Introduction: Maya Rodriguez

¬°Hola Todos! I’m Maya and I will be working at the Chesapeake Bay Office as an outreach assistant. I am a rising senior at American University with a major in International Relations (a focus on environmental sustainability) and a minor in Creative Writing. This position is a wonderful opportunity for me to explore the diverse career paths with the National Park Service. I’m a 20 year old Colombian-American who has always felt a peaceful connection with nature. My many trips to Colombia exposed me to its natural beauty, but also its lack of protection. It was difficult to see how the natural world is treated and that is why the National Parks Service is such an essential institution.

It is also important to consider all dimensions of the National Park Service, most importantly its history with the Indigenous people of this country. The land grabbing has left a generational mark on Indigenous populations. Recognizing this history isn’t to diminish the goals of the National Park Service but rather to work with it in order to create conservation efforts that are more inclusive. This is what the LHIP is about. Latinx youth are the future of the fight for the environment. Understanding the historical and racial context of environmentalism means we will not repeat mistakes of the past.

I am looking forward to working with the Chesapeake Bay Office and to see the inner workings of the Watershed and the groups designated to protect it. I have a personal connection to the Chesapeake, since it was a place my family would always go to in the summers. Then in college, I was able to take courses that taught me intricacies of the Bay ecosystem. This makes me particularly excited to be working as an intern at the Chesapeake Bay Office, as it is a job that specifically recognizes my knowledge and skills. As a creative writer, I’ve also explored the genre of nature writing and this position (especially with these biweekly blogs) is a great way to practice my pen in that way.

Seneca Creek State Park Garden

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