This time last year, I found myself fresh out of college. I was eager to join the environmental work field, but I was worried I would have to say, “sayonara” to the degree I had just earned and, “hello” to making endless copies and coffee runs. When I received my acceptance to work as an AmeriCorps member with The Watershed Project in August, I could only imagine how my year of service would allow me to take my degree to the next level.
As an environmental education intern, I was immersed in teaching curriculum that ranged from creeks and pollution, to marshes and native oyster restoration. The Watershed Project’s creative environmental K-12 curriculum strengthened my teaching skills while also expanding my overall knowledge and understanding of environmental concepts. The Watershed Project’s education programming helped me get my feet wet, figuratively and literally! When I wasn’t teaching in the classroom, I was tromping around Tomales Bay with high schoolers and exploring marshes with elementary school students. But more importantly, I was also given the chance to connect with and learn from many students who came from unique and diverse backgrounds.
The culture at The Watershed Project is about inspiring communities to appreciate their local environment through valuable experiences, like large outreach events. Coordinating and participating in Coastal Cleanup Day, Earth Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service allowed me to share my passion for environmental stewardship with community members, and provide them with a glimpse of how I am hoping to restore the natural wonder of the San Francisco Bay one family and community at a time.
As I reflect on this past year, a comment comes back to me that was made during my AmeriCorps orientation. It was said that our year of service would significantly impact our lives in ways we couldn’t even imagine yet. Interning with The Watershed Project was just that and will always be a place that provided me with a strong set of skills, while opening my eyes to many inspirational communities and people. Everyone deserves the chance to be exposed to the beauty our planet has to offer and the chance to feel empowered to protect it. Interning at The Watershed Project gave me the opportunity to help make this chance possible for communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.