Nicole Pepper, Geospatial Analyst/Internship Program Manager | November 30, 2021

Next week we will be closing out our 2nd official Internship Program term. Over the past 12 weeks our three interns, Thomas Cooper, Lillian Svoboda, and Luke Wasem, have joined the YVSC team by partnering up with a staff mentor to lead an individual intern project. Our three interns have brought so much passion and curiosity to our organization, it has been a pleasure to watch them apply their skills and grow throughout the term.

Thomas took the lead of our emergent Rising Leaders in Sustainability initiative to engage local youth in climate issues related. Under the mentorship of Kate Brocato, YVSC’s Communications & Program Manager, he grew involvement in this initiative by continuing the circulation of our Next Generation Newsletter, increasing the number of subscribers to the newsletter, and hosted a documentary screening and panel discussion of Purple Mountains, a film by Protect Our Winters (POW) that identifies outdoor recreation as a valuable way to find common ground in discussions of climate change.

Lillian worked with Winn Cowman, YVSC’s Waste Diversion Director, to set the foundation for implementing composting at local restaurants throughout the Yampa Valley. Through this project, she researched and held discussions with local businesses to discuss the biggest barriers to implement composting in our local restaurant systems and identify solutions to move forward. This project is a significant milestone on our path to a more sustainable waste diversion system in our community.

Luke partnered up with Tim Sullivan, YVSC’s Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) Director, to research and identify opportunities for applied NCS to support post wildfire regeneration. The frequency of high-intensity, long-duration wildfires and disturbances is increasing in our warming and drying intermountain west. Luke’s research will support YVSC in prioritizing these opportunities and identifying the role that our organization can play to support our partners in supporting the resiliency of our landscapes. 

On December 10, we will be celebrating their hard work and valuable contributions at our Fall 2021 Internship Closeout Presentation from 2-4 p.m. at the Routt County Commissioners Hearing Room, if you have any questions about the internship projects or would like to RSVP for the presentations please contact