I am a Natural Resources and Environmental Science major at the University of Kentucky in the class of 2021. I am very passionate about our natural environment, and my involvement with the Student Sustainability Council and the Office of Sustainability has allowed me to remain active in environmental sustainability efforts on campus. Additionally, as an Outdoor Pursuits trip leader, I help UK students engage with outdoor recreational activities, and share with them the importance of connecting with and learning about the natural world. Some of my interests include spending time in nature, whether that’s rock climbing, hiking or simply nature-bathing, as well as learning about ethnobotany and urban forestry. After I graduate from UK, I hope to pursue a career that allows me to continue to engage with environmental sustainability efforts in my community. 

Below is a short interview with Claire:

 

How do the goals and objectives of Urban Forest Initiative align with your interests?

The Urban Forest Initiative is a dynamic organization that skillfully and meaningfully marries relevant climate science and community engagement to develop and implement innovative solutions to climate change and contributions to urban forestry. As a community-oriented individual with a keen interest in ecology and climate change mitigation, UFI’s goals and values align with my own. I am interested in the various relationships between humans and the natural environment, and particularly, how these relationships manifest in urban forestry. I hope to work toward integrating a deeper understanding of ecology and climate science into our built environment to help contribute to sustainability efforts in my community. Working with UFI can help me achieve some of these goals, as UFI is committed to understanding how we can better our communities through protecting and improving our urban tree canopy. 

 

What excites you about working with UFI as part of this internship?

I am excited to work with a highly talented and dedicated group of scientists and community activists in pursuit of bettering our community through urban forestry. I want to use my background in environmental science in a way that engages the public sphere with environmental sustainability efforts, and I think UFI will give me the opportunity to do this. UFI values its members, regardless of academic or professional stature, so I am confident that my ideas will be valued within this organization. It’s exciting that as an undergraduate student, I will be able to engage with meaningful work in a field that I am passionate about, and with an organization that values me. 

 

How do you feel about trees?

Trees are an immensely important part of my life. Trees offer relief from the sometimes overwhelming effects of our built environment, and their meditative qualities help me stay grounded amidst the chaos of everyday life. They remind me to stay connected with the natural world, and are a constant source of inspiration and motivation for me to continue to learn about and protect our environment.  

 

I am excited to work with a highly talented and dedicated group of scientists and community activists in pursuit of bettering our community through urban forestry. I want to use my background in environmental science in a way that engages the public sphere with environmental sustainability efforts, and I think UFI will give me the opportunity to do this. UFI values its members, regardless of academic or professional stature, so I am confident that my ideas will be valued within this organization. It’s exciting that as an undergraduate student, I will be able to engage with meaningful work in a field that I am passionate about, and with an organization that values me.