Lillian Fitzgerald ’25

Major

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Project Title

Farm Project Field Assistant

Presentation Link

View Lillian's Presentation

I investigated agricultural issues within New Jersey farms. My team and I focused on three main projects: the affect of different farming practices on agricultural productivity; how soil amendments affect a field’s health, thus impacting the microbiome and weight of cattle that graze upon it; and the mutualistic relationships between the traditional Lenape “Three Sisters” mounding method – when three plants are grown together in one mound – and relationships in the community. My co-interns and I collected data for these projects by setting up insect traps, measuring crop yields, and monitoring plants using Arable sensors and drone footage. We also took measurements of the height and species diversity of different fields over time, and collected and weighed cow manure from cattle that grazed on different fields. We partnered with the Turtle Clan of the Lenape Tribe and prepared land to plant corn, beans, and squash in the traditional Three Sisters mounding method in order to study their mutualistic interactions. I gained valuable knowledge and skills pertaining to ecological fieldwork, data collection, and statistical analysis. My enjoyment doing fieldwork has solidified my desire to pursue ecology in my academic study and to major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.



Internship Year

2022

Project Category

Sustainable Food Systems

Organization(s)

Rubenstein Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey

Mentor(s)

Daniel Rubenstein, Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Gina Talt, Food Systems Project Specialist, Office of Sustainability