|Report from Paula Becker
Natural Heritage Program
Wildlife and Heritage Service
Classes, homework, a part-time job as a waitress and carry-out person, these are all typical components of a high school senior's life. Sarah Majerowicz added one more: volunteering.
For almost a year, Sarah donated her time to the Wildlife and Heritage Service's Natural Heritage Program, working with Invertebrate Ecologist Jennifer Frye. Devoting one afternoon a week during school and a full day a week during the summer break, Sarah revamped the 25-year-old insect collection, sorting through thousands of insects, culling the broken, damaged or unlabeled specimens.
She ordered the remaining collection by taxonomic family,
re-labeling those specimens that needed it and making available many
individuals for donation to other collections, like the
Smithsonian's. Plus, a large majority of the specimens are now
entered into a master database, thanks to her dedication.
Since bees are collected using a wet medium, which mats their diagnostic abdominal hairs, they must first be dried using, yes, a hair dryer, before they can be accurately identified. Sarah spent hours blow drying bees.
that was done, she pinned and labeled the bees and ants
(which are very fragile and take some skill to prepare). She also
began learning how to identify many of the bees using an online
dichotomous key. Sara also entered information on this new
collection into the database.
Sarah hopes to return to MD DNR on her summer break.
DNR Volunteer Spotlight Archives