Introducing Sara Carmichael
Pristine white beaches, expansive serene state parks, and hiking trails that provide ample opportunity to experience animals in their natural habitat. The area I’m talking about is Sarasota, Florida…or Florida in general…the place I was lucky to grow up in and where my environmental roots took hold. I have always loved the outdoors and Florida is the place where I could literally be outside 365 days a year.
My first poignant experience with nature that I remember was when I was ten. My father took me to the beach on a random Saturday to not only enjoy the sand, sunshine and water but to participate in the annual beach clean-up hosted by a non-profit called Keep Sarasota Beautiful. This experience paved the way for my love of nature. I continued to foster my wilderness and volunteerism spirit throughout high school and straight into college. At the University of South Florida in Tampa I became an active member of the largest co-ed service organization, Alpha Phi Omega, and received my BS degree in Environmental Science and Policy.
After graduation I joined AmeriCorps and provided water quality education to over 300 primary school students and 1000 adults in Knoxville, TN. During that year I found and developed my passion for water quality and environmental health. Besides providing education and leading service projects that involved building a water filtration site and removing invasive plants, I also took charge of the Adopt-A-Stream program for Knox County. In ten months, I was able to motivate, organize and assist forty volunteers remove over five hundred pounds of trash from their local waterways. Throughout the year, I also took advantage of the many opportunities that living in a ‘mountainous’ city provided like hiking, skiing and camping which nurtured life-long friendships.
After that life changing year, I decided to further my education at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University where I received my MPH in Global Environmental Health. It was a long two years but those years gave me endless knowledge on how to increase the health of the public while also positively protecting the environment.
Moving to Washington, D.C. after graduation was an easy choice for me. I fell in love with the city when I visited in the past and I soon realized that this is the place to be to make the biggest impact on environmental, drinking water and public health issues. This city is where things are constantly happening and I’m so happy to be part of it. I also appreciate that there are mountains, rivers and hiking trails so close to the city if not right outside my front door.
I am truly excited and honored to work with the Sierra Club on their outdoors program. Knowing that I am part of decisions that will influence national bills, impact children throughout the country and get more people outside is thrilling and so rewarding! I hope my health expertise will be useful for the club when it comes to understanding and communicating the fact that a healthy environmental equals a healthy population. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!