By Erika Holmes, Community Outreach & Environmental Education Specialist, Nuclear Waste Program
Ten high school girls from the Tri-Cities area traveled deep into the Umatilla National Forest in northeastern Oregon this week to learn about post-high school opportunities in the field of natural resources. Staying three days at the Buck Creek Cabins, attendees hiked, ate camp grub, hung around the fire at night, and met with representatives from Northwest environmental organizations at the first Environmental Career Camp for Young Women.
Ecology was fortunate enough to be invited to this forward-thinking event. Driving down beautiful wooded backroads dodging mule deer bucks with velvety antlers, I pulled into the Corporation Guard Station with just enough time to set up our presentation. Returning from a hike with camp coordinator Deanna Engelmann, the girls were ready to hear about opportunities at Ecology.
The eager soon-to-be juniors and seniors learned about public service, Ecology’s mission and our youth programs, and the history of Hanford. To give the girls a taste of what it’s like to work for Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program, I also discussed my job and highlighted three other women in the office: hydrogeologist Suzanne Dahl, geologist Nancy Uziemblo, and permit writer Kristi Wold. The program’s popular groundwater model was also available for them to explore.
Funding for the camp came from a grant secured by the Kennewick School District which then partnered with Umatilla National Forest and the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge. The goal is to make this an annual event. I just hope I can join them for the hike next time!