Brett Amy Thelen

BA, Literary & Cultural Studies, College of William and Mary

Brett ThelenPast field experiences: led interpretive programs on Cape Cod and in western Massachusetts; assisted with kettle pond water quality sampling and analysis at Cape Cod National Seashore; volunteered on various land conservation, water conservation, and environmental education projects as a member of AmeriCorps-Cape Cod

Thesis research:

Integrating Citizen Science and Ecosystem Monitoring at Cape Cod National Seashore

Local community members and park visitors have expressed strong interest in Cape Cod National Seashore’s estuarine restoration initiatives. My thesis project will expand on that interest by providing community members with the opportunity to conduct shellfish population monitoring in East Harbor, a restoring estuarine system in Truro, MA. Prior to engaging in data collection, I will provide volunteers with basic field training, including a brief introduction to estuarine and salt marsh ecology, a discussion of the reasons for and expected results of restoration, and hands-on practice of research tasks. Throughout the field season, I will also provide volunteers with the opportunity to evaluate the project and to make recommendations for improving the quality of the citizen science experience. In order to ensure the scientific validity of the resulting data, National Park Service ecologists will also play a role in the evaluation process. Ultimately, this project is intended to provide a model for developing and implementing effective citizen science programs throughout Massachusetts and at National Parks along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.