Northland College junior Max Beal is the first recipient of the Parker Matzinger Internships of Impact Award. Beal was awarded $2,000 for a six-week internship managing and conducting camera trap research on terrestrial wildlife in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula.
Parker Matzinger was a 2016 graduate of Northland College who double-majored in biology and natural resources and tracked wildlife in Costa Rica. He died last year of natural causes, doing field research in Panama.
His family and friends funded this internship as a way to honor his memory.
Beal is majoring in water science with an emphasis in water resources. He arrived at Northland College with a strong interest in natural resources and wildlife— but being near Lake Superior, “I found the interactions between lakes, rivers, and the surrounding landscape fascinating,” he said.
Like Matzinger, Beal has interned with Natural Resources Professor Erik Olson, who is managing the Costa Rica internship, worked on Isle Royale dragonfly research for the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation, and helped with aquatic plant surveys in the Chippewa Flowage.
Olson and Matzinger started the Costa Rica project in 2015. “I am grateful to the Matzingers for their efforts to further inspire students to achieve their dreams—something Parker embraced naturally,” Olson said.
Beal left this week for Costa Rica to set and monitor camera traps in Costa Rica for the next six weeks to obtain better population numbers of jaguars and pumas.
Once Beal returns from Costa Rica in June, he’ll also be working as a research associate with the Burke Center, writing a scientific paper on the Chippewa Flowage aquatic plant surveys (how targeted water-level drawdowns have impacted Eurasian watermilfoil) and training other students in the dragonfly research.
“We are extremely pleased with the selection of Max for this award allowing him to continue the Costa Rica research that our son started along with Professor Olson,” said Jim and Betsy Matzinger. “We thank Northland College and all the friends and family who donated to make this internship award possible.
Matzinger was posthumously awarded the Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2017.