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Environmental Careers Rising to Top for Women

Fall 2013 Issue

Today's college catalogs boast hundreds of career paths. With all these choices, how do we continue to recruit women to enter the environmental field? One way is to connect them with the environment when they are young. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation staffers polled for this column all cited some connection to the environment as they were growing up. A person's early life experiences often shape career aspirations, and there are many ways that we can expose girls and young women to the rewards of working to protect the environment. Maybe you enjoy camping, hiking or fishing. Sharing your knowledge and fondness for the outdoors with young people gives them an opportunity to develop their own connections. Possibly you are an individual with strong convictions about environmental protection and would enjoy working with youth on projects such as cleaning up a neighborhood stream, organizing a volunteer monitoring effort or participating in building a community rain garden.

Working as an environmental professional is a terrific career. You work with dedicated people and have a positive impact not only on people today but also on future generations. The work is exciting - always changing as new challenges emerge and fresh solutions are developed. According to the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the environmental field is projected to grow 17 to 24 percent by 2020. As we face the many environmental challenges ahead of us, we need the brightest and best working towards solutions, and we want to encourage young people to be a part of this important effort.

Female NYSDEC staff members canvassed also noted the importance of helping guidance and career counselors to understand the multi-faceted nature of the environmental field. Young women can choose from among a multitude of environmentally-related careers. If a student likes science and math, environmental engineering or environmental science can offer rewarding career opportunities. In addition to the sciences, a young woman can contribute to the conservation of the environment through environmental law, environmental education or environmental journalism. There are many career paths in our field that involve a wide range of skills and talents. As counselors match a young woman's abilities with certain careers, options available in the environmental field should be among those brought to the forefront.

The NYSDEC is fortunate that many talented women chose to work here, and we are stronger for their hard work and diligent efforts. We look forward to more women choosing environmental careers and continuing to join our ranks.


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