Monday, May 12, 2014

Wow! We've been busy!

Welcoming Becca Paquette - New Program Coordinator

We know, we know - it's been quite some time since new words made their way onto the blog. This fine blog seemed to have been swept away in a strong current, and we've finally found it washed up on shore. In the hiatus, so many fantastic things have happened! From field trips for all ages to the numerous WEN Talks (formally Advanced Training sessions) to the Stream Team collecting great samples, there hasn't been a dull moment.

We've also had the great pleasure to welcome new members to our team, the latest being Program Coordinator Becca Paquette. Becca comes to us from over the river and through the woods, across the plains and over some hills - all the way from the East Coast! She studied Zoology at the University of New Hampshire, and has recently moved to Missoula for new experiences.

Becca brings a wealth of knowledge and high energy to the position, and in a few short weeks has already settled into place. Be sure to say Hi when you see her at our next event!

Speaking of our next event - keep your eyes peeled for our Facebook and email updates - Our next WEN Talks event is on Thursday, May 22 with Pat Saffel of Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks! Hope to see you there!

Photos by Mike Lessard

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Why of WEN.

I was new to WEN when I started out here as a Compact Service Corps member.  The last month and a half has been spent getting my feet wet (!) in a whirlwind of Mayfly Flings, programs and Stream Team planning.  Throughout my learning and orientation process I’ve found a group of folks who care so deeply about teaching people the importance of environmental stewardship that they volunteer their free time; asking no compensation other than the knowledge that they are making a difference in children’s lives and thus the world—of course, the ability to hang out with some of the coolest people in Missoula is also a huge plus!  It’s inspiring to see the volunteers and the WEN crew in action.  I truly believe in what we do here and I’d like to take a moment to give an example of why it’s so important.

Last week I had the pleasure of working with Kitty on developing a program for Willard Alternative High School.  For the first two days we went in for class visits, discussing groundwater and the connection between Wilderness and our watershed’s health.  The visits went great and the students were presented with a lot of interesting knowledge and seemed quite engaged.  Yet there still seemed to be a slight sense of disconnect, a few blank stares, a little bit of shifting in chairs.  Some folks just are not hardwired to absorb a full spectrum of knowledge from a classroom.  I know because I am built the same way.  I never learn quite as well as when I’m out and about and getting my hands dirty.  With that in mind, it came as no surprise that our final day with Willard went so well.  Every single student out on the river was actively engaged and excited about the experiments they designed.  There were no blank stares, no restless shifting, only smiling faces absorbing experience.  To me, that’s the heart of what WEN is all about; it’s what the heart of all good education is about.  The class visits are wonderful and really fun; the knowledge we present is important and valuable; putting it all into perspective by physically interacting with the river is invaluable.  I’m very excited to spend my time working with some of the coolest and most passionate people in Missoula doing something that benefits students so much.

Jared Betz
Community Coordinator
Watershed Education Network
(406) 541-9287