Abbey is wearing green shorts and a tshirt and hugging Smokey the Bear Abbey is wearing a National Parks uniform and smiling with a mask under her chin. Abbey is wearing shorts and a tshirt and a backpack at the rim of a canyon

Name: Abbey Dearwester ’18

Education: BA in Ecology

Current Hometown: Moab, Utah

Employment: Interpretive Park Ranger – National Park Service

Other Interests: Cycling, avid hiker and explorer of the desert backcountry.

Can you tell us about your current work? I educate some of the millions that visit Arches National Park annually in desert ecology, geology, indigenous history, and climate change and conservation. This includes education of school groups, families, and people from all over the world. I lead guided hikes, campfire programs, and stargazing programs at Arches, an International Dark Sky Park.

How did Sterling influence your current career path? At Sterling, particularly in my Capstone courses, I was able to engage in healthy debate on a variety of environmental and social issues. This exercise helped me immensely; I gained confidence needed to express my ideas and feelings in a passionate, direct, but respectful way.

I find inspiration from the intelligent and passionate young individuals I interact with through my NPS work. Watching youth discover the wonders of National Parks and conserved spaces gives me hope for the future of environmental conservation.

What is your most memorable “out in the field” story? Playing Basketball with Zapatistas in Chiapas, 2017, through the Global Field Studies program. A turbulent thunder storm came though when we were open camping under an awning at their compound later that evening, all that I could hear was wind, thunder, and dozens of howler monkeys screaming in the nearby jungle. I didn’t get much sleep that night; but it’s a soundscape I will never forgot and can still clearly recall to this day.

Any words of wisdom for current Sterling students? Field Experience is EVERYTHING! Get all of it you can while you attend Sterling, there are bountiful opportunities in the Work Program and in your coursework. Additionally, AmeriCorps and the Student Conservation Association are EXCELLENT opportunities to become involved in public service and environmental conservation!

Filed Under: Alumni Blog