Local Girls Connect with Nature and Career Possibilities through Environmental Justice Camp
When T’wina Nobles walked into her office on a recent Monday morning, she couldn’t wait to tell her co-workers about the Environmental Justice Camp she hosted for a group of local girls over the weekend. “I was so excited, I was like, Oh you’ve got to see all the pictures!”
The Environmental Justice Camp was a new opportunity T’wina developed, an addition to the fun, educational programming she offers girls of color through her program, Ladies First. “I believe in the power of exposing young people to things that can change their lives forever. So if I want more girls to be thinking about science and STEM or believing that they can be a chemist, a biologist, or something in that field then I want to do my part by putting it in front of them.” She brought the idea to life through a Spark Grant from GTCF and a partnership with Citizens for a Healthy Bay.
Citizens for a Healthy Bay’s Executive Director Melissa Malott and Project Manager Erin Dilworth gave campers the opportunity to learn from women leading environmental justice work locally. Over the course of the two-day camp, the girls cleaned up beaches together, learned about microplastics, explored the Foss Waterway, conducted labs, created an art project, and went out on a boat to patrol Commencement Bay. The culminating project was writing a “Letter to the Editor” to explain what they learned and describe a change they would like to see. Several wrote about their plans to reduce their use of plastics based on their new understanding of how they impact both sea life and humans.
“…if I want more girls to be thinking about science and STEM or believing that they can be a chemist, a biologist, or something in that field then I want to do my part by putting it in front of them.”
T’wina’s passion for providing positive learning experiences for young women of color connect back to her youth. Growing up in the foster care system with a mother who was an addict, she experienced a lot of abuse, neglect, and even seasons of homelessness. T’wina became a mother when she was still in her teens.
Despite those challenges, T’wina found women who instilled in her hope for a different future. “It was because of all my experiences and people bringing me into various girls programs, or women inviting me to learn from them or encouraging me to participate in sports or programs like 4-H that helped me to see the world differently So, when I do this work for girls, I do it because it worked for me and I want to give it back. Even if it just works for one other girl who finds hope because of a camp or some experience I was able to help connect her with, then its worth it.”
“Even if it just works for one other girl who finds hope because of a camp or some experience I was able to help connect her with, then its worth it.”
T’wina’s work developing the Environmental Justice Camp and other unique educational experiences for girls of color showcases the type of grassroots leadership and change GTCF supports with Spark Grants. If you have an idea that addresses an important need in Pierce County, or you know someone else who does, applications for the next round of Spark Grants are open now through October 2018. For more information or to apply click here.