Story posted March 26, 2012
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship offers college graduates of "unusual promise" a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel -- in international settings new to them -- to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.
Teona Williams, Bowdoin College
A Search for Playtime: Understanding the Meaning of Nature Among Marginalized Groups
India, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Dominican Republic
My project seeks to travel to different regions in order to understand how different communities connect to nature. I will execute this project by working with different organizations to collect oral histories from community members tracing their relationship with nature. I will supplement these narratives by visiting various national parks in order to observe who has access to different natural spaces.
Teona's had a deep appreciation for nature and wildlife since her teenage years. She has lead canoe trips for high schoolers, taught nature classes and continues to lead groups at college through the Bowdoin Outing Club. These activities have helped her realize that not everyone has access to nature. Working with the Outing Club, the African American Society, and Environmental Studies program, she seeks to increase participation-diversity in natural spaces. Teona's Watson project is a continuation of a life long goal to help more people access nature, providing the same opportunities that have been so instrumental to her own development.
Bowdoin Campus News: Bowdoin's Latest Watson Fellow Teona Williams '12 to Take Global Nature Trek
Application video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V5rwbVeKYs
The Watson Fellowship is a one-year grant for independent study and travel outside the United States awarded to graduating college seniors nominated by participating institutions.