As a recipient of the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies summer grants, Ellie Wachtel, class of 2017, worked in Portland, Oregon with Ecotrust. Ecotrust was founded by a Williams College alum and works to connect people with the environment around them. At Ecotrust, Ellie worked in a restored old industrial building, which became an office for many like-minded organizations.
Ellie worked on Ecotrust’s knowledge systems team as a map maker. Her main project throughout the summer was the North Coast Tribal survey. She worked with four tribes who spend most of each year on the Northern Californian coast collecting resources. Ellie interviewed tribe members about marine resources and used their history to learn. Some example questions Ellie researched were: Where do you collect resources? How do you college them? What areas are important to you? What areas are you concerned about? What areas are inaccessible?
According to Ellie, one of the problems for tribes is Marine Protected Areas. Although their protection of marine resources is very important, it is becoming a challenge for tribes to access necessary resources.
The survey Ellie created provided a baseline that shows how the tribes are being impacted and what they are afraid of. Using the information and research, Ellie made 173 maps this summer.