Rosie Hesla, a 20-year-old St. Catherine University student, is spending part of her summer working as an intern in the Master Water Steward program.
The new initiative, modeled after the Master Gardener program, is a partnership between the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and the Freshwater Society. It is funded with a grant from the state’s Clean Water Fund, and its goal is to train volunteers who will work in their own neighborhoods to conserve and protect water.
Hesla, who is double-majoring in biology and education and also has an internship with the Como Zoo, has been going through the training all the stewards take. She is preparing a presentation on the program, which she will give to members of the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization in Minneapolis.
Read a min-interview with her on her Freshwater work and her interest in water:
What is your interest in freshwater resources?
I have always been concerned with the limited amount of freshwater we have in the world. I was concerned that the small amount we had was not being treated the way it should. I knew that the place to start was by being a public voice to people in my neighborhood.
Prior to interning with the FW, did you participate in any sort of water conservation or other water related practices?
Unfortunately no. I knew that conserving freshwater was important, but I did not know the best way to get involved. When I heard about the work FW was doing I knew it was a good place to start.
How has interning with the Freshwater Society been a positive experience in your academics or personal life?
By interning with FW I have become more aware of where water is draining to and how my actions and the actions of my community are affecting the flow of water. Gaining insight to the world of water has helped me to change the way I regard and use the water where I live. This internship has helped sparked many conversations in my neighborhood about water runoff.
What are two of the most important things you will take away from this experience?
The importance of not working alone. Having people to work with provides not only a stronger force for the cause, but builds relationships with new people.
Simple techniques that everyone can do to reduce runoff. Before my internship I had no idea how simple it can be to keep the water where it falls!
When you describe the Master Water Steward program to a friend or colleague who knows nothing about it, what do you say?
The Master Water Steward Program is training for people in the Minnehaha creek watershed district that teaches people to plan and execute a capstone project for reducing runoff, and educates participants in effective ways to get the whole community involved in simple water management practices.