Climate Change Internships Spring 2018

Student: Madeline Broom: Journalism major, Climate Change Studies minor 
For her internship, Maddie worked with Climate Smart Missoula as their photojournalist. She took photos of various events in the community and contributed photos for the Climate Smart’s Clean Air Cool Places interactive ESRI map, where she featured indoor and outdoor locations that people could go during extreme wildfire smoke events. She also took photos for an energy map, which featured solar and wind installations around town and their accessibility. Check out Maddie’s blog post.  

Students: Brett Kaplan, Grant Marshall, Kurt Swimley, and Nate Herbert
Brett, Grant, Kurt, and Nate were climate policy interns for Environment Montana doing research, writing, and outreach education advocating for climate programs. For the research and writing portion of the internship, they read and analyzed the Montana Climate Assessment and used the information found to communicate climate change to people throughout Missoula. They also used that information for blog posts and letters to the editor. For education and outreach, they primarily focused on grassroots organizing and talking to people in the Missoula community.  They had people sign petitions and pose with a climate change banner to show support of climate change programs.

Student: Casey Brandon, Environmental Studies major, Climate Change Studies minor.
Casey interned with ASUM Sustainability to help collect data for UM’s next STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) Report. This assessment helps the University of Montana become more sustainable by providing a framework to better its sustainability performance. In the 2017 report, UM scored a bronze (in lieu of silver, gold, or platinum). Through the work Casey did this semester, the University will score higher on the next report, signifying to prospective student that UM has a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Cassidy White, Biology and Environmental Studies major, Climate Change and Ecological Restoration minors
Cassidy’s internship with the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site turned out to be one of the most meaningful and personally valuable experiences of her college career. She was able to bring together her background in biology and environmental studies to work on a variety of projects that will have a lasting impact on a National Park unit. She wrote a six page plant field guide to be sold at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site (GRKO): two pages describe phenology and phenophases, two pages describe the phenology of bitterroot and crested wheatgrass, and two pages discuss the relationship between climate change and phenology and how they tie in to the history at Grant-Kohrs Ranch. The internship gave Cassidy the opportunity to build professional skills and gain experience in a field relevant to her future career.

Students: Charlotte Langer, Maren Carlson, Emi Okitsu, and Jess Raty
Charlotte, Maren, Emi, and Jess interned together at the UM Dining gardens. They planned and prepared gardens for growing food, and helped support the human and environmental health benefits of sustainable campus gardening. Specifically, they worked on prepping the gardens, pruning, seeding, growing microgreens, renovating the insulation in the greenhouse, and collecting compost from UM Dining operations around campus and delivering it to the PEAS Farm. They also helped to renovate the mason bee house. By encouraging mason bees to pollinate gardens, fields and orchards can help mitigate the effects of declining honey bee populations and ensure stable food production. Finally, they hosted a campus garden party to welcome the arrival of six new Welsh Harlequin ducklings.

Jackson Melin, Economics major, Climate Change Studies minor
For his internship with Free Cycles, Jackson applied his economics knowledge toward an analysis of who pays for the roads in Missoula, to address the question of if bikers and walkers pay their fair share of the road costs, and thus deserve a fair share of the road. By navigating the City of Missoula budget as well as the City's Long-Range Transportation Plan, he found that 82% of Missoula’s local revenue for roads comes from property taxes, not user fees (gas tax). He also found that cars do an estimated 160,000 times the damage to roads that a bike does, thus concluding that bikers and walkers generally do pay their fair share of road costs. Jackson also assisted in the FreeCycles community shop, helping visitors with their bikes, organizing gear, and working at community events.

Jennifer Kieffer, Environmental Studies; Spanish and Wilderness Studies minors
For her internship, Jennifer worked with Faith and Climate Action Montana, an interfaith organization focused on educating Missoula’s religious community about climate change. With them, she helped to plan The Time is Now Conference. This conference had two goals: educate attendees on the history and scientific background of climate change and equip them with the tools needed for effective communication on the subject. She helped to organize sessions, designed the conference poster, and led a discussion on the relationship between the church and the environment. She also ordered books for the campus ministry that relate to ecology and theology.

Meghan Kuhns, Geography major, Climate Change Studies major
Megan interned with the Defenders of Wildlife and MPG Ranch, both nonprofit organizations devoted to conservation of nature and wildlife. She worked on a multi-year citizen science project, organizing data for the Wolverine Watch project in the Bitterroot National Forest. She entered information into the database that included  data on station checks, volunteer participation, station timelines, camera issues, and genetic samples, as well as information about the photo evidence collected from station checks.

Mason Dow, Business major, Climate Change Studies minor
Mason interned with the Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA). MREA works closely with NorthWestern Energy and the Montana State legislature to advocate for clean energy on behalf of a cohort of business leaders, families and individuals who have a vested interest in renewable energy resources. During his internship, Mason  interviewed industry leaders, experts, and advocates surrounding topics that relate to clean energy and produced several content pieces for the MREA website and their monthly Energy Newsletter. These content pieces included profiling new and interesting renewable energy projects and promoting the annual clean energy fair.

Nathan Greeneisen, Fine Arts—Tech, major
During his internship with Free Cycles, Nathan helped out in the community bike shop and researched ecofriendly lighting strategies. Given the numerous community events Free Cycles puts on, Nathan was  charged with the task of determining the most sustainable way to light a show; one with sufficient power to light the stage, yet  less environmentally impactful. For Nathan, this internship project provided the chance to blend his interest in sustainability with his career goal of doing stage lighting for events. He also enjoyed the chance to work at Free Cycles, to meet new people working on their bikes, and discuss ways to make our community more sustainable.

Sydney Lang, Journalism major, Climate Change Studies minor
As an intern with Climate Smart Missoula, Sydney worked as a journalist for the organization. She did a lot of writing. She spent time going to different events organized by Climate Smart, taking notes and interviewing people, then producing a blog post. She wrote about  urban forests and trees for all, Missoula’s zero-waste plan, saving energy in the built environment, tracking energy use, reducing the use of plastics, and more. This internship gave Sydney the opportunity to gain journalism experience and learn about Missoula climate action.

Wendell Elliott, Physics Major, Environmental Studies minor
For his Climate Change Internship, Wendell worked with Home ReSource of Missoula. Home ReSource is a nonprofit building materials reuse center that prevents usable materials from going to the landfill, provides jobs, stimulates the local economy, and, by reducing the demand for new building materials, cuts down on carbon emissions and other ecological impacts. Wendell worked at intake and, under the supervision of Jeremy Drake to research carbon offsets, created a video about the carbon footprint of manufactured materials, and demonstrated how Home ReSource acts as a mitigator. He was exposed to a wonderful group of people working hard to create a more sustainable future.

Violet Plummer, Political Science major, Climate Change Studies minor
Violet’s internship with the Montana Conservation Voters enabled her to combine her passions of policy, conservation, and nonprofit work, while also learning a great deal.  She started with simple tasks to support community outreach, education, and involvement: phonebanking, canvassing, getting letters for elected officials from citizens voicing their concerns on environmental issues, and writing letters to the editor for various Montana newspapers about pressing environmental issues. She then moved on to organizing events, one being a documentary screening of Chasing Coral paired with a discussion of the importance of taking action.