Three students who are entering their senior year at William Paterson University in Wayne have been working this summer as interns at Laurelwood Arboretum. Each has spent a total of 120 hours this summer working with the arboretum’s Plant Collection Management Committee and earning course credits.
The Plant Collection Management Committee is using a state-of-the-art computer-based system to help identify plants throughout the arboretum and enter information about them into a database stored on a dedicated computer at the Knippenberg Center for Education. The project is intended to help preserve the legacy of Laurelwood Arboretum and identify possible new areas for enhancing it in the future.
Marisa Martorana of West Milford, NJ, has spent many hours tagging trees and shrubs, collecting data, and then entering her findings in the database. “I am very proud of the knowledge I acquired this summer,” she said. “I also appreciate the inner peace one finds in a place such as this.” Marisa is majoring in environmental sustainability at William Paterson and also works at the Bergen County Zoo in Van Saun Park, where she trains animals.
Chandler-Michelle Reyes of Ridgefield, NJ, is also majoring in environmental sustainability. She put her organizational and writing skills to work on data collection, documentation and database maintenance. She also managed the project-tracking spreadsheet. Chandler-Michelle plans on doing a graduate internship with a view towards a career in science journalism.
Richard Plattel of Rochelle Park, NJ, is majoring in environmental sustainability with a minor in chemistry. He too spent many hours identifying, recording, and tagging plants in the arboretum. “It is so interesting to catch plants when they are in bloom. This is the best time to identify them because the bark and leaves of many species can be so similar,” he said. Richard also worked on a special wet-site tolerant herbaceous plant list for a landscape project along the entrance to Laurelwood Arboretum.
“Plant identification, documentation and tagging are the activities that make Laurelwood a true arboretum,” said Elaine Fogerty, Laurelwood’s Executive Director. “Our summer interns devoted many hours to the painstaking tasks of identifying trees and shrubs, recording their location and navigating the arboretum to tag the plant material. Their valuable work moves us forward in our goal of becoming a fully accredited arboretum.”
The internship program at Laurelwood Arboretum is sponsored by Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum, the nonprofit organization that helps preserve and manage the 30+ acre arboretum in partnership with Wayne Township. To learn more about internship opportunities, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-831-5675.