Final Reflections


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Photo by JoVonne Wagner


Here are a few reflections on our experiences as “Climate Warriors”, participants in the 2017 Climate Change Internship Program hosted by the Blackfeet Environmental Office…

“I would have to say my favorite parts of my internship were being out in the field studying and taking care of the buffalo, the community outreach we did, working with the other interns, and traveling to the climate change summits in Polson, Montana and San Diego, California. I feel like my eyes have opened to climate change. It has me considering a change in my major. I received a lot of useful information from the different speakers at the climate change summits.”

– Chastedy Williamson-Tatsey

“This summer I had the pleasure to work as an intern for the Blackfeet Environmental Office as well as a few other tribal departments. Over these few months, I’ve not only grown as a person but as a student as well. I’ve gained so many skills and experiences through this internship. Before starting, if you asked me about climate change, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. Ask me now and I could go on for hours. Climate change is important and it will affect every one of us. For me, it’s become a concern more than before. Overall, I am so thankful I received this opportunity to help make a change. “I am one person, but still I am one”. I can’t do everything, but I can do something.”

– Rusti Loring

“My favorite part of the internship was when we were able to go electrofishing on parts of the Milk River. As interns we were able to go along with the staff of the Blackfeet Environmental Office and we were included in the field. To fully experience this, we had to wear waders and either use a net to catch the fish or carry a bucket to collect them. Once we covered a certain length of the river, we would then take the buckets of fish, identify the species and decide whether or not to release it or keep it further for study. In this activity, I learned that there are a lot of different species of fish, even in the Milk River itself, and that there are many kinds all over the state. With all these different species of fish and all the different requirements and water qualities needed to survive, it really opens your eyes to how important our water is.”

– Danae Yellow Kidney


Photo by Rikki Ollinger.


“This past summer I got the opportunity to be hired for this internship where I learned so much, not only about climate change, but about the effects it has on the Blackfeet Reservation. I also learned about and many other things such as wetlands, and how important they are to the environment, and about various types of plants and animals.  My experience with this internship has been nothing short of amazing. It has made me more environmentally aware with the knowledge I’ve gained. I am very thankful I got to be a part of something so important.”

– Sierra Mason

“Through this internship I have gained a life-changing experience I will never forget. Before this internship, I knew of climate change, but not enough about the alarming data and the impacts climate change could have on me and my people. From day one on the job, we were exposed to climate change literature, specifically articles relating to climate health and impacts. It was intimidating to learn of the health-related impacts caused by climate change, though it caused me to widen my perspective and become more intrigued with the topic. I’ve received invaluable knowledge. I plan to continue to disseminate this newfound knowledge with my peers and our people so that we may combat the harmful impacts on our ever-changing environment. I enjoyed our field trips and learning more about the Blackfeet Reservation, especially when we learned more about Blackfeet Culture and its relevance to climate change.  I am thankful for Gerald, Kim, Libby and Melly for all the help they have been and for the patience and time in educating us. I am extremely humbled and grateful to have been given such a phenomenal opportunity that has made a difference in my community.”

– Shawn Davis

“When I first heard of this internship from my father, I was just ending my sophomore year at Montana State. From what was said, this internship was funded by a couple grants that would have allowed 10-12 students (either college or high school graduates) a paid job for the summer. I was excited because this program gave us something to look forward to when we came back home for summer break. Not only did we gain experience working close at hand with our own tribe, but we gained knowledge, great work ethic, and communication skills. From studying background knowledge about what climate change is, to being able to create and apply our Youth Communication Plan in our community, to presenting our overall work this summer at the Climate Change Summit, it was such a great time. I’ve learned so much this summer, and I have been able to easily incorporate what I have gained into my school and university classes – so much so that I feel more confident with what I am studying and where I see my future endeavors going. I greatly appreciate that my tribe was able to give me this chance at learning about climate change and the issues surrounding our reservation. I want to thank my tribe and the Blackfeet Environmental Office, along with Gerald, Susie, Kim, Libby, and Melly for being 100% supportive and helpful in our work. I hope in the future, more native youth will have a opportunity like this one.”

– JoVonne Wagner

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