For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for the outdoors.
As a kid, my parents took my brothers and I camping every summer, taught us the importance of the outdoors, and urged us to spend every free moment outside. We spent long summer days exploring the small wooded area near our house, hunting for bugs, building forts, and crossing the river. Our little slice of woods felt like an expansive forest, and it’s where I fell in love with nature.
As I got older I began to understand our connections to the land on a deeper level and how humans have begun to affect the environment. By the time I started college in 2015, I decided to study Environmental Science. Since then I have been learning about natural resources, environmental education, and climate change.
This February I became part of the Climate Generation team as the Programs Support Intern.
My position was specifically focused on supporting two events: the Talk Climate Institute and the Summer Institute for Climate Change Education. My work for the events was largely behind the scenes, but seeing them come together and put into action was immensely fulfilling. Both events allowed me to witness climate change education in action.
At the Talk Climate Institute we broke down how to talk about climate change effectively. We held a Storytelling Slam where the attendees shared their personal climate stories. They were incredibly powerful, and everyone in the room listened with open ears and provided insightful feedback.
The Summer Institute offered a different, but equally as fulfilling experience. I was able to be involved in the early planning stages, forming the agenda, and seeing everything come together. The Summer Institute had over 50 educators learn together and share their different experiences with teaching climate change in their workplaces. It was fascinating to hear their stories and see what they were taking away from the Institute.
In addition to the Institutes, I was able to take part in a bit of youth programming, including attending the Youth Climate Justice Summit where I accompanied a few high school students visiting their elected officials to discuss climate issues. It was inspiring to see students taking action in their communities.
My time at Climate Generation went by quickly, but the knowledge I gained is long lasting.
This was my first experience working in a formal office and I am thankful for the professional experience. I was able to see what nonprofit work is like and understand the planning it takes to put on a major event.
As I prepare to enter my senior year at the University of Minnesota, I feel well equipped to take what I have learned at Climate Generation with me after I graduate. I am especially grateful to Megan, Jenna, and Kristen for their support throughout.