GAMBIER — Mia Fox, the second Kenyon College graduate to become the Brown Family Environmental Center’s post-baccalaureate fellow, graduated from Kenyon on May 18 with dual degrees in biology and English.
Fox, 21, from Pittsburgh, started her conservation-related duties Monday, ready to make her imprint on a year-long position she believes is naturally geared toward each “post-bacc” fellow carving their own niche into environmentally friendly projects for the public’s benefit.
Fox commended Madeline Morgan, who finished her year as BFEC’s first post-baccalaureate fellow by engaging with stakeholders on community-oriented events like a night hike to listen for owls, and a successful Earth Day festival that offered its first-ever “Zero Waste” component. She does consider her BFEC position to be one of the most important examples of recent Kenyon graduates interacting with Knox County residents as well as out-of-town visitors, and so she relishes the opportunity and challenge. She is on the front lines, right after graduation, in representing the outward image of Kenyon.
“Because this is such a new position, it’s one that is still developing,” Fox said. “Madie (Morgan) helped put it on the map. Now I want to do what I can to carry it forward.”
Fox worked at BFEC last summer, helping with land maintenance projects like half-days spent on community gardening, and the other half-day working with others on the removal of invasive plants. This summer, in her first months on the job, she wants her focus to be partly on outreach, letting community members know they are welcome at BFEC and all of the programs it offers, and when they happen, helping BFEC Manager Noelle Jordan run each event successfully. Just some of the summer events coming up are a hands-on nature program June 15 where participants will make their own jams and jellies using edible flowers, and a “Make Your Own Native Bee Hotel” offering scheduled for June 22.
“I think I want to focus on helping to get the elderly outdoors, which can be tricky for a number of reasons,” Fox said. She offered that some elderly persons must be accommodated with specific needs in mind, such as those who have mobility issues. Fox also wants to work with Kenyon faculty members on environmentally beneficial ideas they have, as well as area students and teachers — whose presence at BFEC is nearly year-round and ties in with Ohio’s learning objectives for science. Her job, in effect, involves a lot of event planning of sorts, and those take the form of lesson plans to some degree when school-age students visit to learn about bird migration and other interesting topics.
“I would love to one day end up as a science writer as a career,” said Fox, who will be a regular writing contributor to “Field Notes,” BFEC’s seasonal newsletter.
“Noelle (Jordan) gives me a lot of free reign when it comes to what I’ll be working on,” Fox said. “She has a lot of trust in the process for this position and believes I can get done what I set out to do.”
Jordan, who created the post-baccalaureate position after a substantial gift funded it in perpetuity, said there were five or six applicants seeking the post. “So it was fairly competitive,” she offered. All applicants who were graduating in May at Kenyon were eligible to apply, and those with a degree in biology or environmental studies received a “bonus” toward their consideration. With a degree in English, it was clear that among Fox’s assets to the job would be as a writer.
“I also believe that Mia will be able to connect very well with the community,” Jordan said.