I feel so lucky to have been chosen as one of two 2022 summer interns with Friends of the St. Clair River, and even luckier to have been given the opportunity to stay on the team as Program Assistant. This is a chapter in the story of my life that will always be one of my favorites.
Having worked as a nurse for the past five years, my soul was yearning to be more in touch with nature, the water and the land that I live upon. I have lived in St. Clair County my entire life and grew up in East China playing in streams and ponds, forests and fields ever since I can remember. This opportunity to work with this incredible organization lit a spark in my soul that had gone out years ago and it has brought a beautiful healing to my childhood heart.
The experience that Friends of the St. Clair River provided me is far beyond what I can accurately put into words. I am forever grateful for the connections I made and all that I have learned throughout these past few seasons. My favorite part was being present in our weekly meetings, sitting with such incredible people who many times left me in awe at their genuine passion, concern and love for the environment, the land and waters that we call home. I also loved being involved in Stream Team, learning how to identify macroinvertebrates that are indicators of our watershed’s health. Being a part of this organization truly restored my faith and belief in humanity and our ability to come together to solve problems related to pollution, climate change and a general lack of environmental knowledge within our communities. It brings me so much joy knowing that there are so many people out there, so many organizations on a local level that are doing such huge important environmental work.
The knowledge and experience I have gained is absolutely priceless; it brings me peace and understanding, fulfillment and excitement for the future. Not only have I benefited from this journey, but those around me have benefited as well. I get to share this knowledge with my friends, family and most importantly, my 6-year-old son. As the seasons begin to transition, so is my life. As my time in this role has come to an end, I can’t help but smile when I reflect back on this past year. My life is forever changed, and I will be proudly stepping into this next chapter, a new person with this gifted experience and knowledge guiding me with every step I take.
Jacqueline Neisz held positions as an Intern and Program Assistant with Friends of the St Clair River. Jacqueline is a Registered Nurse at the Blue Water Hospice House. Her love of the waters and land in Michigan have inspired her to deepen her role of stewardship in the Blue Water Area.