Shortly after a recent Project WET training of all Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) retail District Managers at the San Francisco headquarters, District Manager for the Northwest Patrick Holzfaster said in an email:
“I was really impressed and inspired by our work with Project WET and our goal to reach 100 percent of employees with this curriculum going forward.”
The proud Nebraska native went on to explain his passion for Nebraska’s water wonder, the Ogallala Aquifer. Patrick noted that it is “one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the world and resides primarily under the Great Plains, where farmers and ranchers conserve and protect the aquifer while raising food to feed the world.”
After seeing his enthusiasm for the program, we asked Patrick—whose territory at LS&Co. covers not only Nebraska but also Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Washington, and who has been with LS&Co. since 2009—to tell us more about how he is using Project WET and why he cares so deeply about water.
Project WET Foundation (PWF): How you have used the Project WET and LS&Co. Water Ambassador materials so far? What activities did you find particularly useful and why?
Patrick Holzfaster (PH): The district manager team was introduced to the materials at meeting in August, and I rolled the training forward to my Northwest store manager team in late September. The trainings were engaging and easy to follow. The facilitation guide makes it easy to prepare and present, and the LS&Co Water Ambassador website makes it easy to obtain materials and find more information about Project WET. I am looking forward to working with my team to take this program out into the community, especially to local schools. The “Drop in the Bucket” activity is particularly useful in demonstrating how precious water is—especially fresh, available water.
PWF: Why is educating people about water important to you personally?
PH: Water is the gift of life! And, having grown up near Ogallala, Nebraska; and knowing about the Ogallala Aquifer drives me to promote conversation and education about water. Fresh water is not as readily available as most would think, and we can’t take for granted that water will always be there when we turn on the tap. We all have a responsibility and accountability for the amount of water we use daily and our impact on preservation and use. The exciting thing about Project WET and educating people about water are the simple, daily steps we can all take to use water more responsibly. I find that once someone is informed and educated on water use, they enthusiastically sign up to change or begin new behaviors on improved water use in their personal lives—and they want to share that with others!
PWF: How do you see yourself being involved in water education at LS&Co. going forward?
PH: I want to encourage my store teams to look for and be aware of opportunities in our local communities to engage students, groups and organizations that will benefit from water education. That means raising awareness and keeping the conversations alive during store visits, as well as engaging our consumers when discussing Care Tag for the Planet and Waterless product.
LS&Co. has been sponsoring the Project WET Foundation since 2015. Earlier this year, company leaders made a commitment at the White House to use Project WET to train 100 percent of their employees about water and sustainability by the year 2020. To learn more about what LS&Co. and Project WET are doing together, check out these stories: