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Fort Lewis College Tribal Water Media Fellowship Program Awarded Grant from Walton Family Foundation

April 3, 2024
Following the positive outcomes of the first program in 2023, the grant is set to back more fellows in 2024

Washington, D.C. - The Walton Family Foundation today announced a second grant to the Tribal Water Media Fellowship Program. The program supports the development of the next set of Indigenous storytellers. Students awarded fellowships will research, create and present media projects related to water and its impacts on Indigenous communities.

“The students in our first cohort demonstrated amazing creativity in exploring the issues affecting Indigenous communities and unpacking complex topics to broad audiences,” said Kaitlin Mattos, interim director of the center and an assistant professor of environment and sustainability at FLC. “We’re very thankful for the Walton Family Foundation’s partnership in this program and thrilled about the impactful projects to come.”

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Mark Shields
Senior Communications Officer

The Tribal Water Media Fellowship is a joint effort between Fort Lewis College, KSUT Public Radio and Rocky Mountain PBS. It is housed at the Four Corners Water Center at Fort Lewis College.

The grant will help fund the program's 2024 fellows as they engage in a two-week summer intensive. Students from a variety of backgrounds and areas of study will learn about crucial tribal water topics. The fellowship will focus on sharing powerful stories using media.

The program launched in 2023 with a cohort of 12. The fellows produced audio, video and print projects for the first Tribal Water Media Showcase. The Durango Independent Film Festival selected two student projects this year. More are being considered for distribution by public radio stations.

“Climate change is impacting our water resources. And who better to tell that story than young people exploring the realities of the crisis," said Moira Mcdonald, Environment Program Director at the Walton Family Foundation. “Fort Lewis College, KSUT and Rocky Mountain PBS are dedicated to showcasing stories of resilience through a water lens to communities.”

Multiple organizations receive assistance for environmental journalism from the foundation, including:

  • PBS Newshour 
  • NPR Climate Desk 
  • The Associated Press 
  • Society of Environmental Journalists 
  • Planet Forward 
  • The University of Missouri 
  • Reasons to be Cheerful 

All journalism grantees retain complete editorial control of their work.

About Fort Lewis College

Fort Lewis College is the Southwest’s leading undergraduate research institution with its low student-to-faculty ratio and one-on-one, affordable instruction. The experience students gain here is responsive to industry demand and the ever-shifting landscape of higher education. FLC is a Native American-serving, Non-Tribal Institution offering an equity-focused educational approach. About 40% of FLC’s student body is Indigenous, representing more than 100 tribes and Alaska Native villages. With more than 55 majors to choose from, students become industry professionals, community leaders, and cutting-edge academics.

About the Fellowship

The Tribal Water Media Fellowship is a Walton Family Foundation-funded collaboration between Fort Lewis College, KSUT and Rocky Mountain PBS that gives students the opportunity to research, create and present multimedia projects centering on water, water usage, and desert communities. Student applicants to the fellowship can be from a variety of academic backgrounds, including, but not limited to; journalism, media, science and/or cultural studies.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit