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ES Student Profile
Nina Martin '04
Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Summer 2003 Camargue, France
Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Summer 2003
As a finish to my study abroad in France, I took an internship at the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat in the South of France. This biological station is located in the Camargue, a large wetland preserve and national park in Provence, in between Arles and Nimes.
The Camargue extends over an area of 145,300 hectares and is the home to a plethora of species including flamingoes, wild boars, wild horses and bulls, stalks, etc. It is located in a humid zone that attracts these species, tourists, and of course, mosquitoes.
This brings me to my topic of research for the internship: the mosquito control system of France. I did a comparative analysis of the state mosquito control systems of Massachusetts and France--having already completed a study on MA mosquito control the previous summer. The research focused on the differences in mosquito control organization (laws, methods, citizen participation, appropriations...) based on the objectives of the area (fear of disease, tourism, resident comfort, etc).
Toxics Action Center, Summer 2002
Thanks to the Mellon Stipend, I was able to work over the summer at Toxics Action Center in Boston, MA. This non-profit organization works to ameliorize the environment by empowering citizens to fight against the use of toxic pollutants in their neighborhoods, schools or other public locations. Being a small organization, I was more of a regular employee than an intern. I researched and wrote a fifty page dissertation on the Massachusetts' state nuisance mosquito control system. Through my research, which included interviews with state Department of Food and Agriculture and state Mosquito Control officials, correspondance with local government officials in nearly all of MA's cities and towns, and other primary and secondary sources, I uncovered that the current state nuisance control system that allows the spraying of pesticides and the altering of wetland habitats is dangerous, ineffective, and outdated. Nuisance control refers to methods used to eradicate mosquito populations not because they are a public health threat, but because they are a nuisance that impairs the enjoyment of the outdoors. My dissertation calls for an elimination of mosquito control activities for nuisance control reasons and for all mosquito control activities to be determined by the Department of Public Health, not the Department of of Food and Agriculture. Moreover, there should be in increase in funding for research into safter and more natural methods of preventing pest/disease outbreak. This work is in the process of being published and will be released and accompanied by a press conference in the spring in order to change the current state system.