Water in Motion’s very own Kristen Teresi and Cara Donovan recently sat down to reflect on their experiences with the Master Water Stewards program.
The Master Water Stewards program is a community outreach and education course designed to train Minnesotans with the knowledge and practices needed to improve water quality within their own neighborhoods. Basic hydrology, stormwater management, and community-based social marketing are just a few topics taught in the certification process.
Additionally, all Stewards must complete a capstone project that includes capturing rainwater and/or stormwater, which permits more water to infiltrate into the ground – along with leading a community outreach event. When accomplished, Stewards become a great resource within their own communities to continue changing the health of local waterways.
Water in Motion Members Becoming Stewards
This past fall, Water in Motion team members, Kristen Teresi and Cara Donovan, enrolled into the Master Water Steward program. Both Donovan and Teresi are relatively new to the Green Industry and jumped at the chance to make a positive community impact within their own neighborhoods. They are currently half way through the certification process and wanted to share their experiences thus far.
What are you hoping to get out of this course? Why were you interested?
“As a Master Water Steward, I am extremely interested in getting involved in a grass-root effort to improve water quality throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Before starting the program, I hoped to learn the hydrologic differences between various levels of development and solutions to infiltration, stormwater capture, and ways to improve water quality. I am also interested in bringing neighborhoods and greater communities together to develop solutions that will work on a small scale. I am particularly interested in working with international communities, given my experience living abroad.”
“I am just starting out in the Green Industry and wanted to dive head first into as many learning opportunities as I could find. The Master Water Steward program seemed like the perfect place to start. In college, my environmental studies courses were all very broad-based and it was often difficult for me to apply the curriculum to my everyday life. With Master Water Stewards, I am learning about the lakes and rivers I grew up around and have the chance to actually implement what I have learned and inspire others as I do so.”
What have you enjoyed the most?
“I have enjoyed getting involved in my local watershed, Capitol Region Watershed District, and learning more about the impressive projects they are involved in. Combining class material from the Master Water Steward program with these development strategies helps inform my experience at Water in Motion.”
“One of my favorite aspects of this program is learning how to communicate sustainable water practices to my neighbors in a language they will not only understand, but also inspire them to act. Additionally, before getting involved with this program, I never truly understood what watershed districts do. It has been extremely eye opening to me learning about water policy on the state level and how many agencies are involved in protecting Minnesota’s water resources.”
Have you seen anything in the Master Water Steward program applicable to your community?
“Yes! Many of the solutions to stormwater capture such as rain gardens and rain barrels are directly applicable to my rental property and many of the schools, homes and apartment complexes in our area. One of the homeowners in Captiol Region gave advice on how to find financial support from various sources for curb cuts, rain barrels, permeable pavement and so on. This advice has specifically helped me talk to neighbors that are contemplating making changes in lawn care.”
“Absolutely! On a small scale, it does not take much effort for my neighbors to do their share to improve water quality. For instance, by simply directing downspouts onto lawns or gardens, you are keeping that runoff onsite and away from lakes and streams. Or during the winter, substituting salt with traction grit.”
Have you seen anything in the Master Water Steward program applicable to your position at Water in Motion?
“From what I have seen at Water in Motion, we are innovative in our approaches to projects. Master Water Stewards’ coursework and CRWD has helped push me to continue thinking outside the box. In particular, the program’s education aspect helps our communication strategies in many of our projects.”
“As a Marketing Associate at Water in Motion, it is my job to create effective and attention-grabbing content to promote our company’s mission; create a more water efficient world. The Master Water Stewards program has highlighted the use of “community based social marketing” where the focus is on community involvement and action. Going forward, I think spreading the word about Water in Motion on a grassroots level will be a very powerful tool.”
As Cara and Kristen continue their certification, they both look forward to becoming an educated and experienced steward within their own neighborhoods. If you are interested in the Master Water Stewards program, learn more here!