Education Intern spotlight

Three years ago I had the opportunity to attend a mission trip in Cerro Alto, Guatemala. During the trip we shared a bus with a team of women who were working in local communities installing water filters. After learning how one small filter could provide an entire community with clean water for generations I decided I wanted to work with water conservation just like these women were doing. My name is Franchesca Bodnar, I am a Lakewoodite attending Loyola University in Chicago. I’m majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in photography and am president of the Sierra Club Loyola chapter at my school.

Growing up on Lake Erie and being a part of a boating family, my parents have always emphasized the importance of The Great Lakes and how our duty to preserve them is paramount. When I stumbled upon Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District Intern position I jumped at the chance. The combination of working with Lake Erie, local watersheds, and local communities has been an incredible experience so far and something I can see myself doing full time hopefully in the future. And who wouldn’t enjoy working with CSWCD when all of your co-workers are so on fire for what they do. One of the first things I noticed when I started working about four weeks ago was the excitability and fervor the entire office team has. It has been a pleasure getting to work with people who are so zealous about the environment and the people they serve in the surrounding communities.

I have had the pleasure to help Amy Roskilly (Conservation Education Specialist) and Jacki Zevenbergen (Stormwater Educator) at different education outreach events. Teaching the importance of Earth friendly cleaners to use at home and how to DIY those at Green Cleaning workshops; Learned the importance of wetlands and how erosion works within a community’s backyard during creek cleanups; Helped with educational events including water festivals at schools and Project WET (Water Education for Teachers). I have also enjoyed participating in rain barrel workshops helping community members build their own rain barrel with both Claire and Jared from the Watershed department. Next week CSWCD is putting on a teacher’s workshop with Latino Earth Partnership to train teachers on how to use the outdoors to educate on native ecosystems and protection of Ohio’s waterways while integrating Latino perspectives. I look forward to both assisting at this five day workshop as well as learning more about educational tools from the outdoors.

Blog author: Franchesca Bodnar, Education Intern

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