I have always been passionate about the environment, and with my degree in Environmental Studies I have come to cherish the relationships I am able to build with like minded individuals. I was able to continue working with other wonderful, passionate people here at Heartland Conservation Alliance. I have personally engaged communities in environmental work over the years so having the opportunity to continue with this work professionally has made this internship incredibly valuable. Based on my previous experiences, community engagement is a powerful tool and working with Heartland Conservation Alliance has enabled me to see the importance of organizations that convene their stakeholders regularly. The work is not as glamorous or as easy to write home about, but I felt like the glue, bringing people together so that the work we do has a bigger impact. I have also learned more about non-profit organizations: how they operate and how much work and passion goes into setting up and coordinating events. The staff at HCA have been great to work with, they go above and beyond for their work.
Photo: Chandler tabling at Briarfest 2018, photo taken by Ayana Curran-Howes
One of my favorite work activities was creating memes for our Renew the Blue social media posts, tabling at events, and having the opportunity to travel for training at the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita. The leadership summit was a three day training opportunity provided by the Climate + Energy Project (CEP) as the first Kansas Environmental Leadership summit which gathered leaders in environmental work to build and learn with each other. This was a great opportunity to network and provided me with the leadership and communication skills that will be a great asset to HCA. It's incredible to think I have only worked here for a little over a month and I have already grown so much with this organization. I have grown as a leader, mentor and educator and I am looking forward to working alongside all those at HCA and those within the Alliance that are so dedicated and posses such positive attitudes about the amazing work that they do day in and day out.