In response to a host of developing societal issues, scientists across a wide spectrum of disciplines are studying the human-nature connection and what happens when we spend time in or become disconnected from the natural world. In this series, we’ll take a look at research findings and anecdotes from past Tremont participants related to the health, learning and behavioral benefits of experiences rooted in the natural world.

This edition we hear from Katherine Medlock, East Tennessee Program Director for the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Check out the infographic below the post to see the amazing work that Katherine has been helping to accomplish in our nature-rich state!

I’m really lucky because I love my job and I know that not everyone can say that. I work for the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and I think it is quite possibly the best job in the world! I believe in the work we do—I’m constantly inspired by it. I get up every day thinking about how my work makes a difference in the world and I get to work with great folks who feel the same way. They are all passionate about conserving our natural wonders.

At TNC, we know that the people who care about nature usually had an experience that transformed their lives when they were young. Mine happened at Tremont.  I first went to Tremont in the seventh grade for three days and two nights and it was a powerful experience for many reasons. I already loved being outdoors; my grandfather shared his love of nature with me but he had passed away earlier that year.  Tremont helped solidify that love of nature and my natural curiosity about the world in which we live by encouraging me to turn over rocks and dig in the dirt.  More importantly, Tremont taught me that there were things that I could do to protect nature—that I could make a difference.  I came back to Tremont the next summer as a camper because I wanted more!

My experiences at Tremont empowered me as a young girl to follow a career in the sciences. Now, I’m thrilled to be a part of a partnership between TNC, Tremont and others to make that same transformative experience available to more kids in East Tennessee. See, I really am lucky!

– Katherine Medlock, East Tennessee Program Director for the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy