MPC Intern: Henry Zietlow

by Henry Zietlow, Intern, Mississippi Park Connection

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My name is Henry Zietlow and I am spending the month of May working as an intern with Mississippi Park Connection. As a senior at St. Paul Academy, I have the opportunity to spend the month of May at an internship of my choice as a part of my Senior Project. Ever since I moved to Minnesota in Kindergarten, I have loved the Mississippi and the multitude of parks alongside the river. In fact, one of my most vivid memories from my early childhood was driving across the Highway 5 Bridge and seeing the river for the very first time. I was taken aback by both the wide and beautiful river as well as the lush forested gorge on both sides. Ever since then, I have loved going to all of the parks along the river with my family. Because of how many positive memories I have including the river, I really wanted to be able to spend my project doing something related to the Mississippi. I was very excited to get the opportunity to spend the month of May working with the park connection because it gave me an opportunity to learn more about the river while simultaneously engaging constructively with efforts to preserve the forests and ecosystems along the river.

So far, I have been doing all sorts of work with the park connection, from planting in gravel beds to going to habitat restoration events to doing administrative work around the office. One of the highlights of my first week with the park connection was helping in planting over 1000 trees between two gravel bed projects and a larger planting with Xcel energy at Crosby farm. I also was able to come along on a visit to Pike Island, where we took 360-degree videos to create interactive visuals that showed the differences between healthy and unhealthy floodplains, as well as the catastrophic effects caused by the emerald ash borer. This experience taught me a lot about just how harmful the emerald ash borer can be, and really emphasized the importance of actively working to maintain healthy forests.

Even though I have only been with the park connection for one week, I have already learned a lot about the issues facing the river through all of the different events that I have been able to attend. I am excited to keep helping with the restoration of the river, and I cannot wait to keep seeing more of the river and learning more about its ecosystems.