My name is Kate Grumbles, I am a senior Sociology major working at Blue Mountain Land Trust as a Community Fellow this year. I chose to apply for this position due to my interest in working to help connect the community with the outdoors and preserve our environment. I have been able to meet a lot of great people through this position and have learned about many different aspects of how nonprofits function. In the future, I hope to hold a similar position and draw on the experiences I have had this past year.
Blue Mountain Land Trust (BMLT) is a land conservation organization working to protect the Blue Mountain region of Southeastern Washington and Northeastern Oregon through conservation easements. Conservation is one pillar of BMLT’s work, but there are two other important pillars that help contribute to the mission of environmental stewardship: education and recreation. Education is the aspect of BMLT’s work that I have been most involved in.
Last semester, I spent most of my time helping to research and design a Master Naturalist course for BMLT to offer. This course would be an introductory level program for anyone in the community to learn more about their natural surroundings, including the flora and fauna, geology, natural and cultural history, and general skills about how to interact with the natural environment. I looked at how other similar Master Naturalist programs in the country run and helped generate ideas for what would work well in Walla Walla. This course will hopefully be available to the public in coming years.
This semester, I have been helping to create and design educational materials and programming for the Nature Kids program, another aspect of the education work that BMLT does. Most recently, I have been preparing materials for a series of family nature walks that will be offered this spring and next fall. The walks will be taking place at the Arthur G. Rempel Natural area and Bennington Lake respectively, so in order to get ideas for the materials my supervisor Alex and I spent one afternoon walking the trails. The photos are from both locations where the families will visit in the upcoming months. Both locations are open to the public and great places for a short walk or getaway into nature. Another exciting project I have been a part of is helping to select films for the upcoming Wild & Scenic Film Festival happening on April 3rd. The event is open to the public and the films will focus on environmental activism.
Experiences like Kate’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez