The first time I met my supervisor, Dr. Kimberly Winter, was in the Summer of 2012. I was interning for the US Forest Service Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air and Rare Plants staff. She had spent almost a year as a National Program Leader for the USFS. My first impression of her was very different from what I expected from a high ranking manager, in a positive way. The first thing she did was take all 3 interns (at the moment: David Trujillo, Emily Loubert and myself) outside, across the street to the park area around the Washington monument, and sat down with us in the grass to ask us about ourselves, our hopes, goals and dreams. This was something I thought was very nice of her because it showed she really cared about people and connecting with them.
That summer was a great one. We had the opportunity to interact with the community through outdoor activities in DC such as Pollinator Week and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. We even participated as specialists in Wetlands LIVE! (Picture above). Through these actives I noticed her passion for nature and great energy. Thanks to her great performance, and positive attitude, today Dr. Winter is Acting Director of USFS Conservation Education. At the same time, she runs the NatureWatch National Program. Just 2 years after starting to work for the US Forest Service, she has accomplished so much and is definitely a role model to be followed. But how did she get to where she is? Well, it was through hard work and a deep passion toward the environment.
When Dr. Winter was little Kimmy, her parents lived in a suburban community next to the woods. She would walk and play with her dog in the outdoors and help her mother with gardening. Her dad owned a pharmacy and she grew up playing with scientific tools her dad used to prepare medicine. Science, the outdoors and wildlife were in her heart from a young age. While in college, Kimberly graduated with a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife. After graduating she joined the Peace Corps, went to Bolivia and worked on cultural aspects of natural resources management and was involved in a research project in the Galapagos. For her M.S. she decided to study Ecological Anthropology at the University of Georgia which took her to Ecuador where she studied perspectives of the environment and how government worked with the local indigenous population on resolving environmental issues.
She continued her education by pursuing a PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Management that took her to Bolivia again where she documented subsistence practices of the Itonama Indigenous population. She graduated from her PhD and officially became Dr. Winter in 2002 and worked in the Wildlife field ever since. Dr. Winter is inspired by the work that Environment for the Americas (EFTA) does for the people, providing great leadership on the forefront of nature conservation education and environmental stewardship. She believes on maintaining a strong and permanent partnership with EFTA to work together towards better bird conservation and represents a good opportunity to draw minority youth groups towards conservation fields. She is currently the EFTA DC Supervisor working as a mentor and liaison to Forest Service upper-management. Our goal is to communicate the need for increased representation of minorities, specially Hispanics (largest minority group in the US), in conservation fields.