Garrett Crowe ’16 has been working with the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) this summer as a data manager and outreach assistant in collaboration with its Watercraft Stewards Program.
“I’ve always been interested in aquatics, specifically hydrology,” says Crowe, a geoscience major with a minor in environmental studies. “This program aims to encourage environmental preservation and conservation. It definitely aligns with my studies and interests. Plus, I love Geneva in the summer, especially swimming in the lake.”
Stationed at boat launches throughout the eastern seven Finger Lakes as well as three southern Lake Ontario bays, the Watercraft Stewards Program is responsible for assisting watercraft users in inspecting boats for any aquatic invasive species while helping remove any latched-on organisms. Crowe is involved with the data collection efforts.
During inspections, data is collected for cataloguing and use in future analysis by Crowe, including: time of day, boat type, state of origin, group size, whether a vessel is launching or returning, type of organisms found, usage (recreational or commercial), and the name of the last water body visited. They are also working to spread awareness of the new “clean, drain, dry” regulations put out by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which requires boaters to clean and drain their boats prior to launching at or leaving DEC lands.
Once all data is collected, it is entered by Stewards into a spreadsheet which is then compiled into a master copy by Crowe. He is responsible for cross-checking and managing all data to ensure everything is accurate and complete.
In addition to working closely with the Stewards, Crowe also works with the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FL-PRISM), a collaborative program designed to address the threat of invasive species. FL-PRISM is housed under FLI, and is coordinated by Hilary Mosher who acts as one of Crowe’s overseers. The FL-PRISM aims to prevent the spread of invasive species through identification of native and non-native organisms, which are initially detected and forwarded by the Stewards. Crowe’s management of data is therefore important in aiding future FL-PRISM research.
Once data collection and entry is finalized for the 2014-2015 year, Crowe plans to make pivot charts based on various attributes, transforming data into analytics.
“This is the stage I am most looking forward to,” Crowe says. “I will eventually be creating posters which showcase how all of the data I’ve been working with this summer comes together.”
Upon completion, the posters that Crowe creates will be presented at a research symposium, where all research students present findings from fieldwork involvement. Scientifically based, the posters will “explain the purpose of the Watercraft Steward Program through various graphs which show different statistics that have been found based on the recorded information from local lakes,” Crowe says.
The event will be held in Scandling Campus Center during Homecoming and Family Weekend this year, which will take place October 2-4.
While preparation continues, Crowe hopes to see the program spread greater awareness to the boating community.
“Even if we can play a small role in preventing the spread of invasive species, it is still a step in the right direction,” Crowe says. “It’s amazing how quickly things can spread given all of the traffic between lakes.”
This fall, Crowe plans to focus on finding career opportunities for after graduation. He notes that his internship experience has been fundamental in developing spreadsheet skills and management skills with data and large groups of people. He aims to carry over these skills to whatever new work opportunities arise next.