Mark Rooney '17
F&M Works Internship: Lancaster County Conservancy, LIVE Green
Mark Rooney, a sophomore whose passions center on government and environmental policy, is an F&M Works intern at the Lancaster County Conservancy. Even while touring F&M’s campus as a high school student, Mark was immediately drawn to the Ware Institute because of its unique internship opportunities like F&M Works. His goal was to integrate his mission for environmental conservation into a rewarding professional experience.
Mark reports to Fritz Schroeder, the Director of Urban Greening at the Conservancy. His internship supports the LIVE Green Initiative, which focuses on storm water mitigation in Lancaster City. Mark explained that all of Lancaster’s water drains into a combined sewer system, which is common in older urban locations. Even a light drizzle can overwhelm the sewer system because the rate of drainage is so inefficient. Although this problem might seem inconsequential, it actually has widespread negative effects; the flooding sends polluted water into the Conestoga and Susquehanna Rivers—and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.
In order to alleviate the flooding, the Conservancy has added a lot of green infrastructure in Lancaster City. Trees and other shrubbery naturally absorb some of the water to slow down the rate at which it enters the sewage system. To measure the effectiveness of this strategy for storm water mitigation, Mark collected research on the benefits of green infrastructure.
In October Mark and Fritz also installed a storm water planter box on Chestnut Street. The box includes a geotextile fabric under the soil that forces the water to drain gradually. With more installations, this initiative can have a huge impact on Lancaster’s storm water mitigation. As a result of this contribution, Mark reflected with enthusiasm, “I can walk down Chestnut Street and see what I have created based on my principles and values in action.”
In addition to this project, Mark helped organize an educational program called BioBlitz at Climbers Run Nature Preserve. This community event gave people the chance to learn about supporting and appreciating their local environment. To raise more awareness about environmental protection, Mark also distributed flyers for the city initiative SAVE IT, so he became very acquainted with urban Lancaster.
Because he has spent so much time in the city, Mark noticed, “One thing I’ve really enjoyed from my internship experience is being able to become invested in the Lancaster community. Lancaster is a beautiful, thriving community with a lot to offer, and being able to be an active member of the community is incredibly rewarding.” Mark’s internship has shown him the value of being more than just a bystander in community efforts. He is excited to be a part of the change that is happening in Lancaster through non-profit organizations, which aligns with the mission of the Ware Institute. Like other excellent interns in the F&M Works Program, Mark is learning about the best ways to make an impact on his community.
“One thing I’ve really enjoyed from my internship experience is being able to become invested in the Lancaster community. Lancaster is a beautiful, thriving community with a lot to offer, and being able to be an active member of the community is incredibly rewarding.”