Hello, my name is Emma Nehan, and I am the new On the Water Coordinator. I was born and raised in Troy, Michigan. At a very young age, my parents took me and my sisters camping, swimming, biking and hiking which kick-started my love for the outdoors. I love backpacking and spending countless hours immersed in the outdoors.
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in conservation biology and an associate’s degree in natural recourses technology from Lake Superior State University in 2015. I then decided to stretch my wings out a bit and took an AmeriCorps crewmember position with American Conservation Experience in Flagstaff, AZ. Being deeply immersed in the field of conservation solidified that this is what I wanted to pursue as a career.
One of the best full-circle moments I have had in my career was when I worked at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Los Fresnos as an ACE AmeriCorps intern. When I was an AmeriCorps crewmember, the team I was on had the privilege of installing over 10,000 tree tubes on native thorn scrub species to help restore the migratory green corridor for the American ocelot population in southern Texas at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. I then got an internship at that exact same wildlife refuge and was able to take off all the tree tubes on that exact field and reinstall them on another native thorn scrub species plot. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget being a part of because it was something bigger than myself.
However, the Great Lakes were calling my name so I took a seasonal position as a restoration dunes specialist with The Nature Conservancy at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The main task was to help eradicate baby’s breath from the dunes and to help the endangered pitchers thistle plant thrive in that region of the Great Lakes.
I then switched gears and took a permanent position as the Flagstaff recruitment and member support coordinator with Arizona Conservation Corps. This job placed me into the human dimension of conservation directly interacting with AmeriCorps members and teaching them the basics of field conservation while learning life skills. From teaching members how to fill out an I-9 properly to Leave No Trace practices. The number of skills I learned was indescribable, and the memories I made were priceless in the southwest.
I am very grateful for the experiences I have learned in the field of conservation and the knowledge I have gained from state, federal and nonprofit agencies. I am excited to start a new chapter in my life here at MUCC as the On the Water Coordinator and hope to bring all the knowledge and skills I have learned to MUCC, its staff and dedicated volunteers.