James Burke first came to ORK by taking the initiative at his school to raise money for our organization, as a part of a student fundraiser. He ultimately became an intern with us, assisting with water quality monitoring, assisted with various research projects, facilitated education and outreach at community events, and co-trained other Adopt-a-Stream volunteers. James helped pave the way for future high school interns and wish him all the best at Yale!
I started working with ORK the summer before my junior year of high school. I went to my first event, an Adopt-a-Stream training in May 2021, followed by a litter cleanup through the Don’t Litter Lotts Initiative in June.
What started as a way to fulfill my high school’s community service requirement turned into a new passion for citizen science, environmental stewardship, and freshwater ecology. I quickly began working with ORK as a student intern, where you could find me passing out informational fliers at the Statesboro Farmer’s Market or crouched over a creek testing for dissolved oxygen levels.
Although my role as a Lead Volunteer ended in February of 2023, I’ll always treasure the experiences ORK gave me, and I’ve grown to appreciate the environmental nonprofits across the country that give everyday people like myself the opportunity to help the environment.
I wrote my main college admissions essay on the community I found at ORK and the different personalities I met that shape this incredible organization. Thanks in part to that essay, Im headed to Yale University! I couldn’t be more excited, and my experience at ORK helped me land on a major: environmental engineering.
ORK changed the course of my life for the better, and I’ll always be grateful for the people I met and the things they taught me. I know ORK will continue to thrive, grow, and serve our watershed for years to come, and I hope the community continues to support their work.