Harrison Raine ’15 Awarded Watson Fellowship to Study Ecological and Societal Impact of Wildfires
Congratulations to Harrison Raine’15, a senior at Colorado College, who was recently awarded a Watson Fellowship. This fellowship will provide funding for him to travel abroad for a year to pursue a project of his own design, “The Ecological and Societal Balance of Wildfires.”
The Watson Fellowship is not simply a research grant, but instead, “supports students of ‘unusual promise’ to give them the opportunity to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership, and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world.”
Harrison sums up his project this way, “Climate change is increasing wildfire frequency and severity, causing ecological shifts and societal damage. Many nations are not prepared for these trends, others mis-frame the issue as a human versus nature conflict. On my Watson, I will investigate fire history, ecology, and management in fire-prone countries. I aim to understand the feasibility of balancing ecological needs against societal fears.” Harrison’s research will take him to Greece, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and Canada.
As a senior at Viewpoint, Harrison was interested in pursuing a career as a firefighter – including being a smokejumper. The initial concept for this project even began at Viewpoint, in Hilary Hunt’s AP Environmental Science class. However, it is the qualities of mind and character sought by the Watson Foundation, that Harrison’s father Kendall views as the most important things he learned at Viewpoint.
He writes, “Harrison’s project concept may have started with AP Enviro class, but what the Foundation saw in him stems from the encouragement and confidence Viewpoint gave him. In his four years at Colorado College, Harrison ran full throttle: a member of the men’s lacrosse team, co-chair of the Honor Council, member of the President’s and Provost’s councils, and a highly successful student. Each summer he worked as a wilderness firefighter for the National Forest Service. This trajectory was set at Viewpoint. Amy and I could not be more pleased as we believe the next year will be profoundly transformative for Harrison. We think you have every right to be extremely proud of the fine young men and women you send off to college every year.”