April 20, 2018 | Last summer, after a month of technical training with other BIA WaterCorps members at the University of Arizona Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, JoRee LaFrance traveled back north to serve with the Crow Water Quality Project (CWQP) in southern Montana. There, JoRee and the CWQP team collected water samples from rivers, streams, springs, and wells throughout the reservation to test for E. coli and uranium contamination. JoRee took those samples to Montana State University where she helped conduct isotopic analysis. When the CWQP team found homes with contaminated wells, JoRee helped distribute clean drinking water.
For JoRee, directly addressing her community’s health as she honed her technical skills in water resources is exactly why she joined the program. JoRee reflected that, “The most important thing I learned about natural resource management is collaboration…It is hard to accomplish huge tasks alone and working with my site has been an amazing opportunity to get a first-hand perspective on how collaboration should work.” Last fall, JoRee presented her findings at the national American Indians in Science and Engineering Society conference in Denver, CO. She plans to attend graduate school and continue improving her community.