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The AWE Fellows program aims to cultivate young environmentalists to be agents of change and to bring their knowledge, interest in habitat conservation to…

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Delaware River Watershed Fellowship Opportunities

The Delaware River Watershed Fellowship​ is a 12 week, paid summer job opportunity designed to introduce young people from local communities to careers in conservation. Fellows are employed at one of 23 Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE) environmental education centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware that share a mission to collectively increase and enhance constituent access to and stewardship of the Delaware River watershed.

The Fellows program, now in its fifth year, aims to cultivate young environmentalists to be agents of change, to bring their knowledge and interest in habitat conservation to their communities, encouraging the enjoyment, use, and care of the natural areas in the watershed.

Robin Irizarry, Watershed Fellowship Coordinator, encourages participation by all youth with an interest in nature. “No environmental experience is required, just a love of the great outdoors and interest in working with local communities.”

AWE builds on that momentum by intentionally engaging diverse communities, especially those that have historically been left out of conversations about protecting our shared environment, in addition to promoting equitable access to its Centers and fostering socially responsible practices that will result in a healthier natural environment. “Our aim is to open up career pathways into the environmental field for young people from within the very communities our AWE Environmental Centers serve,” adds Irizarry.

Valuable experience and training

Valuable experience and training will help prepare Fellows for a summer helping people connect with nature and informing their local communities about issues affecting the Delaware River, the source of drinking water for 13 million people living in the region. Find Fellowship opportunities here.
- Fellows are paid $15/hr, 35-40 hours a week over the summer. (June 7 through August 27)
- Intensive training with supervising mentors as well as peers and Fellowship alumni
- Fellows will gain professional experience helping to plan and lead programs and activities connecting with community members.
- Fellows will focus their efforts on a selected Capstone Project and present their work at the end-of-program Summit (August 20).

A video about the program follows AWE Fellows investigating the area’s river trails and creeks. Eve Quiñones a 2020 Fellow working with the Center for Aquatic Sciences, helped to create a video series about Camden’s public parks. She narrates the video PSA about her experiences: “Last summer, I learned about the region’s ecosystems, and how to protect the water sources we all depend on.”

Over the course of the summer, Fellows will have the opportunity to explore and gain environmental conservation work experience. Fellows will strengthen their understanding of the field by working side-by-side with center staff on program development and implementation, recreational activities on trails and waterways, habitat enhancement projects, community outreach and community engagement.

Goals

Fellowships are aimed at inspiring and equipping young adults to become ambassadors for the Delaware River Watershed. The goals of the Fellowship program align with two of AWE’s primary goals:
1. Increase and enhance constituent attitudes, knowledge, and intention to act to ensure a healthy Delaware River watershed.
2. Create a larger and more inclusive constituency of people engaged at and near centers and their waterways.

Training and on-the-water experiences

No prior environmental background is needed to become an AWE Fellow. Fellows begin their summer by participating in a 3 day, overnight training at the Pocono Environmental Education Center* where they learn essential watershed education lessons relevant to the work they’ll be participating in over the Summer. This includes opportunities for exploring some of the region’s waterways and trails first hand. Throughout the summer Fellows will have opportunity to visit other AWE centers in order to develop a broader sense of the challenges facing the Delaware River Watershed and how communities across our region are facing those challenges. Webinars designed to broaden Fellows’ understanding of conservation work across the watershed are hosted throughout the summer to supplement the learning taking place at the Fellows’ host environmental center.
* Elements of the 2021 Fellowship season may be held online via Zoom if Covid limitations prevent us from gathering in person.

Hands-on professional experience

Over the course of the summer Fellows will have the opportunity to explore and gain environmental conservation work experience at one of AWE’s 23 environmental centers located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Fellows work 35-40 hours a week, June through August, strengthening their understanding of the field by working side-by-side with center staff on program development and implementation, recreational activities on trails and waterways, habitat enhancement projects, community outreach and community engagement. Along the way Fellows will work with their supervisor to develop a specific Capstone project that will be the primary focus of their summer work. At the end of the summer Fellows present their work live for their peers and fellow AWE colleagues at the Fellowship Summit.

Alumni network

Beyond the 12 week summer Fellowship program, the Alliance aims to continue supporting our alumni, now several cohorts strong, as they take their next steps in a career in the environmental field. By sharing job opportunities and access to professional development training, such as AWE’s Watershed Professionals Institute, we hope to equip alumni with necessary tools and guidance to enter the environmental field with confidence.

Mentorship

Piloting in 2021, Fellows will be matched with professional mentors from across the Alliance member Centers, as well as past alumni ‘near-peer’ mentors. The goal of mentorship is to connect Fellows with environmental professionals across the AWE community who may share similar life experience, racial, ethnic and cultural identities, and personal and professional goals. AWE Mentorship is intended to be a mutual learning opportunity where there is an equitable exchange of ideas and perspectives. Mentors will serve as advisors and ambassadors to Fellows earlier on in their environmental conservation careers. Fellows and Alumni bring with them new perspectives and their own life experience to share.

About the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River

The Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE) aims to raise awareness and appreciation of the 13,500-square mile system which provides clean drinking water for 13 million people. AWE is comprised of 23 environmental education centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware that share a mission to collectively increase and enhance constituent access to and stewardship of the Delaware River watershed. Through aligned communications, joint programming and shared best practices, AWE works toward inspiring diverse communities and people empowered to sustain a healthy Delaware River watershed. Generous funding is provided by the William Penn Foundation. Visit watershedalliance.org for information about AWE centers and programming.

About The Delaware River Watershed Fellowship

Launched in 2017, the Delaware River Watershed Fellowship is a collaborative effort of the 23 AWE environmental centers and has become one of the flagship programs of the Alliance. Through the support of the William Penn Foundation, this program aims to increase engagement and action toward the protection and restoration of the Delaware River Watershed, while increasing collaboration and capacity of AWE’s centers and expanding career opportunities for a diverse cohort of young adults from across the watershed. Over the past 4 seasons nearly 100 individuals have been hired to participate in this 12-week, paid summer program. Fellows receive basic watershed education training and gain hands-on experience in the field, serving as environmental educators and ambassadors with their host Center. See https://www.watershedalliance.org/delrivfellows/ for more information.

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