OSM/VISTA Watershed Program Manager, Grand County Water Information Network, Grand Lake, Colorado
Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
 
How Alex Brooks got involved with Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
After finishing a 13 month fellowship working at a environmental research and education center in the Namib Desert of Namibia, I decided to look for opportunities in the USA to pursue my interests in sustainable development and environmental conservation. After returning home, I stumbled across the Western Hardrock Watershed Team via the Americorps website. I loved the idea of working for a grassroots nonprofit that promotes environmental conservation and community redevelopment. That was in March 2010. A month later, I was one the road driving to my year-long Americorps position working for the Grand County Water Information Network.
 
Experience
This past fall, I participated in a day long county-wide Children's Water Festival. I was responsible for facilitating a 30 minute workshop for groups of 5th grade student students. Wanting to keep the students engaged, I spent a lot of time beforehand developing a murder mystery about Mr. Trout McFly and his friend Water Buggus Papperclips who had disappeared. There was a powerpoint telling the story and a hands-on demonstration about the effect of pollution on surface tensions. The day of, the workshop was well recieved and to my delight, the students stayed wide awake. But after teaching the workshop for the 5th time, I was exhuasted, drained ready for the day to be over. In the 6th and last session, it was all I could do to muster enough energy to teach it one more time. Well I somehow got through it and when I finished, I sat down, slumped back in my chair. While sitting, a girl came up to me and said in a awed voice "did you make that powerpoint all by yourself?" I said, "well yes actually, I did" "Wow" she said with the unique certainty of a worldly and very knowledgeable 10 year old "that was the BEST powerpoint I have EVER seen"
 
Alex Brooks' accomplishments
Since April, I've taken on responsibilities and developed programs that have expanded my organizations ability to protect water quality in the county. I've strengthened our volunteer monitoring program through improved training, data management and outreach. I've developed partnerships and funding for our educational programming that reached 400 students in 2010. And I've worked hard to build preliminary support for a watershed planning process for the Upper Colorado Headwaters.
 
Alex Brooks' next steps
I'd like to continue building my managerial skills while continuing to work to promote sustainability, conservation, and development. Also, in the future, I would like to further my education and obtain a master's in a field related to sustainable development and natural resource management.
 
Hometown: Milton , Massachusetts
School: Grinnell College
Major: Political Science (Global Development Studies concentration)