I’m excited to return to Massachusetts in order to help Greenovate tell the story of Boston’s environment!
Growing up at the mouth of the Merrimack River in Newburyport, MA, every day I witnessed the relationship between nature and culture, natural resources and economy. Attending Newburyport Public Schools, my favorite teachers turned our community into our classroom. They taught us about the changing seasons on bike tours through the Great Marsh at Old Town Hill in Newbury, introduced us to estuarine habitats on dories in the Merrimack, and encouraged us to investigate local civic issues like the response to the rapid erosion of Plum Island.
The ecological identity of coastal Massachusetts was embedded in everything growing up. As a member of the cross country team, I trained in the sprawling woods and trails of Maudslay State Park and instead of summer camp, my friends and I spent as much time as we possibly could at the beach in Salisbury.
It was always a given that natural resources were vital to the identity of my hometown. Fishing is still a major industry in Newburyport’s economy – as are outdoor recreation, whale watches, and outdoor venues for the strong arts and music community.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to grow up so immersed in nature. I consider myself lucky, too, for having witnessed firsthand the profound effects that climate change has had on my hometown. Not because it brings me joy, but because it allows me to understand what a changing climate can really mean to a community. As a coastal city, it has been at heightened risk from intensifying storms like Hurricane Sandy and the relentless snow of 2015. Storms like those, along with rising sea level, are responsible for the rapid erosion of Plum Island, which is home to many residents and rare habitats, and serves as a barrier island that protects the inland community from the sea. Boston is also a coastal community that experiences many of the same challenges that Newburyport does, which is one of the reasons I was so eager to be back here. I want to apply my understanding of these issues and to learn more about how this city has adapted thus far.
Over the past several years, I’ve learned about people’s relationships to the environment in other places, too. I went to George Washington University in Washington, DC, where I majored in environmental studies. I worked for a U.S. Forest Service water quality program in rural New Mexico called Respect the Rio during the summers, and studied at the Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Costa Rica. After graduation, I worked for The Nature Conservancy on a new sustainable land management program on Martha’s Vineyard called the Vineyard Habitat Network, and then moved to Portland, Oregon where I worked for city’s Parks and Recreation Bureau.
I am so happy to return to Massachusetts and support the City of Boston’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change as Greenovate’s Writing Intern. I am excited to contribute to the work Greenovate does by providing a platform for Bostonians to share their stories about what the intersection of culture and environment mean to them, and I look forward to developing as a writer as I help Greenovate continue to engage Boston’s diverse communities!