The Importance of Community in Finding Your Calling: Introducing the EHN Team

Editor’s Note: Today, a very special announcement. It was a little over a year ago this blog started off. I had already been working on the idea that past summer, and decided to just go for it. The only way to *doing* or making a difference, is putting yourself out there. And just to simply try. My thoughts for doing so were three-fold: 1) to connect with other women in the field of environmental history since I just didn’t know a lot of like-minded allies (figuring I couldn’t be the only one feeling like this!); 2) to show that the work and expertise of this group of people is relevant and important, and to talk about issues within academia and beyond that need to surface; 3) by doing so, to show that #envhistmatters, especially in this day and age. Everything can be related to this field.

One thing that has struck me most is the willingness and openness of EHN’s contributors to share not only their ideas, but to also share their #problemsofplace. Hopefully this can become part of creating a culture of openness, transparency, and empowerment. I think it’s vitally important to have these types of conversations. We are not alone in what we feel.

Even though I have loved connecting with new people in the past year, it has been challenging to balance things at times. For the longest time, I thought I could do it all. But I’ve realized it’s okay to ask for help. And when I finally did, Alyssa Kreikemeier, Emily Webster, and Lindsay Marshall stepped up. Today, I am excited to officially welcome them to the EHN Team. Expanding the team opens up time for me, and it furthers EHN’s growth at the same time. Moreover, I hope that this next step means we can take EHN in more public-facing directions. If you have any suggestions or ideas on how to do so, make sure to get in touch with us. Or on anything else for that matter. But for now, I would like to introduce Aly, Emily, and Lindsay to the EHN Team—and who better to do that than themselves?

Alyssa Kreikemeier, Content Editor

 “I found my way to environmental history via a circuitous path and have been delighted to find a home in a field that I happened into rather late in my graduate career. I was exposed to environmental history in a first semester seminar class in my American Studies PhD program. It was a historiography class, but the professor was an environmental historian so he introduced us to methodology through studies of energy, American Indian encounters, and the sea. As coursework can encourage, I waffled from art to environment and from memory studies to the landscape in ensuing semesters, always with the hunch that I might belong in Western and Environmental history but a bit hesitant to give up the commitments I started with. It was only as my coursework was concluding that I realized, despite my many intellectual curiosities, the lands and peoples of the North American West matter to me at a cellular level. Increasing uncertainty of whether I’d have the opportunity to pursue a career in academia forced me to choose a topic that I cared about enough to do regardless of job security while the amount of work required to produce a smart dissertation required that it address a topic I care deeply about. I knew to give so much life to a project without much external incentive it had to matter to me personally.

Around this time Elizabeth encouraged my nascent relationship with the field by inviting me to write for EHN. Having the opportunity to write from a personal perspective about my research helped me to connect to it beyond an intellectual perspective while reading the creative work of other young scholars deepened my sense of community. The blog-length and public-facing environmental history writing EHN shares does the important work of reminding us that we are not alone in what we do. Perhaps even more importantly, it reminds us that the stakes of our work matter beyond the walls of the academy, and it provides a much-needed platform for making connections, building community, and advocating for increased awareness of the ways in which our environments matter. I’m delighted to be a part of this vibrant community and look forward to supporting its growth as a new member of the editorial team.”

Emily Webster, Content Editor

“I am so thrilled to be joining the EHN team! When Elizabeth first reached out to me to write for EHN, I was one of just a few environmental history students at my university, and looking for a way to connect with the community at large. EHN not only gave me a platform to talk about my work and my grad school experience (that other scholars actually read!), but introduced me to a number of remarkable, underrepresented scholars and the incredible work that they do. I started to feel part of a larger, energetic community because of this platform. One of the best examples of the power of this community was evident at the most recent American Society for Environmental History conference, when a large group of contributors all gathered around Elizabeth’s poster to meet each other face-to-face. It was great to see the enthusiasm and camaraderie of young scholars eagerly discussing posts by one other that they had admired. I am so excited to have the opportunity to help grow this wonderful project!”

Lindsay E. Marshall, Outreach Coordinator

“I stumbled into environmental history in graduate school, and quickly realized that it was at the heart of my work, I just hadn’t seen it there. My eagerness to catch up on the field led me to EHN where I found a thriving community of underrepresented emerging scholars who were passionate about their research and sharing it with the public. When Elizabeth offered me the opportunity to contribute to the blog I jumped at the chance, and thanks to EHN and NiCHE’s support of my work, I’ve been able to pursue that research alongside some of the top scholars in the field. I look forward to the opportunity to bring others’ work to a larger audience and serve new scholars the way EHN has served me.”