Congratulations to Our 2023 Graduating Watershed Educators!

By Katelynn Warner and Marisa Immordino, Watershed Alliance Graduate Assistants
May 08, 2023

Across the state of Vermont and northeastern New York, K–12 classrooms are hard at work learning about watershed science and current stressors facing the Lake Champlain basin, with the help of Lake Champlain Sea Grant’s Watershed Alliance team. Our Watershed Alliance Program educates K–12 students and their teachers about aquatic science in the Lake Champlain basin. Three year-round staff, two graduate student assistants, and 10–20 undergraduate Watershed Educator interns run the program.

Throughout the academic year, our interns bring K–12 classrooms outdoors to local ecosystems to gain a better understanding of the Lake Champlain basin and its current threats. Our Watershed Educators are paramount to the functioning of our program. With their help, we are able to expand our reach—this year, to 1,252 students in the Vermont portion of the basin.

“I think it is valuable that we get to teach science-based, equity driven programs across schools in Vermont,” said Watershed Educator Caroline Wolfe who graduates from the University of Vermont in May. “I really value that we get the experience of teaching students about the ecological issues impacting watersheds around them.”

In addition to being trained in stream ecology monitoring, interns gain valuable experience as educators who open the eyes of K–12 students to water, watersheds, aquatic organisms, climate change, and more. Through this professional development experience, Watershed Educators expand their own horizons and learn about career and graduate education pathways in watershed science and environmental education.

To our graduating seniors: you have all played influential roles in spreading knowledge about watershed science to the next generation. You’ve helped welcome and train new cohorts of interns below you, and while the last few years have been unpredictable, you all have been flexible and accommodating. We are grateful to have been a stepping stone in your academic and professional journey, and we are so excited to see what adventures come next!

Congratulations to our 2023 graduating Watershed Educators at the University of Vermont!

Carissa Finnerty Carissa Finnerty

Hometown: Madison, NJ

Major:  Environmental Sciences

What’s next?: Working on a farm in Puerto Rico for the summer!

Favorite Watershed Alliance memory: Improvising on the fly with my fellow interns! Adapting to the kids and adjusting as you go along, with what you have, are challenges that are the most fun and rewarding.

Isabella Genova Isabella Genova

Hometown: Mendon, MA

Major: Environmental Sciences

What’s next?: I am going to teach environmental education on a sailing trip with the Rozalia Project, then hope to continue working in the water quality field!

Favorite Watershed Alliance memory: I’ve really enjoyed getting to explore the watershed of Lake Champlain. One memory that stands out was stream monitoring at Underhill State Park with AP Environmental Science students. I remember collecting benthic macroinvertebrates my senior year of high school and sharing this felt full circle.

Marg Poliferone Marg Polifrone

Hometown: Keene, NH

Major: Biological Sciences

What’s next?: Master of Pharmacy at UVM

Favorite Watershed Alliance memory: Seeing a frog holding onto a log, legs behind her, enjoying the water (the kids loved her, too!), snorkeling by the bike path, or just seeing kids be genuinely excited about science!

Emma Preuss Emma Preuss

Hometown: Scituate, MA

Major: Environmental Studies

What’s next?: Moving back home to Scituate for the summer to spend some time on the ocean and potentially driving a boat down to the Bahamas in the fall! Excited to take some time off before jumping into a career-oriented job.

Favorite Watershed Alliance memory: I have so many! One of my favorite days with Watershed Alliance was during a collaboration with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and Burlington City and Lakes Semester. We spent the morning learning to snorkel at the YMCA pool and afternoon in the lake looking for shipwrecks. Another one of my favorites was finding insanely huge dobsonfly larvae and tons of crayfish under a highway overpass in northern Vermont! 

Caroline Wolfe Caroline Wolfe

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Major: Environmental Sciences

What’s next?: Incoming M.S. student at The Ohio State University

Favorite Watershed Alliance memory: Teaching the watershed model to students at ONE Arts center.


Learn more about becoming a Watershed Educator and how to apply.