I think I was born to go into a career in natural resource conservation. I grew up outside, with my feet in the dirt, with a love of nature ingrained into my soul. I was raised by a single mother who was an avid gardener. Our backyard was a certified wildlife habitat, and very early on, I gained a great reverence for nature. We spent our days outside, where I learned the power of Earth’s life-giving natural resources, times I will never forget. This path, so clearly laid out, was hard for me to see at first. For much of my later childhood, I wanted nothing to do with the state of Florida. I became disillusioned with the magic and uniqueness of my home. It’s all I ever knew; how special could it be?
When I was 17, I graduated from high school and moved to Southern California. The stark alien landscape was jarring. I began to miss everything about Florida that I had taken for granted: the rain, the water,
the beaches, the sunsets, the natural diversity, and the bright greens of the landscape. It took me moving 2000 miles away to realize that Florida was a part of me that I could not shake.
While I was in California, I started taking college classes, one of which was called” Natural Resource Conservation.” It was the first time I had truly been exposed to the devastation our environment has faced at the hands of man. I was immediately drawn to the study of environmental laws that work to protect our valuable natural resources. Throughout my life, I have always wanted to be a lawyer, but one day it finally clicked… I was going to be an environmental lawyer, and I was going to dedicate my life, wholeheartedly, to protecting the natural world.
Today, I am now studying natural resource conservation at the University of Florida. I have never been more happy or excited for my future. I have focused my studies on natural resource policy and economics. Following graduation, I plan to join the Peace Corps and serve as an environmental volunteer working to protect the Earth and strengthen understanding of environmental issues in the developing world. After my service in the Peace Corps, I will return to the U.S. to attend law school. As Florida’s population continues to grow, the protection of its unique landscapes, wildlife, and valuable natural resources is paramount. I hope to one day use my legal skills to become an environmental lobbyist. As a lobbyist, I can create real change by working with and persuading lawmakers to pass legislation in favor of conservation.
My path has been shaped so strongly by my mother. My mother didn’t raise me with the intent to go into conservation, but now I know it has always been my calling. I want the next generation to be able to fall in love with the wonderful natural splendor of Florida, just like I did. The world is going to change dramatically in my lifetime. I will not shy away in fear or bury my head in the sand. The enormity of what must be done to change our fate is what motivates me and keeps me going. I know I have a job to do. I will devote my life to protecting the natural world – it is what I was made to do.