Meet Freshwater Intern Tali Berkman

By Julia Weimer

Talia (Tali) Berkman became a Freshwater intern in January 2022. Throughout her internship, Tali worked primarily on the Adopt a River program to implement effective communication strategies to tell the impact stories of this program. This included creating an ArcGIS StoryMap, a method of storytelling that uses spatial maps and visuals paired together in a narrative form. Tali brought such depth and care to the Adopt a River program and her work with past participants highlighting their experiences. Check out some of Tali’s StoryMap below and be sure to read on to hear what’s next for her!

Tali has chin-length curly brown hair, and is wearing a gray short sleeve shirt against a white wall smiling for the picture

View Tali’s Adopt a River StoryMap here.

Q: Where and what did you study in college? 

A: I went to Macalester college and studied Environmental Science with an emphasis in food systems.  

Q: What interested you about that field of study?

A: During my senior year of high school, I took an environmental science class where I had the opportunity to do hands-on environmental experiments as well as learn about how food systems have a significant environmental impact. I really enjoyed being outside and wanted to learn more about the ways in which our food systems could become more sustainable.  

Q: Where did you grow up and attend high school? 

A: I grew up and went to high school in Seattle, Washington.  

Q: What projects have you worked on at Freshwater? 

A: My main project as a Freshwater intern was to create an interactive story map of Adopt a River Cleanups to highlight the breadth and depth of the many different Adopt a River cleanups.  

Q: What skills have you developed through those projects, and how will they help you in your future and career? 

A: The main skill that I learned through this project is storytelling to encourage participation in a program. I spent a lot of time thinking about the ways in which past Adopt a River stories could be used to inspire others to plan a cleanup and the ways in which stories can have an impact on people. I think that this is a really important skill when doing any environmental work because in order to create change we need to inspire others to join our causes. I also gained skills in ArcGIS which can be used in the future to create other story maps that could be used to highlight additional projects.  

Q: What’s next for you? 

A: I am currently working as a garden educator at an elementary school in San Francisco.  

Q: What are your career aspirations? 

A: Currently, I really enjoy doing hands-on environmental education for kids and inspiring environmental stewardship in young people. I think that eventually I would like to move into doing work related to agricultural policy and helping to create a world where sustainable forms of agriculture are encouraged and incentivized over our current industrial agriculture system that is not sustainable.  

Q: What changes do you want to make in the world? 

A: I would like to help create a world where sustainable agriculture is the norm.  

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

A: Some things I enjoy doing in my free time include cooking, spending time outside, roller skating, and seeing live music.