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Water resources interns bolster ISU conservation outreach teamsWater resources interns bolster ISU conservation outreach teams

Conservation Learning Group: Water resources interns help with Iowa State University conservation efforts and learn more about why water conservation is so important.

Liz Ripley

June 20, 2023

3 Min Read
5 ISU water resources interns for 2023
ESSENTIAL INTERNS: Conservation Learning Group 2023 Water resources interns include Connell Lorenzen (left), Kaitlynne Henriksen, Zach Brecht, Sydney Chin and Christopher Martinez.Courtesy of Conservation Learning Group

As in years past, summer 2023 will be chock-full of public outreach and education experiences for five water resources interns joining the Conservation Learning Group team at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Taking advantage of the final weeks of primary and secondary school terms across Iowa, these young people joined the Water Rocks! team in visiting elementary and middle schools to deliver classroom sessions on watersheds, wetlands and natural resources. The interns will spend the balance of the summer supporting research and outreach across the state.

This year’s crop of interns are students at ISU working toward degrees in various agriculture and engineering fields. All will participate in hands-on field research and data collection with ISU researchers, providing each with excellent exposure to the scientific process and on-the-ground research. In addition, the interns will fortify the ability of CLG’s education and outreach programs, Iowa Learning Farms — focusing on farmers and landowners; and Water Rocks! — ISU’s award-winning youth water education program, to engage with Iowans across the state. Staffing the Water Rocks Conservation Station trailers, the interns will visit county fairs, farmers markets, community celebrations and farmer-focused field days.

“We could not manage our intense summer schedule of appearances without the enthusiasm and energy these young people bring to the team. It energizes everyone and provides opportunities for them to sharpen their knowledge as well as communication and presentation skills,” says Ann Staudt, Water Rocks director. “It is refreshing to see the connections the interns make with members of the public, and also to see them learn new concepts and grow through making connections and sharing lessons and information with a broader audience.”

Diverse group

The water resources interns for 2023 bring diverse personal and educational backgrounds to the program.

Christopher Martinez is majoring in environmental science at ISU. He grew up in Alleman, Iowa, and has an avowed passion for the outdoors and the balance of agriculture and conservation. He is eager to share his passions about the environment while continuing to learn and prepare for the future.

Sydney Chin is an agricultural engineering major at ISU and holds the record for being the farthest from home. She grew up in Kamuela, Hawaii, where her passion for conservation led her to study land and water resources at ISU. She is eager to gain experience in field research as well as outreach to help guide her future career decisions.

Kaitlynne Henriksen is studying agricultural systems technology at ISU and discovered her love of environmental studies as she pursued her degree. Growing up in Avoca, Iowa, she is eager to learn and share information that can affect the planet, climate change and sustainability.

Zach Brecht hails from Belle Plaine, Iowa, and is majoring in agricultural education at ISU. He is looking forward to increasing his personal knowledge about conservation practices as well as sharpening his teaching and communications skills through outreach events.

Connell Lorenzen is an industrial technology major at ISU from Polk City, Iowa. A lifelong hunter and fisherman, he has a strong interest in conservation and water quality. He looks forward to learning more through his internship and interacting with the public at outreach events.

To see where and when an outreach event is taking place in your area and to meet some of these young people, check out the calendar at waterrocks.org/calendar.

Ripley is Iowa Learning Farms manager and a Water Rocks conservation outreach specialist.

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