Woodbine resident easily slides into study of reptiles, amphibians


January 11, 2001|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LACEY CONRAD of Woodbine is one of those interesting people who loves to work with frogs and lizards. Last summer, she served as an intern at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Conrad, 20, enjoys herpetology - the study of reptiles and amphibians. During her college internship, she spent her days in the rainforest on herpetological activities: feeding frogs, lizards and snakes, and cleaning their habitats.

On a typical day, Conrad started her work by cleaning the Hidden Life exhibits and feeding fruit flies and crickets to the poison-dart frogs. The Hidden Life exhibits show frogs, toads, snakes and lizards in small, easy-to-see displays.

Then Conrad served lunch to the iguanas. Each iguana eats exactly 300 grams of leafy greens, carrots and grapes, so portions had to be carefully measured.

Next, she spent two to three hours watering the lizards. Every lizard has to be misted for 15 to 20 minutes. She finished her day with activities such as looking for tadpoles and eggs in the frog-breeding program.

Sandy Barnett, senior herpetologist at the aquarium, was Conrad's supervisor. "We try to make it a real learning experience for [the interns]," Barnett said. "It's good to have the experience working with a lot of different animal groups. [Herpetology] is not a field that you would expect a lot of people around here to go into."

Not everyone who interns at the rain forest will end up working as an herpetologist, Barnett said. Some interns just want to experience a new field of study. An intern might be majoring in a related field, such as veterinary science, or studying law.

Conrad applied for the position in February. The process involved an application and a telephone interview.

"I'm looking for people who are eager to learn," Barnett said. Only one or two interns are accepted for each of the four intern periods that the aquarium offers.

"Lacey was endlessly enthusiastic, always asking questions, always ready and eager to do the next thing," Barnett said.

Conrad interned at the National Aquarium from June 1 to Aug. 12, working Tuesdays and Fridays to earn two college credits toward her zoology major at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

It wasn't her first experience as an intern. In her senior year at Glenelg High School, Conrad worked at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo in Thurmont to see if she wanted to pursue a career in zoology.

She enjoyed working with the lizards and frogs. "It really helped me learn that I do want to work with frogs," she said.

Conrad, a sophomore, is working at the university as a research assistant in snake ecology. She also works at a kennel, feeding dogs and cleaning up after them. And she works one day a week with a woman who breeds Brazilian short-tailed opossums, which, according to Conrad, are "really cool pets."

Barnett said interning is invaluable. "It gets your foot in the door, because it gives you some experience," she said.

Conrad agrees. "Everyone should do an internship because it gives you a feeling for your career," she said.

River Hill's musicians

River Hill High School musicians are busy this time of year. The Jazz Ensemble will present a jazz concert at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 in the school auditorium. Admission is a $5. Information: Steve Wampler, 410-313-6927 or 410-313-7120.

At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, you can hear rock and alternative bands, jazz bands and bluegrass at the school's third RHHStival 2001. Bands made up of high school students from throughout Howard County will perform in the River Hill High School auditorium.

Admission is $5 at the door. Information: Bruce Montgomery, 410-531-6840.

The popular Mad Jazz will be presented for the fifth year Feb. 2 in the school cafeteria. This is an evening of treats to eat and music to enjoy. Hear musical selections by the Jazz Ensemble, Madrigal Singers, Divas, River Hillbillies, Barbershop Quartet and other small ensembles.

Desserts, fruits, cheeses, crackers and beverages will be served. Admission is $5 with a $20 maximum for a family of four or more. Reservations are requested by Jan. 29. Information: Pam Bernard, 301-725-8644.

You can help support the music department by ordering Florida citrus fruit. Order by Wednesday for pickup Jan. 27.

To order: Contact a music student or Pam Griesbach, 301-596-9055.

You might also consider becoming a music patron for the department by making a direct donation to the Music Boosters. The group pays many department expenses during the school year. Patrons receive free admission to the winter and spring concerts and are recognized in concert programs.

Information: Kathy Bonebreak, 410-531-5430, or Sue Zimmerman, 301-854-0050.

As another fund-raiser, music department students are selling cold-cut and turkey subs to raise money for a spring trip to Virginia Beach, Va. The 12-inch subs come ready to eat for $5. They will be delivered to your home Jan. 27, in time for Super Bowl Sunday.

To order, contact a music student by Wednesday, or call Kathy Adler, 301-854-2896.

Top scorer

Shengping "Shelby" Yu, a junior at River Hill High School, scored a perfect 1600 on the SAT exam administered in October.

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