Parks to Politics

June 23, 2015

Written By: Erin Macri, Local Government Coastal Summit Fellow

Learn about Erin Macri and her Fellowship Here

Follow Erin on Twitter @erinm52!

“We’re all just calm and happy people together enjoying ourselves on earth.” - Ms. Leslie Knope


Throughout all of my academic and career endeavors I have found myself being granted amazing opportunities; the commonality among all of my opportunities has been the environment. Working towards bringing about environmental awareness and equality is a fight I foresee myself always combating in one form or another.


“You only get one chance to make a second impression.” - Ms. Leslie Knope


I have worked in many different places and have experienced a lot of things while working for the protection and preservation of the environment. Spending time working with EPA forms to backpacking through sandy, brushy, wilderness has always pushed me. I am pushed in my ability to mentally engage with my work and to physically overcome field obstacles, and I don’t always get it right the first time. Every time I enter one of these situations I mess up, fall down, make HUGE grammatical mistakes or etc. but I get back up again. I, eventually, figure it out and get my work done. It takes me awhile to learn new things but I expand my abilities each time.


“No one achieves anything alone.” - Ms. Leslie Knope


Working with your colleagues, and not just for them, strengthens professional relationships. I like working with people. I like being able to interact with the individuals I work with, which I believe develops an excellent working relationship. Conducting field assessments in rural conditions requires a lot of faith in the relationship of your team to get out, do the work, and get back safely. This also translates into office settings; putting together large, long-term projects requires consistent coordination and cooperation from all project team members.

Accountability; it is another characteristic that strengthens working relationships.  Being held accountable on a group level, and not just an individual level makes work relationships stronger. Being confident in your individual contribution and in the level of support from your fellow colleagues provides a person with the confidence to think big and explore new techniques.


“There are very few things I have asked for in this world. To build a new park from scratch, to eventually become president and to one day solve a murder on a train.” - Ms. Leslie Knope


I want to be Leslie Knope (a fictional character portrayed by Amy Poehler in the TV show Parks and Recreation). She is strong, smart, caring, and passionate about the work she is doing. I am passionate about the work I have done, am doing, and will do, for the environment. My career has taken me from city level government, to our National Parks, to non-profits and I have no clue where I will be next. I could never be President, but I would settle for head of the EPA; but it would be awesome to build a park and solve a murder on a train. 


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