Environmental group receives $30,000 from Alcoa Foundation

Last month, the Bellingham-based Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) was awarded a $30,000 grant from the Alcoa Foundation to start a new internship training program.

The Alcoa Foundation provides grants to environmentally-driven organizations that are near Alcoa Corporation locations, such as Alcoa Intalco Works in Ferndale.

Dubbed the Future Leaders of Whatcom Waters, the program is sponsored by NSEA, which has dedicated years to restoring the Terrell Creek habitat in northwestern Whatcom County.

The program, funded to support 55 participants, is open to college level interns and offers participants the chance to gain practical experience in their field. Leading environmental education initiatives, community work parties and scientific monitoring are just a few of the opportunities offered through the new program, said Rachel Vasak, NSEA executive director.

“Alcoa has been supporting NSEA’s work for many years, from staff attending community work parties, to sponsoring environmental interns, to funding NSEA’s new native plant nursery, to volunteering financial support when the old NSEA office was burglarized,” read a statement from NSEA.

NSEA has required help from interns in order to uphold its mission to recovering salmon populations. Future Leaders of Whatcom Waters will allow the organization to take on a new approach to intern training and project education to improve their education and
leadership experience.

“The support from the Alcoa Foundation goes beyond this important funding too, with local employees who plan to come to the NSEA community work parties and work with Future Leaders of Whatcom Waters program participants to plant native trees and shrubs along local creeks,” Vasak said.

To learn more about NSEA, visit n-sea.org.

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