At the age of fourteen, I started working at a summer camp nestled in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Thrust into nature, I discovered the peace and tranquility of quiet lakes and the myriad fascinations of a naturalist’s paradise. My adventure and education in the out-of-doors has been largely self-guided. I spent numerous summers spent pouring through field guides while crouched beside some humble creature or plant, or guiding nature walks with youth to teach about the importance of environmentalism, conservation, and the appreciation of wilderness.
Eventually, I expanded my horizons. I spent some time in the tropical Florida Keys and took a road trip from there to mountainous Northern Idaho and the grand Pacific Northwest. These new landscapes, filled with flora and fauna, fed my passion for understanding the logic and reason within nature as well as its grasp on the creative and emotional threads of the human psyche.
All the while, I lingered through academia, eventually earning my associate degree from community college. After struggling to find a job that allowed me to express my passion, I enrolled in the Biology program at Chatham University. Here, at Rachel Carson’s alma mater, I learned even more about the depth of the natural world, including botany, ecology, and environmental science. Rachel’s words have always been an inspiration to me, but her insights into the interconnectedness of all life, man included, is most influential. I hope to lead on a similar pathway as humanity enters a daring new era fraught with challenges to the existence of man and nature.