Shawnee National Forest is one of many natural places on our planet that holds a special place in my heart. Hiking these trails have given me purpose in life. Little did I know growing up on the trails of Shawnee that I would one day be working towards a career focused around the protection of these public lands. Before my involvement with an undergraduate education and involvement in the world of conservation, I had no clue about the complexities of our environment–what is at risk and what goes into the creation, maintenance, and protection of the land. However, through this I have learned that right now our environment is under attack.
Global climate change is one of the many factors that are negatively impacting our environment. The existence of the world as I know it is changing rapidly. Weather patterns are changing. Forests are being cleared. Protected lands are being depleted. Biodiversity loss is quickly occuring.
Despite this all, I remain hopeful. It is people like myself, my colleagues, and other environmentalists that give me hope. There is much ground to cover and much work to be done. Yet I remain optimistic. I hope that the state of the environment becomes a part of everyday discourse. I hope that more and more people begin to understand the importance of protecting our environment.
Though I alone cannot do everything to solve these problems, I will do my best to be an advocate for our environment. I will continue to educate myself, my family, and my friends. I will live sustainably and thoughtfully. I will continue to pursue my passions. I will continue to put myself in the path of encounter with the sweet embrace of our environment.