When most people think of Washington, D.C. they think of a large city with a lot of concrete and not a lot of nature. For Stephen Reiling, an Environmental Protection Specialist in the Water Protection Division of the District Department of the Environment, there’s is a lot more to D.C. than concrete and office buildings. His job brings him to a lot of the beautiful, natural places within city limits that many local residents don’t notice.
Looking out on the Big Meadow in Shenandoah National Park, it’s not hard to understand what drew Sally Hurlbert to her job here and also what has kept her here for a number of years. Sally is a Park Ranger in Shenandoah National Park, a job that allows her to combine her deep love of the natural world with a talent for sharing her knowledge with others. Her work as an outdoor educator allows Sally to teach people about the natural resources of the park. This allows her to explore many different disciplines of science like wildlife biology, botany, aquatic biology and chemistry, and geology.
Adriane Michaelis, a faculty research assistant at the Paynter Oyster Research lab at University of Maryland, is getting paid for doing what she loves: SCUBA diving! But her job isn’t just, “getting paid to do what many people pay a good bit to do.” She’s doing some very important work to help protect the oysters in the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.
Kevin Lutz is an Agriculture Conservation Technician and Assistant Agriculture Program Manager with the Lancaster County Conservation District. This scientist works with farmers to protect their land and the associated local waterways. He can be found doing everything from checking the construction of a manure storage facility on a dairy farm to walking fields and developing a conservation plan on a hog farm to comparing water quality reading in local streams. Sometimes he can even be found selling trees at the Conservation District’s annual tree sale! The variety in his job keeps it exciting, while the end result keeps it rewarding.
For Dr. Beth McGee, a Senior Water Quality Scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, science is all about passion and the outdoors. Dr. McGee has always loved running through streams, catching fish and tadpoles, and hiking in the woods, so her job as a scientist is an extension of that. She is captivated by figuring out how things in nature “work.” She says, “Whether it is how animals adapt to their environment or how temperature affects ecosystem processes. I find it all fascinating.”
Jenny Newland, executive director of Canaan Valley Institute, uses science everyday to focus on improving water quality in rural areas of the Central Appalachians. She works with different groups and people from all over her region to find sites and develop plans for stream restoration projects. She also uses math and business skills daily to develop budgets that estimate how much projects will cost to complete so that communities can raise funds to protect their water resources.
Dr. Ken Paynter uses his curiosity about the world and how it works to drive his everyday work with the “Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences (MEES)” graduate program at the University of Maryland. Leading a large research program requires him to be constantly questioning the world around him and how it works, which he loves. Ken says that, “once you make one observation, it typically conjures up a bunch more questions,” which keeps his job interesting, because he’s always learning new things.