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Behind the Tap Spotlight: Conservationist Jasmine Scott

Meet Conservationist Jasmine Scott. Jasmine works at our Melvin L. Newman Wetlands Center where she talks with visitors about wetland habitats and their importance in helping us manage heavy rain events, filtering pollutants and providing a home for thousands of wildlife species. She also helps create enriching and relevant environmental education programs for visitors/groups of all ages and backgrounds. When she is not working with visitors, she is managing vegetation populations, learning more about the flora and fauna at the Wetlands Center, and keeping the wetlands/site clear and litter free.

Jasmine loves that her job allows her to make connections with people and share experiences with them. “Since some of our groups come from communities where an appreciation for our natural resources isn’t always fostered, it gives me the chance to spark that curiosity in kids, give them the chance to really explore the things around them, and hopefully help them gain an appreciation for nature spaces,” she says. “It also doesn’t hurt to be able to have the outdoors as my office when I want it, there is always something to learn and always something cool to share!”

One of the biggest challenges she faces in this line of work is creating a way to get everyone to understand the importance of protecting our natural resources and ecosystems. It can be a challenge to get someone to understand why we need clean water, green spaces, or these vital ecosystems, and it can become more challenging to get across the small changes that can be made daily, that have huge impacts on keeping our natural spaces healthy and clean. “I’ve learned I must acknowledge the victories I do have, no matter how small, and realize there’s a learning curve when it comes to knowing how to protect the environment. The best thing I can do is make sure I allow people a safe space to have these experiences and promote positive outdoor interactions.”

The pandemic definitely put a snag in being able to host groups more often. Since a large part of her job (and what she loves about it) is centered around providing educational experiences to students, COVID has limited their ability to have groups come out, or for groups to want to come out. It also has limited some of the activities due to social distancing. “We’ve done our best to adjust to these challenges and are always happy for the groups we do have! I’m looking forward to busier months, and more chances to interact with students/groups!”

Jasmine and Sr. Conservationist Danielle Bunch are intentional about promoting inclusivity and diversity in the work they do in a way that provides better programs, greater experiences by visitors, and a stronger impact. “I am always looking for ways to be more helpful. For example, I am currently learning American Sign Language (ASL) for work so we can provide tours and programs in the future to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.” #waterprofessional