Today: May Yang, career pathways program manager at Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa, where she is focused on increasing diversity in the ranks of environmental fields.
“A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold. As I begin my job I believe it is important to understand the historical figures (and development) of the conservation movement, such as John Muir, Rachel Carson and even author Richard Louv. Leopold reflects on the beauty of the wildlife scenery and principles of land ethics. He’s taught me to value natural resources so we can pass the experience to future generations.
I am learning about environmental justice. The Environmental Protection Agency states that justice is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people” when it comes to developing and implementing environmental laws and policies. To me, it means we need to work with communities and create equitable opportunities to those who have historically been displaced. Still, I notice many community leaders and neighborhoods are working together to create better access to all people. Last weekend I went to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s open house for Hocokata Ti, the tribe’s new cultural center. In one of their sessions, secretary-treasurer Rebecca Crooks-Stratton talked about a campaign called “Understand Native Minnesota” (understandnativemn.org) to improve understanding in Minnesota education of the state’s Native people.
Aside from Korean and Chinese dramas on Netflix, I recently saw episodes of the “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.” Minhaj explains modern cultural issues with satire, but his explanations help me understand them better. I’ve also seen “Rotten,” which is a series about corruption in parts of food production. It made me think about my grandparents as immigrants in the U.S. They worked at a food assembly company, packing produce for 10 hours a day for minimum wage. The series also made me conscious of the food industry’s environmental impact, and of the type of food I should buy and consume. I’ll continue to support local farmers.
A favorite podcast is “The TryPod” (they are the Try Guys on YouTube). The group discusses its experiences as internet content creators. The guys are relatable and try spontaneous, interesting challenges.
I served my first term as an ad hoc member on the state’s Parks & Trails Legacy Advisory Committee. The committee is charged with enacting the 25-year parks and trails legacy plan. State and regional parks and trails receive a little more than 14% of the funds generated from the 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Our group’s aim is to ensure great parks and trails to connect people to the outdoors and take care of what we have.
I am passionate in my job to provide resources for minority students to achieve their goals through Conservation Corps’ pathways program, in its pilot year. I have 16 intelligent college students participating! (More information at conservationcorps.org/idec.)
I have been busy this year with my new job and wedding and family happenings. I love to hike and travel. I visited Garden of the Gods Park and hiked at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado last month.