by Pipa Elias, ’02, ’03, ’05, Former Board Member
Earlier this month Shannon Quist, ’00, ’04, traveled to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to join the SCA Board of Directors for the next three years. As a Board Member, Shannon will share her perspective as an intern with this governing group of the organization.
Currently working at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, Shannon is excited about this additional opportunity to serve SCA beyond her internships.
Shannon was an SCA intern in Rocky Mountain National Park, Channel Islands National Park, and in Congresswoman Eshoo’s office on Capitol Hill. She says the wide variety of experiences in her internships provided her with the chance to contribute to conservation in diverse ways, and she quickly “began to realize that, no matter my career path, the chance to ‘do environmental work’ would be there.” Furthermore, Shannon already feels that she is reaping the benefits in her current career as she applies the lessons she learned and tools she gained as an intern to her continuing work on environmental issues.
Shannon was in DC for SCA’s EarthVision Summit in April of 2008. A passionate advocate of conservation, she feels that the mission of SCA has remained relevant for 50 years because she understands that “we are inextricably tied to place, to land, to the environment. Whether living in a rural area, a city, or community somewhere in between, I believe the world around us impacts who we are.” Shannon thinks that SCA is one of the most tangible ways to contribute to conservation efforts today. However, she also understands that the conservation movement faces many obstacles.
She believes that “relevance continues to be one of the biggest challenges in conservation. How we talk and who talks about environment; how we frame environmental conservation and green jobs; and who is seen as the authority on these issues can be divisive.” Shannon’s personal and professional experiences have shown her that many emerging conservation leaders are working to bridge these challenges and build a broader, more inclusive movement.
For example, in her own current work at the National Museum of the American Indian, Shannon works with the museum’s focus of placing community voice first. Working in the Community and Constituent Services Department Shannon often has the opportunity to “connect individuals and groups who share interests and perspectives. This is one way the museum serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas regarding many critical issues, including the environment.” Shannon will work to bring this inclusiveness of voices to the SCA Board of Directors as she acts as the voice of young leaders for the conservation movement.