My name is Danielle Tryon and I am an intern for the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association this summer. I am a rising sophomore at Susquehanna University, double majoring in Environmental Science and Biology.
In addition to my studies I serve as the co-president for my school’s environmental club, I ride on the English equestrian team and work in the Office of Sustainability. As an introduction I thought I would bring you along with what made me fall in love with this field of study.
Growing up I had a kind of underdog story. As a child, I was diagnosed with multiple food allergies.
I was allergic to multiple food, all which were life-threatening and would send me into anaphylaxis. This forced me and my family to be more cautious and doing some normal activities, like traveling, proved to be difficult.
My parents, however, were adamant to find some way for me to travel and have learning experiences outside the classroom. At the age of 8, we purchased a motor home which enabled us to take our kitchen on the road with us. This was a decision that has greatly shaped my interests and passions today.
Having the opportunity to road-trip around the country and visit national parks has fostered my love for the environment, and a passion for a career in the sciences.
During one of our travels in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia I had the opportunity to go in a stream, observe the habitat and handle salamanders through a junior ranger program. As a kid, I was fascinated by simple experiences in nature and still today, as a college student, they still leave me in awe.
Prior to working with the MSRKA this summer I was working in streams with Susquehanna University's Freshwater Research Institute doing sediment, fish and salamander sampling across the Susquehanna Watershed.
All of these accumulated life experiences have cemented my interest in the environment and my passion to do my part to protect it. Forty-six states and countless national parks and Junior Ranger programs later, I was lucky enough to fall in love with the outdoors and truly appreciate the beauty of our planet.
Learning outside of the classroom and gaining new perspectives has made me realize that getting kids outside and in the field is crucial to ignite their love for nature. However, traveling around the country isn’t possible for most, so having local programs that can foster the same passions is so important. If people don’t know about these resources, they can’t love and protect them.
Now having one year of college behind me, I am eager to continue learning all I can so I can better understand the world around me. Then with this understanding, I will be better able to share my love for the field with young people and continue to actively learn through my own research.
This summer with the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association I hope to do just that -- further learn about the watershed and interact with people that call it home.
Our planet is an amazing place and I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to make a change through environmental education and research at the MSRKA, Susquehanna University and beyond.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.