Safiya Sabir


Safiya Sabir, SCA Hudson Valley Corps 2011

Program Assistant, The Science and Nature Program, American Museum of Natural History

SCA 2011: Hudson Valley Corps, Environmental Education Assistant at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in New York City

Safiya is pictured above left with fellow SCA alumni Diane Collins, Ann Pedtke, & Bonnie Ralston.

Hometown: New York, NY

College: Wells College

Current Occupation: Program Assistant, American Museum of Natural History


What led you down the path to conservation?

I have always had a love for science and animals. Even though I grew up in New York City, I spent plenty of time running around Central Park combing through the grass looking for bugs, climbing trees, and sliding down huge rocks. I also remember learning about the destruction of the rainforest and threats to humpback whale migration in elementary school. Exposure to these issues made me aware that human actions can have a negative or positive impact on the environment. I wanted to make sure that my actions would be positive ones. One day I will see a humpback whale in real life!

I attended Wells College in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Experiencing the beauty of Cayuga Lake was transformative. Gaining an understanding of how much attention is given to its watersheds was inspiring. Although Cayuga faces many environmental challenges it gave me hope that maybe the lower Hudson could one day be just as healthy so that people could enjoy being in, on, and around the water. 

How has SCA impacted your life and career?

Joining the SCA helped me get a foot in the environmental education field. I learned so much about science education in New York City and beyond. My supervisor Betsy Ukeritis was such a great person to learn from. She encouraged me and my fellow SCA interns to explore other departments within the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and get to know many career paths in the field.

I also really enjoyed the trainings! You can’t beat spending the weekend with fellow SCA members in beautiful locations. The service projects were fantastic opportunities to help out local environmental organizations and flex some muscle!

What was one of your favorite SCA moments?

My favorite SCA moment was planting Spartina grass in Pelham Bay Park — hands down the best park in New York City! I spent two days working alongside NYC Parks and Recreation scientists planting and taking breaks for bird watching. Working outside is always such a rewarding experience for me.

What’s the coolest part of your current job at the American Museum of Natural History?

My favorite part of the job is teaching science to families! Involving parents in their children’s learning helps continue the conversation beyond the classroom. The Science and Nature Program helps urban parents and children to confidently explore the outside world and ask scientific questions.

What should aspiring earthsavers check out on a “night at the museum”?

Lie down on your back in the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth to watch the earth’s layers disappear and then reappear on the Dynamic Earth globe. It’s mesmerizing to watch the earth transform as the ocean bottom, the oceans, plant life, and clouds are layered on top of each other.


More stories from our 75,000 Members