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Brenden Smith PhotoBrendon Smith
G.I.S. Invasive Species Surveyor
Fort Drum Public Works, Natural Resources
Bldg. 4848, First Street West, Fort Drum, NY 13602

Personal Experience: From the day I started the staff at the environmental branch, were both nice and highly motivated/educated in their work even when an intern that’s new to the field came along.  was one special staff member that every day for three weeks, I had the chance to chat with. He was the hydrogeologist in the branch and was quite old to be honest but worked harder than anyone in the branch and truly was devoted to his work with culverts in the area. I truly was motivated by him because of how he told me a different story of his past and gave me an accidental lecture on culverts every day. I myself did not have a good experience with culverts, because of how one morning after a discussion with the hydrogeologist, I went out into the field and in the middle of a forest adventure, I was walking across a log in a stream and accidently slipped into the stream when observing the scene. I came back to discuss my day and everyone had their own laugh about my morning. Over the course of my experience I learned valuable skills ranging from carefully walking through thick forests to everyday gps equipment operation which helps to show of to what I could do in the environmental field in future years after college.

Organization: The Natural Resources branch of the Fort Drum Public Works is an organization built to keep track and put towards efforts to improve the environment within Fort Drum. They have many staff including a biologist named Crystal, a hydrogeologist named Scott, an invasive species treatment personnel named Travis and of course the Chief Jason. These people and much more make up the natural resources branch and they all are hardworking, educated, and motivated individuals. They not only helped me take in an amazing experience for a first-time internship but also educated me of basic and complicated environmental issues. Many of which I learned firsthand in the field but also through wandering around with the individuals.

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Contact Person for Organization: Chief of the Branch, Jason Wagner -

About the Internship:

  • Operated a motor vehicle to travel around and/or walk to designated points to collect data on whether an invasive species is there and currently infested there.
  • Will require you to walk a good distance at times through thick or clear forests to get to points. May even travel through swamp like areas.  


  • Have a valid driver’s license to operate work vehicles to get to designated areas.
  • Requires good navigational skills and apt for learning a new area fast.
  • Ability to operate gps equipment, can give on site training if needed.
  • Requires communication skills to ask questions on subjects where other workers may specialize and to efficiently talk to other coworkers without dismay.

 A typical day is basically walking through wooded areas to find invasive species, can be long and hot days requiring transportable water. Usually 6 to 8-hour days. Mainly walking intensive but may involve transportation to and from designated areas where data is needed to be taken.

As of 2019, the internship is unpaid.