Mohamed Oday’20

As a child, my dad was a critical of me watching cable television. In his eyes, cable television did not promote educational growth. His patience wore out and he cut the cable. However, this action caused trouble for him and my mother as they were no longer able to watch the news and weather. To fix this situation, my dad bought this clunky, alien-looking device called an antenna. My parents were now able to watch their news locally through public television. In addition, Public television also included educational television for children. It was a solution where everyone benefited. Time passed and these same children programs became less appealing. However, one night I saw my dad watching a documentary series called PBS Nature. Being able to see both the power and fragility of nature in the confines of my house was where my passion to protect these wild places truly began. However, this was a problem because I lived in Hartford and I could not simply go outside and enjoy this untouched nature I desired to see. Though there were beautiful places in Connecticut where I went to hike as child, it was not the same and this created a detachment from this connection to the wild. The lack of wilderness I experienced throughout the early years of my life became a deciding factor in choosing to attend Bowdoin College. Bowdoin was not only a campus filled with nature but also had a strong environmental studies program. I took full advantage of the opportunities presented to me by taking a variety of courses which include: Introduction to Environmental Studies, Perspectives in Environmental Science, Environmental Policy and Politics, and Environment and Culture in North American History. Through these classes, I was able to learn more about my passion towards nature and the protection of it through different points of view.

This summer I will be working with the Farmington Watershed Association, a private, non-profit organization that serves to preserve, protect, and restore the Farmington River and its watershed. In this internship I will hold the responsibility of water quality monitoring, stream crossing assessment, public education and outreach, and removal of invasive plant species. This position will require a lot of grunt work. However, it will be a beneficial experience. For example, the removal of invasive species will require the learning of the identification and the techniques used to remove these plants. In addition, I also can actually use the knowledge I learned from the PBS Nature documentary and Bowdoin to bring an impact and protect this important watershed. This opportunity may also provide insight for a future career path in the environmental industry as well as qualify me to take part in more complex environmental projects in the future. To end, I am excited to take part in this experience that will allow me to be paid to pursue my passion to enjoy and protect nature.