Internship Spotlight: UW Discovery Farms

By: Savannah Williams, U of M Student

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work with UW Discovery Farms, doing outreach and research. Discovery Farms is an organization that works with farmers throughout Wisconsin on the relationship between agriculture and water quality. Although this was my second summer with Discovery Farms, I had the chance to further my experience and try new things.

During the course of my internship, I served as the project coordinator for our stream and lake sampling. I made the schedule of when we were going to take samples, and then I put the data into our system. I also focused on designing outreach materials for social media, events, flyers and emails, and created videos of various staff, places and projects.

Working with Discovery Farms, I had a lot of great experiences and opportunities. I was able try new things, even if I was not comfortable with the tasks at first. For example, I attended Farm Tech Days to volunteer in the education tent. I was unfamiliar with my assigned station, but after talking with the person who was in charge I was able to take what I learned from him and share with people who were interested in my station. I don’t think that is something I would have done last summer!

I also really enjoyed being a part of the June Water Tours. I was able to help with the planning and outreach, and I also had the opportunity to talk with people from different organizations and learn from them. At the end of my summer, I was able to plan more events – many of which were more challenging to plan, as we weren’t partnered with other organizations. To plan those types of events took a lot of traveling, calling and organization to make sure we were prepared. I liked planning the events because they posed a purpose to others and allowed them to learn about Discovery Farms, soil, and water. I can say that all my summer goals were successfully met, and I have grown as an individual because of this experience!

Savannah Williams photo

In this photo, I am taking a stream sample in one of the four streams in the Jersey Valley Watershed. The stream samples are taken and then sent to Madison where the lab tests for phosphorous and other nutrients.

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