I go by Mary and am originally from Glenview, Illinois. Currently, I live in Asheville, North Carolina. I am halfway through the EPM program with a concentration in Natural Resource Management. From my experience in the program’s courses I took this far, I have learned how biodiversity is important in terms of nourishing the planet’s health. My past professional experience as an environmental education facilitator at the Wilderness Youth Project involved observing and interacting with wildlife at a single site (Lake Los Carneros in Santa Barbara, California), once a week, over a six-month period of time. It was interesting to witness the kids (and myself) get to know and develop reverence for the animals there. My personal experience hiking and camping across the west coast has exposed me to some fascinating creatures, as well. I enjoy noticing the unique demeanors, attributes and tendencies of various animals. So, I am pumped to learn more about this course’s topic. I am particularly interested in the conditions leading up to the creation of the Endangered Species Act. I am curious about how the act is implemented in the context of private versus public land owners and its impact on conservation planning. I enjoy gardening, biking, watching movies, hiking, taking my dog to the park, seeing sunsets, and cooking. A fun fact is I make books filled with my photography of murals. Others can support me by extending the discussions with intriguing articles and asking questions.
Comment by Fenton Kay:
Welcome, Mary. I really like your background in teaching kiddos to love nature. I’m looking forward to your insights as we move forward in the class.
I lived in Santa Barbara for a year doing NEPA work on a big military project to put missiles on trains in big valleys all over the west. I don’t think I ever went to (or heard about) Lake of the Butchers (that is the correct translation, I hope). I loved SB and sometimes wish I had stayed, but …
Stay safe and stay well.
Thanks, it’s nice to e-meet you again. Speaking of teaching folks to love nature, I recently watched My Octopus Teacher, a Netflix film that I strongly recommend. It is about a diver swimming with an octopus that lives in a kelp forest off the coast of South Africa.
Your NEPA work sounds interesting as I figure you got to learn about a lot of plant and animal species all over the west to determine how they would be impacted by the proposed project. A NEPA project involving multiple locations in the various valleys would be comprehensive as I typically imagine NEPA work being centralized to one location for a given project. I aim to do a train ride through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, one day. Yes, the Spanish-style architecture is beautiful in Santa Barbara. I also miss the tacos there but started making delicious ones at home with feta.
Comment by Fenton Kay:
Hi Mary. You are right. That period of fieldwork was extremely edifying and provided me with a lot of experience and background for future work. I really enjoyed many aspects of SB. We used to run on the beach at Burro Beach. The oil particles in the sand would mark our feet (we ran barefoot) so we called ourselves the speckle-footed beachrunners.