My first week in Monterey Bay composed of meeting the Elkhorn Slough crew and the Bureau of Land Management. I felt immediately welcomed into their space of work. Beyond learning about everyone’s role within these agencies, I learned about their history. Learning about the places people came from and the experiences that led them to Monterey Bay was intimate. I learned how some people were motivated to work in a natural resources field from a young age after visiting a park and becoming inspired by a ranger. Other people took a winder road, one filled with various degrees and companies before landing in a place like the Elkhorn Slough Reserve or Bureau of Land Management.

Looking from the outside in, I am in a pivotal moment in my life in which experiences like this are greatly chiseling and shaping the direction of my career and life. I am certain a major career focus for myself will always be in natural resources and their conservation, accessibility and equitability. Outside of my own life direction, I am also aware of the role and impact I have on the younger audience I interact with. I wonder how many kids will meet me or see me from afar and develop curiosity and a desire to work in the outdoors. I hope that at the very least, I instill a passion to protect outdoor spaces and the organisms that inhabit them.

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