I currently work for a consulting company doing environmental permitting work. This means, when someone wants to build something, we tell them all the environmental regulation they have to follow in order to build their project legally. The field work involved with my job includes ecological surveying and wetland delineation.
Wetland delineations involve going out to a project site and identifying all the present wetlands. We identify wetlands using three main criteria: vegetation (are there plants present that would usually be found in wetlands?), soil (does the color and texture of the soil indicate a wetland?), and hydrology (how is the underground water moving and interacting with the soil?).
How do you think naturalists and scientists can use technology?
For my job, we often utilize internet databases that map known wetlands or wildlife habitat across the United States. I think technology can help increase and disseminate information about the abundance of natural resources, where they exist, and what is happening to them over time.
Hiking and camping. Waking up in the woods is one of my favorite things.
Nature-based memory from childhood?
I was 8 or 9 years old, walking around the woods behind my house by myself, not paying attention to where I was going, and I looked up and saw a heard of white-tailed deer right in front of me, fronted by a large buck with big horns. At the time, I was terrified.
Bowerbirds, because they’re so creative.
Lemon sorrel because there is a ton of it around here. And it tastes good.
Place to visit?
Any place international and new to me, I love seeing different cultures.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was little, I really wanted to be a pop star. It’s still my back-up plan.
What motivates you to work in nature?
The science of ecology amazes me – there are so many parts working together or working against one another, and the result of all those forces transcends the sum of the parts. Academically, I am very curious about the functioning of ecosystems. More important than that, however, is that being in nature just makes me feel great.
Hometown: Kingston, NY
Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Science (2012), Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Major: Natural Resources