Senior Applies GIS Knowledge With Local Nonprofit

WNMU senior Nichole Bouvet

© Western New Mexico University

WNMU senior Nichole Bouvet once worked in corrections and was into conservation and hunting in her free time so dreamed of perhaps becoming a game warden. But her professors persuaded her to minor in geographic information systems. “I’d still love to work with the U.S. Forest Service,” she said, “but there are so many opportunities in GIS.”

Having the course requirements behind her, Nichole sprung for a summer internship and senior practicum with the Silver City Watershed Keepers, a sister to GRIP. She started doing data collection in Pinos Altos Creek, San Vicente Creek and Silva Creek.

Points of interest she was collecting include legacy trees—“the oldest, most beautiful ones”—around which the Watershed Keepers can work to minimize invasive species and allow local trees to flourish. She’s also marking homeless camps to help the Town of Silver City understand where people are staying and find somewhere safer for them to go.

The organization’s overall aim is to develop a web app that will involve the public in clean-up efforts as well as raise awareness around the importance of a healthy watershed.

“I was nervous to start this job, because I wasn’t that in tune with how much I’d learned. But honestly, WNMU has been excellent in preparing me for this. I haven’t stumbled upon anything I can’t figure out yet,” Nichole said.

Another thing that once made her nervous was the thought of going back to school. “The kids were older and it was time for me to start pitching in financially, but I didn’t want to go with just any old job so needed more education,” Nichole said. “Plus, I wanted to show my kids that it doesn’t matter what stage you are in life, you can achieve what you need to be successful.”

Often looked up to as the class mom, she tries to keep other students on track while maintaining her progress too. The small class sizes help, she said. “All the professors have been more than willing to provide individual help.”

This is a WNMU student profile, Stampede: Faces, Stories, Lives. Get in touch with the names of other interesting Mustangs, and we’ll consider sharing their stories here.

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