Scholar Spotlight: Cathleen Anthony
Cathleen Anthony is the Pennsylvania Projects Associate at Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. A former Maryland state park ranger, she is a voracious reader, having read 60 books so far this year! The genres she reads range from nonfiction, sci-fi and poetry to mystery, romance, horror, memoir, and more.
We recently asked Cathleen about her experience with Lancaster Watershed Leadership Academy.
Q: What inspired you to get involved in the Watershed Leadership Academy?
A: My supervisor suggested the Academy to me because I was new both to my role and to the area and she’d heard it was a great way to connect with other folks passionate about clean water.
Q: What is your main motivating factor to strive for clean water?
A: Clean water is a basic necessity not just for people, but also for animals and plants and ecological processes. Its essentiality makes it the ultimate unifier. I work in the environmental field because I care about the well-being of people and living things. Clean water is the base factor when it comes to well-being.
Q: What were your first thoughts about the Academy?
A: I was surprised at the different walks of life that all the scholars came from. My specific environmental education so far in my life unfortunately hasn’t been very diverse. Mostly white, male-dominated, and coming from a stable middle-class background and thus had the free time and disposable income to recreate in natural settings, my college years were spent alongside these types of folks. Perfectly good people, but didn’t come in with different perspectives and therefore we didn’t have much opportunity to learn from each other. The Academy has helped shake that up.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish through your participation in the Watershed Leadership Academy?
A: My main goal has been to network with other people and organizations in the Lancaster region and environmental field. I have also been pleasantly surprised at how much my self-confidence and leadership has grown.
Q: What has changed in the way you look at the environment since you began the Academy?
A: I’m not sure much has changed in the way I look at the environment, but the Academy has revived some of my interests that had become more complacent. You do anything long enough and it becomes a habit, and working in the environmental field is no exception. The chance to learn and grow helps remind and reignite some of the passion and remember why this matters to you in the first place.
For her Academy Action Project, Cathleen is working with fellow scholar Kali Rentzel to look into the feasibility of some sustainable options for the Armstrong World Industries campus in Marietta.
“Working on private land is a unique challenge every single time because the challenges and goals vary so widely,” she said of her project. “But the vast majority of the land in Lancaster and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is private, so we need to learn about techniques and programs to help in restoration, we can’t just focus on public land since it is not the main contributor of water issues.”
When asked what he is learning about himself through his participation in the Academy, Cathleen replied, “The vast majority of my work experience so far in my career has been in non-profit and governmental entities. I’ve always known that I personally would not thrive very well in the private sector, so my experience with a company like Armstrong is limited. But I am learning more about the motivations and drivers of private industry, as well as where common ground can be found when it comes to common or complimenting goals. I am learning that I do have the capacity to understand private industry and the value in making sure everyone is at the table.”