By Courtney Beckel
One of my highest honors in my work with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council over the years has been the opportunity to provide mentorship for youth and interns in the beginning stages of their careers. Sometimes their ultimate goal is environmental conservation, but often it’s something completely different, like computer programming, mental health, or something undefined. I get a chance to introduce young people to the programs and systems at Johnson Creek and adapt as we get great ideas together along the way. Each intern we work with has the capacity to make the experience what they want, and they get out whatever they put in. Sometimes it’s an unexpected art project, a new google feature we can use to increase our efficiency, or a better way to track our metrics. I am so proud of all that our interns bring to Johnson Creek, and I love giving those reference calls that land them in positions in other nonprofits, government agencies, and private sector jobs as well.
This summer we hosted four interns, two through a program called Summerworks, hosted through the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization, or IRCO, and two through a program called Lents Youth Initiative through ROSE CDC.
My most memorable highlights of the year were bringing my interns on as many field trips as we could! We spent an afternoon checking out Errol Heights park and testing water quality with our AmeriCorps member, Jack, learning about what specific characteristics of water salmon need to survive. We took a tour of our recent restoration project at Mitchell Creek with our Restoration Project Manager Chuck, and learned about methods to restore damaged creek segments to better support wildlife. We spent an afternoon doing a dragonfly survey in Westmoreland Park with JCWC’s volunteer dragonfly surveyors. And finally, we all worked together to make the 12th annual Johnson Creek Clean-Up a great day for all 150 volunteers who participated. Here are a few photos of the summer-many thanks to all the laughs, the growth, and the hard work from Fatima, Jessica, NiNi and Yanling.