Dr. Ed and Hilda Carney Support for Interns
In keeping with the Secretary of Interior's mandate of ensuring that the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of refuge lands are maintained, generous donations by Dr. Ed and Hilda Carney annually allow the Friends to support four university interns each year.
The Carney Interns helped establish and now monitor Red Cockaded Woodpeckers (RWC). Their work helps Refuge biologists determine how successful recent translocation projects have been and where translocated RCWs are nesting within the Refuge. They also continue the site restoration work critical to RCW transfer by removal of invasive species such as cogon grass, torpedo grass, and Cuban bulrush.
Prior Carney interns established a "nursery" for Frosted Flatwoods Salamander larvae so that greater numbers of the federally threatened species could be returned to their natal ponds. 40 tanks filled with larvae are being monitored. Interns maintain the tanks and tag the new salamanders to track project success. Without the Carney Interns, Refuge biologists estimate fewer than ten tanks of salamander larvae could be maintained. This translates to many more salamanders going into many more ponds throughout the Refuge.
The Carney interns, while providing invaluable wildlife conservation service to the Refuge also further their education and gain a head start on their environmental careers. As one intern aptly put it: “Each project has been a learning experience that allowed us to gain more knowledge in our field while giving us the opportunity to see cool wildlife we don’t usually see in the classroom.”
The Carney Intern program is contributing to the next generation of wildlife conservationists.