Masha Edmondson, Community Conservation Fellow
Nothing beats that feeling of an early morning hike where the sun’s rays are peaking through the trees and dancing off the water. There is a sense of freedom in wandering among the trees and listening to the soothing sounds of water trickling down the river. The wilderness offers me this peaceful bliss, leaves me breathless, and makes me wonder, how can I protect it?
I grew up in DC and I couldn’t imagine my childhood without hiking up the Billy Goat trail, playing in Rock Creek Park, or the summer campfires every Thursday overlooking the Potomac River at sunset. For my whole life I’ve had this deep rooted interconnectedness with the Potomac River.
I got inspired by the environment at a sports leadership camp I attended in high school. The camp’s slogan will be forever ingrained in my mind: “Choose to matter.”
It was at this camp that I first heard the famous story, “The Boy and The Starfish.” The story goes something like this: A man walking along a shore covered with washed-up dying starfish notices a boy throwing them back into the ocean one by one. The man says to the boy that there are miles and miles of beach with hundreds of starfish and that he will never make a difference. As the boy throws a starfish back into the ocean he says to the man, “It made a difference to that one.”
This story changed my life.
Now, sports leadership camp didn’t quite lead to a professional soccer career, but it did shape my academic career by giving me the passion to peruse a degree in environmental science at the University of Delaware, where I am currently a rising senior. During college I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world while studying the environment. I conducted renewable energy research in Iceland and marine biology field work in New Zealand.
In the upcoming semester, I am writing a senior thesis on oceanic-atmospheric interactions to understand the importance of water movement because, after all, water is the driving force of all life. I am hoping this research will help uncover some of the secrets that water holds.
Working for a non-profit is a change of pace from my science-heavy, research background, but it has been an amazing experience! My first week I got to kayak on the Potomac, scout the location for a nature walk, and visit the River Center at Lock 8 on the C&O Canal. I’m so glad to be joining the Potomac Conservancy team for the summer and choosing to matter by creating a sustainable tomorrow.
See you on the river,