From our view- Lents Youth Initiative internships with Johnson Creek

My internship with Johnson Creek by Liana Kucher

Going into this year’s summer internship, I was not expecting it to have such a large impact on me. Working with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council was truly a great experience, and one I’ll never forget. I got to get closer to the community, learned the true meaning of environmental justice, learned more about plants, ways of how one individual can greatly help the environment and many other things. This internship was very helpful and I will use many skills I’ve learned in the future.

The Johnson Creek Watershed Council made me realize that many people want to be involved in the community and want help out. It made me smile to see people express so much joy and excitement when they talked about their commitment to helping the environment. On the first day, I was pretty nervous. I was greeted with a very inviting and welcoming Mentor, Courtney.  She helped and guided us throughout the whole internship. Throughout the internship we did many volunteer Outreach.  I did social media outreach and contacted others about our t-shirt art contest. This also helped me get closer to the Portland Art community. I also researched local businesses, youth groups, churches, communities, etc. We weeded and mulched at the Lents nature patch, assembled the captain packets for the litter clean up, and held a booth at the Farmers Market  for volunteer outreach. Looking back, I am happy I was able to be part of the council for a bit. I had a really great time with all the activities and I felt so great about helping the community.

This internship also helped me get ready for the real world and future jobs/careers. It helped me with multitasking, scheduling, communicating, being flexible, setting time aside for my internship, etc. It helped me feel less nervous about talking to other people, especially strangers. Since I made many phone calls and talked to strangers about the council, it helped me feel more comfortable to talk to others. One memory I remember well is when we went to the Johnson Creek Council Office and we had to stuff letters to send out to the people living near the creek. It was a very fun time, where we stuffed letters, jammed to music and just talked for multiple hours. I got to know a lot more about my mentor and my intern. Overall, my experience with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council will always have a little place in my heart.  I felt like everyone in the community was connected and we all have our part to do to help out. 

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My internship with Johnson Creek by Dima Betros

The environmental stewardship program for the Johnson Creek Watershed was both a rewarding and challenging learning experience with an environmentally beneficial goal of cleaning Johnson Creek. It gave a good taste of what working with businesses and outreach is really about; both the frustrations and excitement that go with it. I got to see parts of Portland that I have never seen before, did administrative work, participated in the Woodstock farmers market, and did field work which helped me learn about plants.

Before we did outreach for volunteers for the clean up, we did outreach for artists. Every year, we host an art contest and the winner’s drawing ends up on the t-shirt the volunteers wear while cleaning up, allowing others to enjoy the work of the artists in our community. We were worried because we weren’t getting many art submissions at the start, but by the end we had so many amazing pieces to have the community vote on, it was very difficult to choose. 

Winner of the contest and cutest drawing:

Out of all of the things we did for outreach, the local Woodstock farmers market was my favorite. I was surprised to see how many people were genuinely interested in helping restore Johnson Creek. It was encouraging to see people’s faces light up when asked if they would like to volunteer to clean up compared to hearing businesses outgoing messages and getting hung up on. It was a breath of fresh air to work in person with my preceptor Courtney and fellow intern Liana. Due to the pandemic we had been doing remote work up until that point, so this farmers market was a welcome change and helped me get closer to Courtney and Liana as it was my first time meeting them in person. The second time having a booth at the farmers market was even more exciting because of the salmon obstacle course we made for the kids. I was also surprised to see how many kids loved doing it and learning about a salmon’s life cycle. 

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the community and help restore it!

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