Matthew Nelson, MES 2005, Community Development & Natural Resource Management
I graduated from the Master of Environmental Study Program in the summer of 2005 and look back with great memories of my educational experiences there. Evergreen and the MES program allowed me to focus on important environmental topics in a way that I would not have been able to at other educational institutions. I came into the MES program with a background in environmental and experiential education and found the teaching style and curriculum to be well suited for my academic growth. The programs where exciting and challenging while the relationship formed between my fellow students and teachers allowed a close knit learning community to form.
The direction I took with my thesis work evolved out of the great learning community that the MES program developed. Along with six fellow MES students, I applied for and won a P3 grant from the EPA to develop an information matrix on the benefits of living-roof technology. This was an amazing experience that I will never forget. It culminated in our team presenting our findings to the EPA in Washington D.C. The P3 grant formed the basis of my thesis work on building ecosystem matrices for habitat development by implementing living green roofs on a large scale in the urban environment.
The MES class of 2005 chose water as the special area of interest to use for case study and discussion. I now find myself working for the Arizona Department of Water Resources right smack in the heated policy and allocation debates that many of our class topics revolved around. I couldn't have asked for a better work assignment straight out of the MES program. I am able to continue in discussions and work in a program that is trying to navigate around very important environmental issues of water allocation and natural resource conservation. Finding the balance between growth, prior appropriation use, and the ecological needs of the waterways and the land has been a great way for me to take everything that I learned in the MES program and use it for a greater community good.