This month, interns at Castro Valley High were joined by guest speakers in the environmental field who introduced their career paths and climate work. Alexandra Starkel, a Wetland Restoration Specialist in Seattle, Washington, spoke to the group on her background in the environmental field and how her education and experience lead her to her current role leading restoration projects in the Puget Sound. In her presentation, she explained how the process of mitigation banking provides large-scale restoration, enhancement, and preservation opportunities, promoting the goal of “no net loss”. If the environment is negatively impacted in one place, it can be mitigated for in another place within the same watershed. This essentially cancels out the impacts so that no environmental functions are lost within the watershed. Interns learned about the importance of involving all stakeholders throughout the process as well as the different types of restoration- reestablishment, enhancement, and preservation.
The next week, interns welcomed another guest speaker who talked about the UN Paris Climate Agreement and her role as a Country Engagement and Gender Analyst. Dena Kleemeier gave Earth Team interns a breakdown of the UN Paris Climate Agreement and what the countries that signed on to it pledged to accomplish for the sake of climate change. During both guest speaker talks, interns were intrigued by the different career paths you can take in the environmental and climate field. Interns wanted to know more about how these professionals navigated their studies and careers, asking questions related to their own interests. Becoming more aware of the intersection between the environment with careers such as politics and technology, interns are learning a lot this semester about the interdisciplinary ways they can pursue their many passions in relation to the environment for a climate positive future.