by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Summer & Fall Intern Jules Hoepting
This summer, I got the marvelous opportunity to intern with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper as a videographer. My assignments were to capture and repurpose footage of the cornucopia of events going on at the non-profit. In the process, I got close-up views of a just some of the projects the organization takes on.
Although I grew up in Western New York and have seen much of the area, I’m not exactly a Buffalo native. It’s been enlightening to visit numerous Buffalo area treasures for the first time and learn how they’re ecologically interwoven.
In addition to trimming down former Facebook livestreams, I got the opportunity to record videos and take pictures of events, such as a volunteer living shoreline planting event at Hyde Park, a press event for the implementation of Sea Bins, and a tabling event at Buffalo and Erie County Library. I also shot footage of public tour showcasing a restoration project to prevent future flooding in Cayuga Creek.
Furthermore, I was able to tag along and preserve in pixels a few YELP (Young Environmental Leaders Program) tours of various natural sites. I learned about bird watching / monitoring through a data recording trip to Knox Farm. I accompanied an unforgettable educational tour of Woodlawn Beach; three adorable ducklings followed the group for two hours, as we learned everything from beach management, to windmill power, to turtle shells. I also accompanied a trip to the Cave of the Winds in Niagara Falls, which was undoubtably a highlight of my summer. If the idea of taking a “shower” in New York’s iconic waterfall excites you, you should definitely check out Cave of the Winds.
Over the next few weeks I will be helping out with Scajaquada September, a month-long campaign drawing attention to a badly-neglected waterway in Buffalo. I’ve already shot footage of the creek clean up and am excited to continue to promote the restoration efforts!
Overall, my experiences have been wonderful at Waterkeeper. The staff is made up of friendly people who have welcomed me to their office and at their events. It’s a mosaic of people with a variety of specialties — administration, marketing and communications, finance, community engagement, ecological development, etc. — who have an important passion in common: protecting local water. It’s easy to get discouraged in any environmental field, but taking a look at all the fruit-bearing projects BNW has accomplished in the local community over the past few decades is highly motivating and encouraging.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning about all the metaphorical turbulence humans have caused in our local watershed, along with the restoration efforts “current”ly in effect. I decided to apply for this internship because, as cliché as it sounds, I’ve always felt a connection to water. That, and I wanted to put my recent degree in communication to good use. After all, every organization needs a messenger to carry its voice to the public just like every small stream eventually makes its way to a greater body of water.