My name is Emma Olney, and I am an incoming Junior at Bowdoin College. I am very excited to have joined the MCFA team as a summer fellow!
I grew up in York Pennsylvania, where I enjoyed learning about my surrounding rural landscape and the hunting and fishing so central to my community’s culture. Having long been passionate about the natural world and the life it supports, I joined an organization called the Pennsylvania Governor’s Youth Council for Hunting, Fishing, and Conservation in high school. In this program, I applied my scientific passions for wildlife, aquatics, and forestry to state policies regarding hunting and fishing. With my peers across Pennsylvania, I provided testimony at state game and fisheries agencies to advocate for bills that expanded access to hunting seasons, advocated for policies that prevented the spread of communicable wildlife diseases, and created public service announcements for safe boating practices. My proudest moment included helping to pass PA Senate Bill 147, which ultimately allowed Sunday hunting in the state, a move that increases access to several hunting seasons for full-time working folks and youth.
At Bowdoin, I am majoring in Environmental Studies and Government and Legal Studies. I am interested in both the community and policy-oriented aspects of the natural world, as well as its scientific ecologies. Last summer, I spent two months on Kent Island, Bowdoin’s research island off of Grand Manan, Canada, where I conducted forest regeneration and moss research. This fall, I will participate in Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Semester, in which I will spend my days in Harpswell at the Schiller Coastal Studies Center to complete intensive labs and an independent marine research project.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time at Bowdoin’s radio station, WBOR 91.1 FM, where I am a manager, art director, and weekly DJ for a 90s female punk rock show.
I am very excited to join the MCFA this summer because I would like to explore the social science and community-building side of environmental studies outside of my classes, similar to my previous work in Pennsylvania hunting and fishing. I learned about the MCFA in one of my environmental policy classes at Bowdoin and felt connected to the organization’s eye toward protecting the working waterfront in conjunction with the environment (displaying a compassion toward communities that is sometimes lacking in academia). I hope to build off of my ecological interests in Maine’s landscapes and learn more from the people who work most closely with the environment—like Maine’s dedicated fishermen. I am looking forward to diving into some current policy issues in Maine fisheries, such as offshore wind conversations, communicating working waterfront information to Brunswick residents, and possibly studying fishermen’s oral histories.