Skidmore Compost Science Intern

Location: Skidmore College
Dates: Spring Semester 2013, approximately 6-10 hours/week

Description:
The internship requires 6-10 hours per week, based at Skidmore College. Primary responsibilities of the intern will be to work with Sustainable Skidmore and the Composting Group of EAC to improve the current composting process in the North Woods Apartment Village. The apartment compost initiative began in Spring 2011 as a student internship project in Sustainable Skidmore and sponsored by Environmental Studies. The Environmental Action Club then took it over in the following semesters, and as of Fall 2012, Compost Managers are hired by Sustainable Skidmore to carry out the labor related to the composting process. This includes distribution of buckets to residents, education and outreach, volunteer management, picking up the food scraps weekly from the apartments using the bikes and bike trailers, picking up coffee grounds from the Dining Hall to include in the compost, turning the compost piles and adding carbon sources, and cleaning and returning the buckets. The process has worked well in getting initiating this project on campus, but the science behind composting is complex and when understood and used as a tool in making management and process decisions, it can ultimately help create a higher quality compost for the Skidmore Student Garden. We would therefore like to have a science intern that would assist us in collecting data from our compost piles, researching existing composting processes and practices and studies, and ultimately recommending improved processes for the compost piles.

Duties:
• Attend the weekly composting pickup and turning of the piles with students and Sustainable Skidmore in order to understand the currently process and have a baseline for moving forward
• Research related soil and composting science that would be relevant to making recommendations for improved compost
• Research materials and studies related to composting
• Carry out data collection and analysis in the piles to gather information about temperature, microbial activity, aeration, nitrogen/carbon ratios, and moisture content. Measure this over time and implement changes to understand how it can change when factors about the pile are changed.
• Produce a final report with recommendations on how a change in process or recipe could enhance the process and produce a higher quality compost.

Requirements:
• Coursework in Biology, Soil Science, Environmental Science, etc.
• Self-starter
• Submission of interest letter, resume, and references.

Please send materials to Levi Rogers at lrogers@skidmore.edu

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