DCIP Spotlight: Monitoring Water Quality with Guido Shutz

During Summer 2017, CTNC hired 19 interns for full-time, 10-week, paid internships through the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program (DCIP) to provide hands-on opportunities for students to gain the skills and experience necessary for a successful career in conservation. The program aims to increase racial and ethnic diversity within conservation organizations and engagement with groups underrepresented in conservation careers. Meet Guido Shutz, a 2017 intern with the Mainspring Conservation Trust.

Guido Shutz didn’t know what to expect on the first day of his internship. Like many people on the first day of a new job, Guido felt nervous about what his summer would hold. That feeling quickly dissipated when he walked into the Mainspring Conservation Trust office.

“The staff was so nice and welcoming, and I knew I had come to work in the right place after the first day. I got into a good daily work flow and continued to learn more about the work that my organization does for conservation every day.”

Guido spent his summer with Mainspring Conservation Trust, located in Franklin, NC, as their Aquatic Biomonitoring Intern. Guido surveyed local rivers and monitored the fish species present to assess water quality. He also used GIS data to keep maps of Mainspring’s protected properties up to date.

Recently, we had the opportunity to join Guido on one of his field days on the lower Cullasaja river. After donning a pair of hip waders, Guido grabbed a net and followed carefully after Bill—a world renowned biomonitoring expert—who stood in the water with a fish shocker.

The crew monitors a few feet of the river at a time, collecting the stunned fish in a plain bucket. After the shocker is turned off, they sit on the bank with Bill fetching fish out of the bucket and shouting species names, while Guido takes diligent notes and counts the number of each species they find. At the end of this four-hour process, Mainspring constructs a report about the water quality using the river’s appearance and the species data.

“With so much development going on in the world, I think it is very important to have organizations and people who see the value in conservation and the natural world so we can preserve it for ourselves as well as future generations.”

Guido has always had an affinity for conservation, choosing to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies at Elon University with a minor in Business Administration. Through DCIP, he has gained the knowledge of what a future career in the environmental field could entail.

He advises anyone considering applying to the DCIP internship program to “put passion into your work, sometimes it will be long and hard but you must persevere because when you complete the program you will be very proud of yourself for all the hard work you did and how much you learned.”

CTNC and our partners are proud to cultivate and provide support to our future conservation leaders. We can’t wait to see how Guido and the rest of the 2017 Diversity in Conservation Internship Program participants continue to advocate for conservation and work to save the places you love across North Carolina!

About CTNC’s Emerging Leaders Program

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Emerging Leaders Program helps connect young people to the outdoors where they can establish a lifelong appreciation for the natural world and an understanding of the critical benefits that land and water conservation provides. Through the Diversity in Conservation Internship ProgramCTNC AmeriCorpsNC Youth Conservation Corps, and Future Leaders of Conservation advisory board, CTNC creates employment pathways by connecting young people to academic studies and careers in conservation. Learn more at www.ctnc.org/connect/emergingleaders.