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ES Student Profile
Anna L'Hommedieu '02
Mellon Environmental Intern, Summer 2000 Shorebank Pacific
Mellon Environmental Intern, Summer 2000
Here's what Anna has to say about her experience:
As a division of SouthShore of Chicago, a socially minded bank corporation that encourages investment in poor Chicago neighborhoods, Shorebank's target region is the coastal temperate rainforest stretching from Alaska to northern California. The bank's mission is to encourage the growth of small business in order to build a strong economy and a healthy environment. Currently the bank's focus region is lower Columbia River and Willapa Bay, an area historically known for its salmon, oysters, crab, and mussels. Located in Ilwaco, Washington on the Long Beach Peninsula, the bank's headquarters are strategically placed in a resource-based community at the heart of the coastal temperate rainforest. With the decline in salmon populations and restrictions of timber harvest, ShoreBank is helping to reinvest in an economically deprived area. By putting local citizens in touch with resources to develop environmentally sustainable business practices ShoreBank promotes efficient use of the region's natural capital and its natural resources.
As an intern I worked in the headquarters office and lived with one of the bank's directors in a small town ten miles up the peninsula. With a small staff of about 10 full time employees, the bank put me to work on a variety of projects. One aspect that clearly makes the bank unique is that there is a full time scientist on staff. Working for Kathleen, the scientist, my first project was to develop an informational handout on the commercial development process that takes place at the county level. In my research, I became a specialist in setback requirements and septic plan options and also learned a good deal about the scientific reasoning that justifies the countyUs requirements. I attended meetings with the development planners in Oregon and Washington and was able to get word out in the area about Shorebank's services. The bank will use the handout now for all potential loans clients interested in a commercial development to give them an idea of the fees, time frame, minimum requirements, potential delays or obstructions (i.e. wetlands) they should expect to encounter in the development process. ShoreBank will be able to use the handout in conjunction with promoting the use of durable building materials, efficient energy, and appropriate site location to explain how building a structure that will last is in the clientUs best interest since their building is their investment.
A second task of mine was to work with the Director of EcoDeposits on the development of the bankUs newest product, the Partnership CD. Changing gears from science and research I was now doing marketing and personal relations work for the bank. I put together a comprehensive spreadsheet of like-minded environmental organizations worldwide for the bank to target sales of the Partnership CD. The concept behind the Partnership CD is to encourage both environmental organizations and their members make deposits with ShoreBank and in doing so make money available to for environmentally conscious projects. I attended several of the negotiations with environmental non-profits in Portland, Oregon and worked directly with the bankUs media specialist to develop brochures and visuals to be used in an upcoming convention.
Before my time at ShoreBank was up, I began work on the bank's most recent assignment P a water quality report on Willapa Bay. For this project I found myself in the midst of a heated Water Quality Symposium where there were many actors with opposing interest in Willapa Bay. As a neutral party and an outsider from the community, the bank sent me as a representative. Parties at the conference included the Army Corps of ngineers, the EPA, scientists on contract from the University of Washington, the County Health Department, The National Marine and Fisheries Service, the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, and the Oyster Growers Association. Although all have a steak in the future health of Willapa Bay, there was great controversy over the current state of the bay and where regulation should be imposed. From there I was sent to the University of Washington's cranberry research station on the peninsula for further investigation. I was able to compile a fairly complete history of the scientific studies that had been done on the bay and the bank is currently in the process of calculating a value for the entire bay as well as organizing public hearings.
My time spent at ShoreBank Pacific was invaluable and I left feeling confident that I had contributed something significant to a movement that I believe will one day be mainstream. Being thrown into a workplace situation was the greatest application of my education and being able to perform a variety of tasks ensured that my time at ShoreBank was always interesting. I highly recommend an internship experience of any kind and I can safely say that ShoreBank would be more that happy to have another intern on the way