Thirty interns, shown here, met at NGRREC May 26-29 to kick off their summer internships. Photo by Louise Jett, L&C Media Specialist.

EAST ALTON – Thirty interns from 20 colleges and universities and 12 states across the country were at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s Jerry F. Costello Confluence Field Station May 26-29 to kick off their summer internships. The interns spent four days at the Field Station for orientation, during which they toured the facility and experienced the Mississippi River Watershed through day trips and demonstrations by NGRREC scientists.

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“One of the goals of this orientation week is to impress upon the students the collaborative nature and diversity of the work that NGRREC and its partners all do to advance large river and watershed research to meet similar mission goals,” said NGRREC Environmental Education Manager Natalie Marioni. “While students embark upon this internship, we hope they will not only hone necessary research skills, but also consider how their project fits into a larger, more holistic context of watershed issues.”

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Interns visited several wetland restoration project sites, the Riverland Migratory Bird Sanctuary and the Melvin Price Locks and Dam. They also had the opportunity to learn from and network with professionals during a Natural Resource and Science Career Panel. The interns are now in the field, working on the site-specific projects with their advisors throughout Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.

They are conducting a variety of research, gaining invaluable experiences in data/specimen collection and using standard protocols, and learning how to analyze, synthesize and interpret data, which will be translated into reports.

NGRREC? interns visit a wetland restoration project during orientation week. Photo by Ariel Weinman, L&C Media Specialist.Eventually, interns will present their research findings via oral and poster presentations during the Intern Symposium Aug. 3-4 at the Field Station. “This competitive program provides students with an opportunity to develop their research skills and gain valuable experience in effectively communicating scientific information; experiences that are critical as they advance further in their science education and careers,” Marioni said. Learn more about the NGRREC interns at and find more photos from Intern Orientation Week at

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