Contrary to public belief, television encouraged me to go outside, play, and feed my imagination. When I was in elementary school, I would watch the same show every morning before I started the day. I always looked forward to turning on Animal Planet in the morning and watching Backyard Habitat. It made me excited for the day and ready to learn.
The show was about a group of contractors and landscape architects that would turn people’s backyards into natural habitats for local wildlife. After watching the show I would spend the entire day outside building houses out of twigs and leaves for snails and building “nests” for birds. I even built a sad excuse of tree house for some squirrels in my front yard.
This show inspired my passion for nature and animals. All throughout elementary school I was convinced that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I absolutely love animals and I have never met an animal that doesn’t love me back. When my cat died and I realized that I could never emotionally handle not being able to save the life of someone’s best friend. Then I decided that I wanted to be a landscape architect like the ones in the show. I started studying the types of plants that would thrive in my local temperate zone and drawing out “blueprints” with all of the changes that I wanted to make to my own yard. My Dad went along with some of the plans, but I was never able to convince him to put in a fish pond.
Once I became a Junior I knew that it was time to start seriously thinking about what I wanted to do in the future and wanted I want to major in. Still convinced that I wanted to be a landscape architect, I sought advice from my close friends and family members who all told me that I was capable of doing something so much bigger than landscaping local areas.
This took me by surprise because I had always been so set on landscape architecture. Based on the advice that I received, I was supposed to find a career interest that would be impactful, but still involve all of the things that I love. Two interests that developed for me outside of television were math and the National Park System. My goal was to find a career that still involved my childhood passions of being outdoors, building things, and being creative, with my math interest and love for the National Parks.
This is when I decided that I wanted to study Civil Engineering with an environmental concentration. My goal is to design and built structures that draw more people into the National and State Parks. Similar to Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park and the Skywalk in the Grand Canyon, I want to create places that draw people in and encourage then to love nature just as much as I do.
All of these dreams began with the Backyard Habitat. The people on the show made it easier for animal species to strive in a human environment. My goal is to switch things up and make it easier for humans to see and respect wild environments.