am overjoyed to be joining IPC as the Office Manager and Development Assistant.  In this role, I will be focusing on providing executive assistance to the leadership team and working to expand fundraising and development efforts.

Growing up in White Marsh, Maryland, I spent my summer days outdoors, climbing trees, as well as fishing and crabbing with family on the Chesapeake Bay.  At a young age, my neighborhood forest was being threatened to make way for construction.  Therefore, my elementary-aged self decided to take action and went door to door with a petition in efforts to raise awareness, gain support, and save our little forest.  In the end my petition did not save the acres of trees, but it did spark a passion in me for environmental initiatives.

 

After attending a small Lutheran school in Towson, Maryland for seven years, I decided to go on to study biology and environmental science at Stevenson University.  While at Stevenson,I completed different internships that gave me additional environmental and administrative experience.  This included researching water quality and oyster growth in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor with the National Aquarium and the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) to later install a prototype floating wetland.  I also worked with the Arundel Rivers Federation to gain experience with the analysis of watershed issues, hands-on restoration and adaptive management of both watershed and habitat functions of the South River Watershed. 

During my time in college, I was also fortunate enough to study abroad in Quito, Ecuador where I focused on herbal medicine.  Over the course of my experience, I spent a week in the Amazon Rainforest and met with local Shamans to learn more about their healing practices.  It was fascinating to learn how they incorporate religion into healing not only people, but the land around them as well.  Natives of Ecuador view the Amazon and other regions as sacred and want to protect them from deforestation for capital gain.  There have been many advocacy efforts to preserve these biodiversity hotspots that allow for the sustainable production of medicine and intrinsic ecological value.  This experience was eye-opening and furthered my interest in learning about different cultures and religions across the globe.

I most certainly have a travel bug and am excited to be able to explore new countries once it is safe to do so.  Since Ecuador, I have traveled across Europe, Mexico, and to different states in the U.S.  There are many more locations I want to check off my bucket list but for now, reading about different people and places will have to suffice.

Today I am excited to share stories and knowledge that I have acquired from my education and excursions.  I am currently in pursuit of a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management with a Certificate in Philanthropy from Notre Dame of Maryland University and hope to bring new insight and expertise to help IPC grow.  Our mission is one that I will work tirelessly towards with all of the other amazing staff on this team because together we can work to restore and care for all of God’s creation.

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues… Let them grow!  Let them grow!” 

- The Lorax

 

Natalie Johnson

natalie@interfaithchesapeake.org