Park internship studied species mutualism

Raeley Maxwell, a Richfield resident and a wildlife resources management major at Hocking Technical College, completed an internship at Richfield Heritage Preserve this summer. Under the direction of RJRD Park Operation Chair Jeff DeLuca, Raeley studied species living in the abandoned swimming pool in the park.

She monitored the inhabitants’ activities at the pool over six weeks and discovered that a plenitude of green frogs, eastern red-spotted newts and spotted salamanders are contributing to the re-adaptation of the pool while sharing a mutualistic relationship. She observed that the variation in the life cycle of each species continues the variation of population in the wet area.

Raeley also worked on Saturdays with other volunteers and collaborated with Nicole Farley, the park’s social media manager, to record a safe-boating video at the upper lake. She said she appreciated the abundance of positivity in the park and that the volunteers’ dedication helped teach her how to be a dependable employee.

The former pool is cordoned off at this time, and the future of that area will be discussed during the strategic planning process. ∞

Photo: Raeley Maxwell served an internship at Richfield Heritage Preserve studying wetland inhabitants of an abondoned swimming pool. Photo submitted.