Intern Highlight Takeover: The Pole Sampler Pro, Ryder.

With a staff of three full time employees + a river that spans 280 miles, it is near impossible to get EVERYTHING we want accomplished. 

That’s why we are forever grateful for our interns. 


2018 Swim Guide Interns + Staff

Especially our summer Swim Guide interns. Not a second of their time goes unnoticed around here, but it’s not as easy for y’all to get to know these rockin’ people as it is for us—

So with that being said, let us introduce to you Ryder Andrews, our Lead Swim Guide Intern.

Getting ready to take a sample for the Big Canoe Creek Monitoring Project

Ryder is a rising Senior at Birmingham Southern College majoring in Urban Environmental Studies. He is the place kicker and punter for Birmingham Southern College’s Football team among being an avid outdoorsman. He has spent time interning with the Freshwater Land Trust removing invasive species.

Ryder loves watching & quoting the Office and working out… maybe to a fault, but he fits right in with us. 

Okay, so why are we braggin’ on Ryder, you ask? 

He is the the man behind Swim Guide! He is the person preparing all the samples for incubation on Thursday afternoons & then reading the results on Friday mornings so you can get the skinny before you dip.

A bit more about his role- 

He has processed & analyzed 426 samples… SO FAR.  His competitive attitude gets those samples in the incubator FAST without compromising any quality assurance, of course.

On top of Swim Guide lab work, he has been sampling for the Big Canoe Creek Monitoring project + he has even stepped in to sample the Central Route a few times. 

Between football workouts, lifeguarding & killin’ it as our Lead Intern, I was glad to sit down with Ryder for a few minutes to ask him some questions about his experience so far interning with us.


Ryder & Intern Brodie taking a short break from the lab

Q: What’s your favorite way to enjoy rivers? 

A: “I love to kayak & float.”

Q: What is your favorite snack while you’re sampling?

A: “APPLESAUCE. But also, goldfish, chocolate covered raisins & gatorade. Especially gatorade.”

Q: What is your favorite aspect of interning at Coosa Riverkeeper? 

A: “I like that I’m able to do a bit of everything. One day I might be in the lab, the next sampling, or I might inputting data into the database! Some days all three!” 

A pole sampler pro

Q: What do you find most surprising about our work? 

A: “I was super surprised to see how FAR y’all drive on both ends of the watershed to deliver water quality data to the public. Growing up near the Cahaba, I did not know how much land the Coosa covered.”

Q: What has the Coosa taught you?

A: “I don’t think I had a firm understanding of what a river system could be made up of. When I go water sampling, I’m at a lake, then I’m at a creek, then a smaller creek.. the Coosa taught me that a river can be a series of lakes. Before I interned here, I considered Logan Martin to be the river but now- I know.”

Q: Do you feel more integrated into the environmental community in Alabama after interning with us? 

A: “Yes! I have especially liked seeing what an environmental group is doing around my stomping grounds. I have also gotten to learn about the Cahaba River through the collaboration that the two groups have with each other. It’s been refreshing to see that there is an army of people protecting what I love.” 

Cahaba + Coosa Interns

This post was written by our Program Manager, Karli Riley. 


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