Meet our (very first) member-of-the-month, Jesenia!

While this May has brought us great new experiences (reading period, mildly improved weather, this blog), it sadly is also the time when the school year ends and we say our goodbyes. This year, one of our goodbyes is a bit more permanent than the rest, for Jesenia Haynes, our sole senior member*, will be graduating. In honor of this farewell, we’ve chosen Jesenia to be our inaugural Princeton Conservation Society member-of-the-month; her absence will leave our world a little bit darker and a little bit smaller.

Meet Jesenia, an ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB) major from Tampa. She captioned this photo “Dis my new car waddup,” and you should definitely ask her about that. We sat down with her to ask a few questions before saying farewells.

Tell us about how you came to be involved in Princeton Conservation Society (PCS).

I first went to an internship tabling event that PCS was hosting, and learned that the club had been recently started by Noah [Mihan]. I already knew Noah from one of my classes and I wanted to join a club related to the environment anyway, so PCS was great because I knew I’d have a friend in the group. I also really like Conservation Society because it’s open and always accepting to new members year round, and I think it’s really easy to come to meetings and events and be as involved in the club as much as you want to be. With other clubs on campus, and specifically other environmental type clubs, I know they exist and I know that they host events, but I never knew how to actually join the club instead of just showing up to events.

What are the main things you’ve been doing in PCS?

Conservation Society is always hosting so many different types of events, so I really enjoy going to everything from “puppies and petitions” to movie screenings. I never get bored with the club. I’m also the Social Media Chair so I help manage the PCS Facebook page by creating events and posting photos and other club updates.

What are your plans for after graduation? Do they have anything to do with conservation? Has PCS influenced your plans?

Right now I don’t have anything set for the long term, but I’m trying to find a job in Boston and it’d be awesome if it’s related to the environment! In a couple years, I also hope to go to grad school and work in some management type of career related to conservation and sustainability.

This summer, I’m actually going to be a teaching assistant for a summer studies course for gifted middle schoolers for an aquatic biology, conservation, and policy course. I’ve always been interested in the environment and conservation so I can’t really say that the PCS has influenced my interests, but it has showed me that there are other ways to have a career dedicated to the environment that isn’t necessarily research, field work, or environment awareness campaigns. For example we had Carter Roberts, the CEO of the WWF, come to Princeton and speak, and I think that inspired me to try to seek out a leadership-related job in a large environmental organization. Working for the WWF would be super cool!

In the little time on campus that you’re not sleeping or doing something PCS-related, what else do you enjoy?

Watching Naruto and eating white cheddar popcorn.

Smartfood or Skinny Pop?

That’s a little personal.

What’s been your wildest PCS moment?

(Laughs.) I don’t think I’ve ever been super “wild” at any PCS event, but last year during the People’s Climate March in Washington, some other students and I ran into Bill Nye and I got a selfie with him so I suppose that was pretty wild.

What’s your favorite form of government?

Anything that gives me Taco Tuesday. What does this have to do with Conservation Society?

Nothing. How do you feel about democracy? Don’t you think sometimes we’d just be better off putting on “totalitarian regime mode” for a bit?

Are you trying to say something about PCS?

Moving on. Who is the Ellen to your Noah?

Noah is the Ellen to my Noah.

 

 

* Sole senior member who actually shows up to stuff

Kayaking on Lake Carnegie!

On May 11, 2018, the Conservation Society and friends left their preparations for final exams and papers to venture out into nature on a kayaking expedition in our very own D&R canal and Lake Carnegie. After dinner conversation with Emeritus Professor Henry Horn, who studies local ecology and conservation, we could not wait to explore one of the few wild places that our township has left, and it did not disappoint! We saw nesting geese, water moccasins, turtles, and cool local plants. We sliced past in the Princeton crew teams in our nimble vessels, basking in the perfect weather and even getting a sunburn here and there.

We would like to thank USG Projects Board for the amazing opportunity to put on this event, and we hope have many more events where we get people out into the nature that we want to conserve. Conservation is not only a national and international endeavor—it starts in our own communities. We must never forget that we are stewards of the natural environment all around us in Princeton.