MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) is a non-profit that takes on projects like water quality, habitat protection, and keeping tires and other trash out of our forests.

On Thursday, Superior Watershed Partnership was presented with an award from Lake Superior Magazine for its achievements. We talked with four individuals who take on different roles with SWP about what they do and what inspires them.

Jonathan Waltz

Jonathan Waltz, Energy and Climate Conservation Office

Jonathan Waltz works with the Energy and Climate Conservation Office located on 3rd Street in Marquette. He works with energy assistance programs. Once folks are able to get help with paying their bills, Waltz connects them with the right resources to make their homes more energy efficient. He says one of the most rewarding parts of the program is the feedback.

Waltz said doing little things to make a difference puts a smile on his face, knowing they are doing good in the community. “And most of the time, people respond back very positively saying things like their kids were really inspired, now they are turning the lights off when they leave the room and its like (claps) kids are taking note, you gotta appreciate that.”

One of the people he helps connect people with to help with home heating and energy savings is Grant Rizzardi.

Grant Rizzardi

Grant Rizzardi, Superior Watershed Partnership Solar Initiative

Grant Rizzardi works in the solar field. He travels across the Upper Peninsula finding eligible candidates for solar panels.

“When you’re passionate about the work you do, you just want to work that much harder. It feels so good to help people who wouldn’t be eligible for solar else-wise.” Rizzardi continued, “Personally, I just like seeing the ripple effect. One small action can really make a big difference.”

Lindsay Dose

Lindsay Dose, Great Lakes Climate Corps

Lindsay Dose is a crew member with the Great Lakes Climate Corps (GLCC).

“A few of the projects we’re tackling this Summer are planting trees in the Yellow Dog Watershed. We were out there about a month ago. We planted over 2,500 trees. That’s all going toward the 100,000 trees we’re trying to plant in the next 2-3 years.

Another issue they are tackling is the Lakeshore Boulevard restoration. They are focused on making the area a space the community can use. Dose says her favorite part about working with Superior Watershed Partnership is connecting with the people.

“We have a great crew dynamic, it’s been a lot of fun. And just knowing what we’re doing is tangible and its real and we’re making a difference in the community has been really great.” Dose went on to say, “The variety of work we do, you have to adapt quickly and pick up new skills. We were working on a roof. None of us had done that before, but you pick it up and work hard and get the job done. It’s difficult but it’s also one of the positives of the job. You get all these skills you wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Nicole Sczechowski

Nicole Sczechowski, Great Lakes Climate Corps

Nicole Sczechowski is also a crew member with the Great Lakes Climate Corps (GLCC). She talked with us about some of the recent projects she’s been involved with.

“We started to lop a corridor through an Eagle’s Nest forest. The SWP has community forests throughout the U.P. We’re giving the community up there beach access. They lost their access when a property was bought out recently. We went through, mapped it out, lopped a corridor and started actually building a trail.”

Before Thursday’s award presentation Sczechowski was outside doing some cleanup work.

“Today we were actually out pulling tires out of a forest. We were back pulling tires out of an old mine site. We did that all yesterday, just hauled tires back and forth from sites to the dump. Yesterday we did 80. We’re up to 100 now.”

We asked her advice for those who might consider working for the Superior Watershed Partnership.

“I would say that if you like working hard and learning new things, this would be the job. This is an awesome organization. You’re always doing something new. You’re never bored at work. You’re all over the place. it’s a great place to see the U.P.”