I've been working part time since late February with Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program. As I balance completing my undergraduate degree with this fellowship, I have met a lot of new people who have opened my eyes to how every kind of discipline can contribute in significant ways to making designated rivers in the US more accessible and beautiful. I've met specialists and experts who are connecting the river and its communities on different vital projects. I've found it really rewarding to work in community with members along the Lower Delaware River and the White Clay Watershed; It is so heartwarming to see how community members are so invested in their area waterways. These interactions are an active way for me to apply what I’ve learned in college as an ES major to the real world. Many of my courses have focused on the doom of Climate Change and less on solution-based action to reverse it. Working with PWSR has broadened my view of what’s possible and what people on the ground are doing to make the earth healthier and cleaner day by day.
One of the projects that I've been learning about and soon will help to actualize, is making another stretch of the Delaware River a designated protected area under PWSR. I find this really exciting because when a waterway is designated, the water is protected under federal law, thus making it safe for recreational use and restoring its wildlife habitat. Another project that will soon be underway is a stormwater/green infrastructure project in Avondale, PA. some of the community members live in a food apartheid area and also face flooding due to poor stormwater infrastructure. Our plan is to create a community garden that provides a source of food, while also providing a space for water to soak into the earth instead of collecting and flooding over impervious surfaces.
I am working remotely, but was able to travel to the Philadelphia, PA office and the Springfield, MA office to meet some of my coworkers in person. In June, I will transition to full time and in July I move to Philadelphia. I am so excited to soon be able to work in person and experience that new environment. NPS also offers multiple pathways for people in different departments to meet and network. I've had the pleasure of joining a Solidarity Group which is a space where people can come together and discuss current events. I'm grateful for this resource group because it's helpful to get to know other people who are doing different yet connected work.