women in kayak on stormwater pond talking to people onshore

Soil and Water Summer Experience – Mariya Petrova

The Soil and Water Sciences Department is offering students the chance to blog about their summer experience. The students enrolled in one of three courses over the summer, for which they received credit: SWS 4905-Individual Work, SWS 4911-Supervised Research in Soil and Water Science, and SWS 4941 Practical Work Experience. This is Mariya Petrova’s summer internship:

I am Mariya Petrova, an Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources major. I did my fieldwork in Lakewood Ranch, which is in southeastern Manatee County. My individual work was performed remotely with materials provided by my mentor and materials I obtained through research.

Woman in kayak on stormwater pond

Mariya Petrova paddles across a stormwater pond in Lakewood Ranch, FL. (photo by Don Adkins, Manatee County Government)

Field and Office Work

With the help of my mentor, I developed Best Management Practices (BMPs) for buffer zones around stormwater ponds. I designed and created a poster promoting Florida-friendly plants around the ponds. I assisted in taking measurements such as electric conductivity, temperature, dissolved solids and turbidity at locations in Lakewood Ranch. We interviewed a professional engineer with the Southwest Florida Water Management District to learn more about stormwater ponds’ permitting and regulations.

Foundational Knowledge

Although I have not taken a horticulture class yet, after this experience, I am able to name quite a few Florida-friendly plants, even by their Latin names. I gained a thorough understanding of a stormwater pond’s functions and limitations. I met with fellow students, faculty members, and Extension agents as a way of initiating networking in the environmental field.

Coincidently, I took Research and Business Writing in Agricultural and Life Sciences (AEC3033C) during the summer. This helped me tremendously in designing and writing the document, as did the Manatee Extension agent’s help. Other classes that helped me put it all into perspective are Introduction to Soils in the Environment (SWS3022) and Agriculture and Environmental Quality (ALS3133).

Among the many interesting things I experienced over the summer were the wildlife encounters. A young gator was “helping me” take measurements in one of the ponds. Too bad the drone scared it away and it did not make it into the picture.