to find barriers to fish passage, as well as looking for inanga (whitebait) spawning grounds. This work will provide HBRC with information on where identified barriers need to be fixed to increase habitat available to native fish, and ensure that any discovered inanga spawning grounds are adequately protected.

Kara and Lauren are working with HBRC’s Open Spaces team measuring biodiversity values in the riparian enhancement programmes that have been carried out by HBRC and volunteers over the years. They are also measuring the growth rates and survival of different tree and shrub species that were planted with differing techniques. This information will provide guidance for future planting programmes, and provide some benchmark data to gauge any improvements.

Massey University – information on National Expedition & Internships

Massey’s National Expedition & Internships are the first programme of its kind offered by a New Zealand university. The two key components of the programme are a two week study tour around the country, and a four week internship placement. After successfully piloting the programme for 7 students in Agriculture and Environment related majors in 2014, enrolment for this Hawke’s Bay-based programme rose to 36 students in 2015.

This year the programme is hosting 24 students from 11 different universities across the USA, completing internship placements at:

  • Department of Conservation (third year as a host!)
  • Gourmet Direct (second year as a host)
  • Hohepa (second year as a host)
  • GR&BE Gibson dairy farm
  • Lawson's Organic Farms
  • Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (second year as a host)
  • Mr Apple (second year as a host)
  • 3RGroup Ltd
  • Aquarium
  • Yummy Fruit
  • Black Barn (second year as a host)

The National Expedition for the Agriculture & Environment programme spans from Queenstown to Napier, during which students complete academic case studies on the New Zealand wool, wine, and dairy industries, and engage with local experts along the way in agribusiness, conservation, and environmental science. The two week expedition finishes in Napier, where the cohort lives during their internship placements.  The Expedition and Internship involve two 15-credit Massey papers and the cohorts are fully supported by Massey pastoral care staff.

The internship programme will finish on 8 July with a student presentation expo which will be open to internship hosts, members from the various host industry communities, and the media.

25 August 2016

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