Featured Intern: Sherry Moldenhauer

sherryHere at the TWP office, we are continually asking each other, “What would we do without our talented interns!?” These dedicated individuals donate their time, energy, and brain power to making our programs a success by helping with grant research and writing, translations, crowdfunding, and other tasks necessary for running a nonprofit organization. At any given time, we have an average of 5 interns working with staff to run our programs. Our interns come from diverse backgrounds and bring fresh ideas to our office.

One of these amazing interns is Sherry Moldenhauer, one of our National Development Interns who has worked with TWP’s Development Director, Heather Herrell, since Fall of 2012. Sherry has been an important part of our recent grant writing cycle and brings a unique natural resource management background to our Team. Sherry is most passionate about helping to raise funds for our Tribal Renewable Energy Program and enjoys working with an environmentally-friendly organization. She has been especially inspired by the Lakota culture and the work of our Tribal Program partner, Lakota Solar Enterprises.

“Every Tuesday and Thursday, Sherry arrives with a cheerful smile and dedicates five hours to researching and writing grants to support our Tribal Renewable Energy Program and Food Security Program. Thank you, Sherry, for all that you do for TWP!” – Heather Herrell, Development Director

On her free time, you can find Sherry exploring the alpine terrain of Colorado, reading, and doing yard work with her dog by her side.

Learn about current volunteer and internship opportunities at our website!

Intern Spotlight: Jordan Engel

Photo by Lindsay Herrera

This month’s featured volunteer, Jordan Engel, is embracing a truly unique opportunity through Trees, Water & Peoples Internship Program.  Originally from upstate New York, Jordan moved to Kentucky in 2010 to attend Berea College.  With his studies focused on Sustainable Community Development, Jordan’s decision to pursue an internship with TWP for the summer was a no-brainer.   “I first heard about Trees, Water & People when I saw Henry Red Cloud’s profile in Yes Magazine,” Jordan explained.  A few months later Jordan finds himself (a self proclaimed “Yankee”) smack dab in the middle of Indian Country, working side by side and towards the same goals as our partner, Henry Red Cloud.

Jordan arrived in Pine Ridge South Dakota excited to learn about sustainable building techniques and solar energy.  After living on the Rez, Jordan has learned about a lot more than just that.  “The numbers only tell part of the story,” Jordan exclaimed when referring to the staggering poverty statistics that exist about life on Pine Ridge.  “I’m learning about happiness, and how to be happy…how to live my life and make the most of it.”  The Lakota culture is beautiful and can be quite invigorating; Jordan’s learning this firsthand.

The Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) campus on the Pine Ridge Reservation is the heart of TWP’s Tribal Renewable Energy and Food Security Programs, and the place that Jordan calls home at the moment.  As TWP’s on-site assistant, Jordan handles a myriad of tasks including maintaining and improving campus buildings, assisting Henry in accommodating trainees, and assisting Henry with sustainable living and renewable energy projects.  When asked what his favorite task is, he said it’s definitely taking care of the Solar Warrior Farm and foraging for traditional foods.  “I love working the earth!” Jordan exclaims,  “We’re growing food for the people and it’s making waves.  This is a little thing that’s making a big difference.”  In the end, this is what TWP is all about: Finding culturally appropriate ways to improve lives and help people manage their natural resources.

If you would like to hear more about Jordan’s experiences, check out his regular “Notes from the Field” posts right here on the TWP blog.

Intern Spotlight: Cate Stone

by Pete Iengo, Volunteer Manager

Cate Stone, National Program Rockstar (Intern)

The TWP team has many pleasant and colorful characters turning the gears of sustainability, and this month’s Featured Intern, Cate Stone, is certainly no exception.  Having Cate around is a joy.  She is a dedicated conservationist with a smile and presence that fills up the room!

Originally from Pennsylvania, Cate was en route to Alaska with her good friends when their magic school bus broke down in Idaho.  Revised final destination: Fort Collins!

Soon after Cate discovered TWP here in Fort Collins, she applied and was hired.  Serving as National Program Intern, she works closely with Program Director Lacey Gaechter on our new Food Security Program, as well as bringing renewable energy to Native Americans through our Tribal Renewable Energy Program.

“What TWP is doing is pretty incredible!” Cate said when commenting on our community-based approach in Fort Collins and in the other communities we serve.   In particular, Cate is referring to the work we do on Native American reservations.  It wasn’t until her internship that she began to see for herself the level of poverty that can exist on the reservations of the West.  Cate had the opportunity to go to the Pine Ridge Reservation and work with a team of volunteers and our partner Henry Red Cloud on a recent project.  “I feel lucky to get to volunteer on the Rez, it makes it all feel real.” she commented on the experience.

We are very lucky to have Cate on board here at TWP!  It won’t last forever, though.  Cate is excited to get out there and see the world, and aspires to finding a niche in environmental anthropology, focusing on clean water systems in Latin America. Where ever you end up Cate, we know you’ll do great things; thank you for your hard work and dedication!