By Mary Penna/ECHO Intern Madeline Kelsey is a rising senior at Salisbury University in Maryland. Over the summer, though, she is based r...

Summer Research at ECHO

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By Mary Penna/ECHO Intern

Madeline Kelsey is a rising senior at Salisbury University in Maryland. Over the summer, though, she is based right here in Burlington, working with the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program with the University of Vermont. You just might see her around ECHO gathering information from visitors.

Madeline Kelsey speaks with ECHO guests. Photo: Mary Penna/ECHO

The goal of her research project is very much based on social science. Madeline is set to learn what the general public understands about the invasive species in Lake Champlain, and what people would like to learn more about these species. At the end of her 10-week program, Madeline will present her findings to the public, staff in the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources, and will discuss the results with ECHO.
               
To connect with the public, Madeline has been going onto the floor at ECHO with an informational game to engage children and informally talk about the issue, finding out what people already know about invasive species.

“Kids are blown away by the idea that there are ‘bad guys’ in the lake,” she said.

Last Sunday she surveyed 157 people with the help of her REU cohorts. The findings from her survey will help to answer research questions for both the Rube Lab and ECHO.

This tank will soon house Lake Champlain's invasive species. Photo: Mary Penna/ECHO
ECHO plans to utilize Madeline’s research while creating a new exhibit about invasive species, which is due to open this fall. Designing an exhibit with the consideration of what people already know and what the public will be interested in will help to create a more educational and more engaging experience. The information that she collects this summer will enhance the exhibit so that people will be able to understand why the invasive species are spreading, why it is an issue, the impacts the species have on Lake Champlain and other lakes, and how to prevent invasive species from spreading between lakes.

                
We will keep you up to date about more of Madeline’s research throughout the summer!


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