I believe that protecting our planet is not only our duty as part of the human population, but also a requirement to us from our Deity. In the words of Pope Francis,

“The natural environment is a common good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.”

I’ve spent most of my vacations in the last 15 years exploring many of our National Parks: The Everglades, The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Glacier, Bryce Canyon, 
 Mesa Verde, Death Valley, Acadia, Arches, Canyons, National Reef, Zion, Crater Lake, Channel Islands, Wind Cave, The Badlands, The Petrified Forest, The Great Smokey Mountains, and Rocky Mountain National Park. I am always in awe of these peaceful, beautiful, soulful places and feel that we must ensure that they are fully preserved for future generations. We must not let regulations be rolled back that might endanger their continued health and safety.

Representatives from the Ohio Environmental Council were kind enough to meet with me to discuss some of the environmental issues that are a concern in Ohio. I agree with them that:

  1. Ohio laws do not go far enough to protect our natural resources or provide clean, safe, affordable drinking water. Nearly half of our waterways do not meet the fishable, swimmable, and drinkable standard required under the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act fails to fully protect our drinking water.
  2. We need to ensure that Ohio is full of trails to explore, towering trees, and inspiring natural landscapes. I vow to keep fracking out of our publicly owned parks and forests.
  3. Because horizontal fracking is new to Ohio, our laws haven’t kept pace. We need to close the gaps in Ohio law, and immediately put the necessary protections in place to protect the health and well being of all Ohioans.
  4. We need to move the power sector away from fossil fuels, and towards to cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy.

Representatives from the Ross County Soil and Water District and the Pickaway County Soil and Water District were also a great help in helping me to understand the close relationship that they have with local farmers. They work hand-in-hand to help farmers increase their productivity while at the same time protecting our precious soil and water resources in Ohio.

I also met with two women who are doing their part to preserve Ohio farmlands, forests, wetlands, prairies, and other various ecosystems. Krista Magaw manages the Tecumseh Land Trust and Nancy Stranahan manages the Arc of Appalachia.

The Tecumseh Land Trust, founded in 1990 by citizens in Yellow Springs and Miami township, is a nonprofit conservation organization serving Greene and Clark Counties of Ohio and surrounding areas. Its purpose is to preserve agricultural land, natural areas, water resources, and historic sites, in voluntary cooperation with landowners, and to educate the public about permanent land preservation. They assist landowners in navigating state and federal easement programs, as well as, accept donated easements on farmland and natural areas.  When their current projects are complete, they will have preserved over 28,000 acres.

The non-profit Arc of Appalachia was founded in 1995 as a grassroots organization. They currently have seventeen preserve regions. The Arc works to accomplish forest preservation by buying forested land and then slowly expanding these forests in size as funds for land procurement becomes available, allowing the woodlands to naturally age and diversify. The Arc also preserves important associated Eastern ecosystems such as wetlands and native prairies, as well as ancient American Indian earthworks.

It was fascinating to learn about both of these programs and how they are helping with the conservation efforts in Ohio. If elected, I hope to learn more about these programs and others like them. I also would like to see them further expanded and more land saved for our future generations.

I earned my Masters Degree in the Teaching of Science from Montana State University. I chose this program because most of the classes were conducted outside: in Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, the Gallatin Mountain Range, and Makishiko State Park. My first class that I took was Dinosaur Paleontology; this was the class that got me into this program. Who doesn’t want to go looking for dinosaur bones? And find them I did! My greatest discovery was a theropod phalange: that is the knuckle of a T-rex. It was one the best adventures of my life! And I came back with the belief that science class should be conducted outdoors. And for the next three years, outside did we go.

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