East Georgia State College and the Altamaha Riverkeeper Organization formed a partnership in 2015 to provide internships for biology students. The first student to work with the Altamaha Riverkeeper under this alliance was Dana Bedgood, who went on to graduate from EGSC with her Bachelor of Science in Biology degree. She was followed by Kaitlin Warren, who graduated this May with her degree and was then hired as the Oconee Watershed Manager for the Altamaha Riverkeeper.
“I am very proud of Kaitlin’s accomplishments,” said EGSC Chair of Biology Dr. David Chevalier. “Her internship with the Altamaha Waterkeeper was very successful and led to her current employment. She is now training and supervising EGSC interns and is a great ambassador for the Bachelor of Biology program at EGSC.”
Warren is overseeing this summer’s intern, Biology major Zach Davis.
“This alliance was formed in order to teach students about the importance of water quality,” explained Warren. “The Ohoopee River is a black water river, which means that it has a unique composition and is susceptible to heavy metal contamination. In order to protect this waterway, we must know what is normal.”
Warren and Davis have been taking samples of the Ohoopee River to measure any changes to the water quality.
“The river lacked any baseline data until the fall of 2015, when this internship program started with Dana Bedgood,” Warren continued. “In continuing the internship, we will continue to further our understanding of this river and enhance our ability to protect it.”
Interns are required to obtain a quality control and quality assurance training trough Georgia Adopt a Stream, an EPA citizen scientist water quality program. The Chemical Monitoring program includes training in the following parameters: air temperature, water temperature, conductivity, pH and dissolved oxygen.
“The internship will eventually evolve into more, including community outreach and education,” said Warren.