Duke Engage Summer Volunteer Carl Heinz

My name is Carl. I’m a junior at Duke University studying Earth and Ocean Science. When I was in middle school I remember becoming overwhelmed with joy as the next episode of “Planet Earth” approached. This TV series brought the beauty of the outdoors into my house in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. From that moment on I knew that I had to see the world and fight to protect all inhabitants of this majestic planet. I worked a summer doing prairieland restoration and I learned about the importance of invasive species removal to increase biodiversity and habitat for native species. When I went to college I stuffed my schedule full of environmental courses and soon found myself overwhelmed with the amount of policy/debate involved with this field of study. I decided to shift my focus to a field of study more focused on the actual science, earth and ocean science. Learning about geomorphology and geology I soon found out how earth processes affect our ecosystems. That is where I have come full circle. I have realized that much of our landscapes change due to unhealthy ecosystems and human development. We compact our soil, pave the earth with asphalt and divert streams to meet human needs, all the while increasing erosion and pollution of our most valuable resource, the land. Restoration ecology bypasses policy and says, “We will fight with actions and not words”. Restoration ecologists go out into the world and make an immediate impact.

Duke engage is a program that sends students across the globe with hopes of opening student’s minds to a magnitude of different cultural issues. I decided to apply to the Portland program because of its emphasis on the environment and sustainability. When I was placed with SOLVE I was excited to work with a group focused on building community around restoration ecology. I was excited to get to utilize the knowledge I had obtained at Duke and to also learn about ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest.

 I am very grateful to have this opportunity and I would like to thank Duke University and SOLVE for their faith in me. Your support has inspired me to pay it forward and someday my gratitude will come full circle in one way or another.

Hobbies: painting, drawing, basketball, photography, cooking/eating, gardening, hiking, live music, track and field, and general exploration/adventure/travel.

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