The Abbott Marshlands added two college interns to its summer programming.
The interns are Jack Bond, from Chesterfield, NJ and Rachel Phillips, from Hamilton, NJ. Jack attends Rowan College at Burlington County and plans to transfer to Rowan University to study Environmental Science and Sustainability. Jack grew up bass fishing and exploring the region’s woodlands. He enjoys biking, hiking, bird watching and recently added hunting. Rachel will attend Stockton University in the fall, majoring in Environmental Science. She understands the importance of protecting the marsh and hopes to learn to identify its diverse plant life and the ecology of the unique place.
As interns, Jack and Rachel assisted the Friends for the Abbott Marshlands (FFAM) in trail work led by Deb Brockway, Stewardship Chair, along with Pat Coleman, FFAM President and Cathy Frank, FFAM Outreach Coordinator. Working in Northern Community Park, they removed Japanese Knotweed and Mile-a-Minute vine (invasive plants) and did trail improvements. Jack also assisted with a Mercer County Parks “Hooked on Fishing” program for children at Roebling Park. Both Jack and Rachel helped identify and learned about wildlife like crawfish, snapping turtles and dragonflies on Wednesday Walks, and did an Intro to Water Monitoring and Testing lesson. They assisted with programs inside the nature center to better understand the ecology and history of the site. Each of the interns culminated their summer work experience with independent research projects related to the Abbott Marshlands, followed by a public reception on Thursday, August 3rd.
Jack Graham, for whom the summer internship program is named, passed in 2022. He was a long-term volunteer at the Abbott Marshlands trails, assisted in kayaking events and at Tulpehaking Nature Center in Roebling Park. Jack was also a Mary Alessio Leck Award winner in 2021. His award was presented along with a proclamation from the county by Brian Hughes, Mercer County Executive, for Jack’s outstanding volunteer service and generous spirit. The memorial fund was created by his wife, Norina, to introduce the next generation of naturalists to the environment Jack loved.