Ryan Gilliom '17
Protecting the Great Outdoors
Ariel Dineen ’17 and Ryan Gilliom ’15 are interning in New York City this summer at the Open Space Institute (OSI), a North American leader in environmental conservation that protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes. OSI is one of eight domestic “partner” organizations that host internships sponsored by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.
Dineen, a biology major with a double minor in Educational Studies and Environmental Studies, is revising the organization’s annual McHenry Award. The four $5,000 grants are designated for undergraduate and graduate students to work on projects that contribute to environmental conservation, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism in the Hudson River Valley. Dineen is working to increase outreach to college students and nonprofit organizations in order to attract more high-quality applications. After submitting her report for potential revisions, she is now working to put those changes in place. “It has been incredibly valuable to learn about the financial side of environmental studies and how huge nonprofits operate with regard to conservation and protection,” Dineen says.
Gilliom, a geology major with a minor in Environmental Studies, is working with OSI’s Conservation Capital program. Right now the program is distributing grants for permanent land conservation in the Delaware River Basin. These funds are intended to protect land that will in turn protect water quality. Gilliom’s job is to help document the development of a set of criteria to evaluate which land parcels should be prioritized. Her job mostly involves watershed science and land analysis through Geographic Information System mapping software. She has the most ownership over research focused on determining how to best protect active farmland. Gilliom’s final project will be to write a memo explaining her recommendations based on her findings. The work is well-suited to her interests, as she intends to pursue a career in hydrology after college.
One of the great benefits of the OSI internship is the opportunity to contribute to a large-scale conservation organization, but one of the challenges is understanding how individual roles can add to the whole. “I’ve had to adopt the mentality that every drop in the bucket counts, [which is] a key mindset of the land conservation movement,” says Gilliom.
—Sam Fox ’14