Environmental Science Intern: Caitlyn Simon
Caitlyn Simon is an Environmental Science Intern for Freshkills Park. She was born and raised in NYC and lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn when she is not attending Amherst College in Massachusetts. She is a rising senior double-majoring in Environmental Studies and Geology.
What are you working on?
I am conducting fieldwork in the park for several different research projects, including grassland habitat studies, water monitoring, and fish monitoring. I am also writing up a proposal for an independent research project about monitoring noise levels throughout the park and creating a sound map based on the data. All of this research is really interesting because of the nature of the park; since it is built on a capped landfill, it is an incredibly unique environment that not many others have had the opportunity to study in depth. Hopefully this research will give us more insight into how this environment compares to other more traditional parks and natural areas.
What drew you to Freshkills Park?
In a world where so many natural areas are getting taken over and degraded by human activity, Freshkills is an example of the opposite; taking something that was once horrible for the environment and restoring it to a healthy, more natural ecosystem. I wanted to learn more about how this whole process of land reclamation works and was excited to have the chance to be part of an innovative solution to environmental degradation.
What is your favorite topic surrounding Freshkills Park and why?
Right now, I am fascinated by the Grasshopper Sparrows. These birds have a “Special Concern” status in New York State since they reside in grassland habitats, which are decreasing state-wide as development increases. Since Freshkills has large grassland areas, the sparrows can be found there, but for some reason they are only found on the East Mound. We don’t know exactly why that is, but we’re conducting research to try and find out why they favor this section over the others.
What is your favorite color?
I love all the shades of sky blue.