March 20, 2012
Passion. It’s what drives people in the environmental conservation field. Passion for preserving natural wonders, protecting endangered flora and fauna, restoring degraded land, improving policy, changing behavior, reducing industry’s footprint, achieving environmental justice, creating sustainable societies, and improving the lives of people across the globe.
Passion. It’s the key to our success. The field of conservation is truly multidisciplinary and encompasses a broad spectrum of careers, ranging from ecological restoration technician, to environmental educator, to business sustainability consultant. But no matter the subdiscipline, passion is the common thread tying all of us together. Without it, your efforts fall flat, and you’ll never reach your full potential. You’ll go through the motions – and experience some level of success, to be sure – but the highest achievements will continually remain out of reach without passion propelling you toward them.
Passion. It’s what I’ve felt ever since I went back to school and started my master’s program at U-M’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. It’s also what led me to concentrate in two very different subdisciplines: Behavior, Education, and Communication and Conservation Biology. Practically speaking, the most successful conservation professionals are those who possess an interdisciplinary knowledge base and have a diverse set of skills, and my University of Michigan education has equipped me in just that way. Conservation problems are multifaceted, and environmental professionals need to be well versed in both natural and social sciences so they are prepared to overcome any challenge. To achieve great success – and truly make a difference in local environments and on a global scale – we must grow our skills and knowledge and fuel our efforts with the most critical element: passion.