This is a blog on environmental conservation but with a unique emphasis: it will focus on success stories and will showcase the work that women are doing to conserve the incredible species, habitats, and ecosystems that make up our home.
Why focus on success stories? Don’t other blogs, websites, print media, etc. report and discuss conservation successes? Yes, but, more often than not, what we hear about the environment is gloom and doom. There really is hope and we need to acknowledge it. Otherwise, why should we continue to work and fight for conservation (though not talking about gloom and doom is unavoidable, but at least it won’t be the focus).
OK. It is good to focus on successes but why will I be showcasing the amazing work that women are doing in conservation?
To explain this requires a little background. I direct the Environmental Conservation program at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA , USA (yes, I am a landlocked marine conservationist!). Cedar Crest is a wonderful place to be a professor. It is small, it is liberal arts, and MOST importantly, it’s a women’s college. This is notable because there is still a significant bias against women in the sciences, affecting women at all levels – from K-12, to college, and beyond. And here lies the value of a women’s college for women who want to be scientists: students at women’s colleges graduate in the sciences at a significantly higher rate than women at co-ed institutions and they are more likely to obtain leadership positions post-graduation. The bottom line is that women who study science at a women’s college are more successful. While I believe that this bias is not as severe in conservation, it still exists. So I am hoping this blog helps in some way to chip away at this bias.
I will do this by focusing primarily on what my students, and whenever possible, what other women are doing to conserve the environment. Don’t get me wrong, this blog will have its fair share of stories about this or that environmental problem, and will report on efforts of both women AND men but it will have more than its fair share of stories about the women who are committed to making a difference. Stories will, of course include the scientific, political, and practical advances in conservation, but also the exploits, words, and pictures of Cedar Crest students. Because, ultimately, our hope lies in the success of the next generation of (women) conservationists.