Wow! After Day 1 at the Project WET Foundation, I am even more excited for this summer. The day kicked off with introductions to the Project WET team and a great conversation with my internship supervisor Dennis Nelson, the President and CEO. He has many ideas for projects to work on throughout my time with the Foundation this summer that deal with topics ranging from research questions and publications to digitalization and funding. A later meeting with the rest of the Project WET team in the office expanded upon Dennis’s ideas. As I move forward and begin working on specific projects, I will write in more detail about each of them.
My experience this summer will also tie nicely back to my undergraduate thesis—“Our Natural Family: A study of young children and how we connect with nature.”—which focused on early childhood environmental education. My thesis topic reflects my interest in the interface between natural science and human interactions with nature. Project WET’s emphasis on combining science method with water education provides a great opportunity to expand on my interests. The Foundation’s publications and workshops go beyond telling about water and water processes to provide tools that participators can use to learn through experience. Instead of simply defining groundwater, for instance, Project WET has a Battleship-like game where players blindly drill until they are able to locate and define a groundwater aquifer. Yes, I will be playing it at the first opportunity.
My first day concluded with a workshop on non-profit funding hosted by the Bozeman Public Library. Put on by the Foundation Center, the two-hour workshop was a tutorial on identifying grantmaking foundations whose funding objectives matching the objectives of your nonprofit. I had no idea how numerous and diverse nonprofit funding sources were! The Foundation Center’s online directory includes nine databases listing 2.4 million grants that date back to 2003. The idea is to provide access to the sources, amounts, fields, and locations of foundation grants on the premise that foundations’ giving will follow what they have given in the past.
Looking back on the day, there are a couple thoughts swirling around my mind:
- Project WET is incredibly dynamic, working on a wide range of projects. This summer will be an exercise in prioritization!
- I am grateful for Dennis and the rest of Project WET’s staff for welcoming me to the team for the summer. They emphasized making this summer as beneficial to my professional and intellectual development as possible in addition to contributing to Project WET$rsquo;s work.
- Already I have met many interesting and genuine people, and there will be so much opportunity for continuing to make connections throughout the summer.
- Project WET’s office is beautiful with amazing views of the Bridgers! What a blessing it is to be in Bozeman for the summer.