Freya Bairdsen is from Westmoreland County and attended both the PA Bucktails and PA Ursids field schools this summer. She is a 10th grade homeschooler.
More about Freya in her words…I grew up spending my time around forests, streams and swamps and the issues of biodiversity and habitat preservation feel very real to me. Natural history and science have always fascinated me. Being homeschooled gives me some extra freedom to pursue my interests; after studying biology last year, we decided this year I could focus on conservation biology. My other interests include Taekwondo – I’m really close to getting my black belt. I also take voice lessons and am part of the theater company Stage Right. I’ve always loved to sketch – landscapes, natural objects and people; last year I started a business drawing commissioned portraits.
Inspired by my WLA experience, this summer I started volunteering with the Friends of Murrysville Parks, a group that works tirelessly to control invasive plants. Next summer, I hope to continue working with the WLA, and also hope to join the Student Conservation Association on one of their national work crews.
What Freya has to say about Wildlife Leadership Academy:
The two field schools I got to do with the WLA this past summer were important experiences for me. I’d always been interested in conservation, but being only 14, I wasn’t sure how I could explore the field. I was so excited to find out about the WLA; it sounded perfect for me.
Once I found out I’d be able to go, my excitement was mixed with some nerves; I’m used to a calm, flexible environment and wasn’t sure what to expect. The camps were challenging, but in a great way. I got to talk to lots of professionals in conservation and see what working in the different areas might be like. I met cool students I hope to stay in touch with and, of course, learned a lot about bear and deer! The experience was completely worth any butterflies I had.
Joining the WLA has given me focus and direction. I feel it’s cleared a path that could take me all the way into my adulthood and career. Conservation is the most meaningful work I can think of; now I feel I have some momentum toward getting the skills I need to make a real contribution. I’m so grateful to the WLA, for putting these opportunities in front of me.
Freya was our first Monthly Corespondent for our NextGen Blog. She does a wonderful job of telling stories about her adventures outdoors including what she has learned! Besides being an great write, Freya is also an amazing artist.