Interning for the Nature Conservancy in Maine (TNC) Jonas Crimm '10 (Environmental Studies & Government and Legal Studies) split his time between preserve stewardship and environmental policy. He worked on TNC preserves around Maine - completing ecological monitoring surveys, planning and building trails, marking geocache waypoints and researching and creating corresponding geocache brochures. In the office, Jonas helped create TNC's platform for the federal transportation bill, as well as researched and wrote documents for legislators highlighting the economic and ecological benefits of the Land for Maine's Future program.
"Working for TNC, I split my time between stewardship and policy work, learning both from land managers and from lobbyists - an awesome combination and an interesting contrast. The experience has prompted me to think about the role of nonprofits in the environmental world and in the community at large, and has helped me think more clearly about where I might like to go after graduation."
Cory Elowe '11 (Biology & Environmental Studies) worked on the state funded Piping Plover and Least Tern Project with Maine Audubon. His work included exploring an effective outreach program for the project, which previously focused solely on the management of these endangered birds. This outreach furthered Maine Audubon's mission of conserving wildlife by engaging the public in education, conservation, and action.
"Throughout this internship I worked alongside seasonal biologists on the management of the birds while at the same time developing an outreach program. By testing outreach methods and developing them over the summer based on public responses, I was able to see what excited people and piqued their interests and concerns. This was exactly the kind of experience I had hoped to gain and it gave me a clear view of what kind of work I'd like to do in the future."
David Funk '10 (Environmental Studies & Government and Legal Studies) interned with the Town of Brunswick's Department of Planning and Development. He worked alongside the Natural Resource Planner and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to start a Volunteer River Monitoring Program in Brunswick. David also helped with the ongoing Vernal Pool survey and a variety of other projects. Equally notable was the role David played, with the help of Brooks Winner '10 and Thai Ha-Ngoc '10, in aiding Brunswick and Topsham with their baseline carbon emissions inventory.
"This fellowship has allowed me to gain a unique perspective on the practical interaction between local government and environmental issues. Working alongside DEP, municipal government, and citizen volunteers was extremely rewarding and enlightening. This summer internship has helped focus my academic interests."
Thai Ha-Ngoc '10 (Economics & Environmental Studies) worked with the Topsham Department of Planning and Development to address community growth issues. He collected municipal and community data on energy usage to create a baseline carbon emissions inventory that will be used to develop a climate action plan for Topsham. Thai also created a trail database using a GPS unit and GIS software to help identify points of interest, access, constraints, and land use for future planning purposes. He also organized vernal pool survey information to identify significant pools in an effort to protect important habitats through development restrictions.
"Through my fellowship, I was able to see and help with the processes addressing community growth and conservation issues. I have gained valuable skills in GIS and carbon emissions inventorying, which have increased my interest in helping develop sustainable, healthy communities. It was both exciting and rewarding to be able to apply the knowledge that I had learned as an Environmental Studies and Economics major in a real community setting."
Wesley Hartwell '11 (Environmental Studies & Government and Legal Studies) worked for the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) whose mission it is to conserve the natural, historic, scenic, cultural, and agricultural resources of the Kennebec Estuary. Working with the organization's staff and its many volunteers, Wesley served as a coordinator of and active participant in land stewardship activities, including several GPS to GIS mapmaking projects, trail construction and maintenance, and the creation of comprehensive management plans for two KELT preserves. His coordination and trail-building efforts culminated in the construction of new sections of the Whiskeag Trail, a collaborative project with the City of Bath establishing a 5-mile hiking and biking trail connecting major preserves.
"Both in the office and out in the field, I discovered the importance of local knowledge to successful preservation. I learned to tap and encourage the incredible volunteer spirit that allows a nonprofit to function and thrive. Actively engaged in the local process of land preservation, I often experienced and grappled with competing land use interests. Rising to the challenge of resolution was both educational and rewarding."
Katy Shaw '11 (Environmental Studies & History) worked with the Maine League of Conservation Voters (MCLV) and the Maine Conservation Voters Education Fund to make the protection of Maine's environment a political priority. She researched candidates for Maine's 2010 gubernatorial election, maintained the organization's website and collected information about event venues, caterers, and potential sponsors for MLCV's "Evening for the Environment." Katy created the 2009 version of MLCV's signature publication, the "Environmental Scorecard," which helps Maine citizens hold state legislators accountable for their votes on critical environmental issues.
"Throughout my work with the MLCV, I learned that Maine citizens, businesses, and politicians are all deeply committed to strong environmental protections of our woods, waters, and wildlife. When Maine's environmental community speaks with one voice, we can have a tremendous impact on state law. This internship has confirmed my interest in environmental politics, and I look forward to staying involved with this organization in the future."
The Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) is dedicated to the promotion and management of ecologically responsible recreation on more than 150 of Maine's coastal islands. Working closely with the Trail and Stewardship directors, Drew Trafton '10 (Environmental Studies & Romance Languages) developed a system to more effectively communicate with volunteer Island Adopters, allowing MITA to increase its stewardship capacity while fostering closer relations with its volunteers. He helped implement an assessment protocol that will provide valuable information about the impact of recreation on fragile island ecosystems. Drew assisted with outreach and education, as well as island visits and clean-ups.
"Working with MITA has provided enormous insight into the complexity and practicality of managing land for recreation use. I've learned the value of small victories - how dedication on the part of a few can lead to the betterment of the entire community. Most importantly, I've learned the value of real interaction between people - shaking hands and listening to stories. These interactions woven together are what truly create communities."
As an intern at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), Lindsey Warren-Shriner '10 (Environmental Studies & Government and Legal Studies) worked on a wide range of projects. She helped draft and administer a survey of clean energy businesses, completed a variety of independent research projects, and created a set of maps showing Maine businesses involved in renewable energy and energy efficiency. She also assisted NRCM's advocacy for national climate change legislation, by attending Maine Federal Climate Coalition meetings, doing research, and attending a climate advocacy training workshop.
"Through my internship with NRCM, I was able to apply what I have learned in the classroom to the organization's work on important environmental issues facing Maine. I gained a clearer understanding of the process behind environmental advocacy and policymaking, and the experience strengthened my interest in pursuing work in this field in the future."
Brooks Winner '10 (Environmental Studies & Spanish) worked with the Towns of Brunswick and Topsham to organize a senior capstone course on local climate action with Bowdoin Professor Camill. Building on his experience conducting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory in Bath last summer, Brooks worked with Psi U fellows David Funk and Thai Ha-Ngoc, guiding them through the process of gathering and organizing the information needed to calculate the energy use and emissions output of each community. Brooks also worked in the Sustainable Bowdoin office, writing various sections of the College's Climate Action Plan to be submitted to the American College and University President's Climate Commitment in September, further development of the Office Eco-Reps program, and designing a campus-wide energy conservation outreach program.
"My projects allowed me to build on the work that I did last summer while taking more of a leadership role. It's great to know that the work that I'm doing is creating positive change on campus and in the surrounding communities."