By JoVonne Wagner and Shawn Davis, Climate Change Interns, Blackfeet Environmental Office
The Climate Change Internship Program in the Environmental Office hires Blackfeet youth to learn about climate change impacts and assist with adaptation efforts. With assistance from two grants awarded to the Blackfeet Environmental Office, the Program hired 10 interns for 10 weeks in summer of 2017.
Meet the 2017 Climate Change Internship’s “Climate Warriors”:
Shawn Davis is a member of the Blackfeet Nation. He is currently studying civil engineering at Montana State University in Bozeman Montana. In the spring of 2018, he is in his third year.
During the internship at the Blackfeet Environmental Office, Shawn worked diligently to raise awareness of climate change and it’s health impacts throughout the Blackfeet Reservation.
Termaine Edmo is a social work major studying at the University of Montana in Missoula, and is also a dual-enrolled student at Blackfeet Community College focusing on environmental studies.
Termaine’s internship in the Blackfeet Environmental Office focused on climate change, water quality, and health awareness.
Sandra Guardipee is a mathematics major studying at the University of Montana. Sandra is a (MT)^2 scholar and is a junior at the University of Montana.
Sandra’s internship was located at the Native Science Field Center at the Blackfeet Community College. Her work focused on the cultural impacts of climate change to the Blackfeet People.
Rusti Loring is from the Blackfeet Nation. She is currently studying psychology and is attending the University of Montana Missoula College.
Rusti’s internship was based in the Blackfeet Nation’s Land Department and also at Blackfeet Community College’s Native Science Field Center. Rusti focused on climate change impacts to the reservation’s land and culture.
Weston Mad Plume is a member of the Blackfeet Nation. Weston will begin his college career this fall at University of Montana in Missoula.
Weston worked with the Forestry Department and focused on the impacts of climate change on the Blackfeet Nation’s forests. In particular, he looked at how wildfires and dry seasons are affecting ecosystems.
Sierra Mason is in her second year at the University of Montana in Missoula, completing her general studies.
Sierra’s internship was based in the Blackfeet Nation’s Forestry and Agriculture Departments. Her internship focused on how climate change is affecting agriculture in the Blackfeet Nation.
Ivannah Spotted Eagle is from the Blackfeet Nation. She will be starting her second year at the University of Montana, working on her general studies this fall.
Ivannah’s internship based in the Blackfeet Agriculture Department. Her work focused primarily on how to combat the threat of invasive species such as knapweed.
JoVonne Wagner is from the Blackfeet Nation. JoVonne will be starting her third year at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. She is studying English Writing and Native American Studies.
JoVonne’s internship was based in the Blackfeet Environmental Office, working on climate change and health awareness.
Danae YellowKidney is from the Blackfeet Nation. She is going on her third year and currently studying math/science at Blackfeet Community College.
Danae’s internship based in the Tribal Historic Preservation Office.
Chastedy Williamson-Tatsey is also a member of the Blackfeet Tribe. She worked under the Iinnii Initiative, which is the tribe’s management of its bison herds. She studied the cultural significance of bison to the Blackfeet and how their reintroduction into Blackfeet Territory will positively impact the changing climate.
Throughout this internship these fine young ladies and gentlemen have gained valuable work experience. This opportunity had given them a solid foundation in a wide range of skills which were leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. It is our belief that this program will greatly benefit the Blackfeet Nation in the future, as it will produce a strong work force of young, determined Blackfeet individuals.