Wano Urbonas learned the importance of helping people help themselves through his years of environmental health work around the world, places as far away as Niger, Mali, Zaire (Congo), Belize, and in his own backyard in Western Colorado rural communities. While training local counterparts in water and sanitation skills and appropriate technologies, he developed a concept that he has coined ‘WHITEWATER’: We Help Integrate Technology & Education, and We All Take Equal Responsibility.
Wano is the founder and currently elected President of a fledgling Montana conservation non-profit organization known as the Western Environmental Leadership League (WELL). For his TogetherGreen fellowship project, Wano will spearhead the development of a core team (dubbed “WELL drillers”) of eight individuals and agencies with the expressed purpose of creating place-based conservation leadership training tools and exercises. His ‘Watersheducation’ project is an essential prerequisite to the initiation of WELL’s proposed 2013 Environmental Progression Training Program.
“Montana Tribal and rural communities are in dire need of forward-thinking, community-oriented watershed practitioners,” explained Wano. “The project will immerse communities of bird supporters, watershed protectors and citizen leaders (rural & Tribal) into a shared habitat equation. By providing innovative conservation leadership training to Montanans, within Montana, by Montanans, we believe we can significantly contribute to Montana ecosystem protection at the watershed level.”