Hutton Fisheries scholar expands knowledge of aquatic careers through internship

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Hutton Fisheries scholar expands knowledge of aquatic careers through internship

Hutton Scholar Madi Taychert holding a brook trout as part of a fish survey during her time on the Ottawa National Forest.
Hutton Scholar Madi Taychert holding a brook trout as part of a fish survey during her time on the Ottawa National Forest. USDA Forest Service photo.

WISCONSIN – This summer the USDA Forest Service Eastern Region, in partnership with Discovery World, co-hosted Madi Taychert, an American Fisheries Society Hutton Junior fish biologist, for an intense 8-week internship.

The Hutton program aims to stimulate career interest in fisheries science and management among high school students from underrepresented groups. Hutton scholars are matched and mentored by a fisheries professional in their local area.

Madi’s internship included three phases: (1) sailing on the S/V Denis Sullivan schooner; (2) work on the Ottawa National Forest, and (3) work at Discovery World.   

On the S/V Denis Sullivan, Discovery World’s three-masted schooner, Madi assisted with all aspects of running a tall ship, as well as a ‘Certified Crew Member Summer Camp’ for middle school students, spending the night aboard the ship.

During a two-week assignment on the Ottawa National Forest in northern Michigan, Madi worked with the Forest Fisheries Biologist as well as fisheries field technicians. She participated in mussel monitoring and mussel presence surveys, stream habitat surveys, fish surveys using electrofishing techniques, fish sampling using gill nets, stream macroinvertebrate sampling, and non-native invasive plant treatments by snorkeling.

At Discovery World, Madi joined the aquarist team behind-the-scenes assisting staff in all aspects of daily care for exhibit animals, instructed visitors about Aquatic Invasive species at the AIS cart, and taught visitors about stingrays and lake sturgeon at the touch tanks.  

The Hutton Program had a profound effect on Madi, who stated, “I have definitely discovered some new interests, and I am already looking into internship/research opportunities in the environment for next summer, so this program has definitely helped me find some new interests and a possible career path. Overall, being involved with this program and the Forest Service was very enjoyable, and I’m glad I spent my summer with this program.”

With our national forests and grasslands being home to some of America’s cleanest, healthiest and most productive waterways, the Hutton program is a great opportunity to introduce youth to a career in fisheries. The program is open to eligible students in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Hutton Scholar Madi Taychert holding a sculpin on the Ottawa National Forest.
Hutton Scholar Madi Taychert holding a sculpin on the Ottawa National Forest. USDA Forest Service photo.