Join us in welcoming the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s new Digital Communications Coordinator, Emma Schatz! Emma will be focusing on our social media, blogs, and other forms of storytelling to increase engagement between the Foundation and its supporters. 

We sat down with Emma so you could learn more about her background and her passion for communications and the outdoors. Welcome to the Foundation!

Emma sitting on a rock overlooking the sunrise on the Moro Rock trail in Sequoia National Park

New Digital Communications Coordinator Emma during a hike up Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park. Photo: Fernando Rivera

I will always be enough for nature

My love of nature certainly grew when I had opportunities to backpack in places like the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Gila National Forest, but I am even more grateful for the local nature that has inspired me to get outside from a young age.

Growing up in Racine, Wisconsin I was able to attend school on the shores of Lake Michigan. I have fond memories of admiring the changing leaves at local nature preserves, learning how to fish at park ponds, and spotting different bird species while driving along Highway I-94. My love for nature and the outdoors comes from my dad, an avid hunter and fisherman, who was always bringing me and my sister along on his day hikes and adventures.

Two people in warm clothes in front of a lookout point at a state park, surrounded by tall trees overlooking a cloudy sky and green bluffs

Emma and her partner, Fernando, at Wildcat Mountain State Park. Photo: Courtesy of Emma Schatz

Not only has nature given me happy memories, but it has also helped shaped the person I am today. Nature forces you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to try different outdoor activities. Backpacking, kayaking, and horseback riding, to name a few, all helped grow my personal confidence on and off the trail.

Of course, one’s journey with self-identity is not without struggles. I grew up in a predominantly white community, and as a young mixed-race Latina woman, I have always struggled with my racial identity. During difficult times, I tend to turn to the outdoors for comfort because it has always been there for me. When I wasn’t “Latina enough” or “white enough” I was enough for nature. Always.

Combining communications and the environment

In May of 2022, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Environmental Studies and Life Sciences Communication along with a certificate in Chicanx & Latinx Studies. I am passionate about increasing diversity in the outdoors and believe that everyone should feel welcomed and safe while in nature. During my final semester of undergrad, I completed a WordPress research project which features significant BIPOC leaders in the outdoors, both historical and present. I also discuss barriers to accessing the outdoors and initiatives currently fighting for change. Additionally, I am currently a Midwest ambassador for SheJumps, a nonprofit organization working to get more women and girls involved in outdoor recreation.

During the summer before my senior year of college, I completed a three-week backpacking trip across the state of Montana through the non-profit organization Wild Rockies Field Institute. I received college credit for environmental ethics, strengthened my backpacking skills, and made life-long friends.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness challenged me in many ways, from flooded tents to grizzly bear encounters (yes, multiple…) and my time there taught me an important lesson: when we are in nature, we are guests in someone else’s home. This mindset has stuck with me since and has strengthened my relationship with nature to be just that, an actual relationship between two beings. While I do believe we have a right to experience the outdoors, I equally believe in our responsibility to protect it. 

 

Emma and two of her friends with backpacking gear on in front of a mountain and pine trees

Emma (middle) and her friends, Molly and Lane, backpacking through the Bob Marshall Wilderness during a summer backpacking trip with Wild Rockies Field Institute in 2021. Photo: Courtesy of Emma Schatz

Life after graduating

With my free time after graduating, I have been enjoying discovering new restaurants throughout Madison, exploring off-campus hiking and biking trails with my new puppy, Luna, and traveling with my friends and family to new places. I was able to visit my sister in California and adventure in Sequoia National Park, and in November I will be visiting my life-long friend in France while she completes a teaching program there. In the future, I hope to road trip across the US and continue exploring new places.

Luna, Emma's light brown and white puppy, giving her a kiss on the cheek while on a viewing platform looking over a prairie.

Emma and her puppy, Luna, have been exploring local trails around Madison. Photo: Fernando Rivera

Engaging with the Foundation

For the longest time, I have been a passionate communicator about nature and the outdoors. Through my degree in Life Sciences Communication, I have tailored my educational career towards combining storytelling and educational information to help connect people with nature. I am eager to continue this work at NRF and help grow our engagement on social media to draw more people into the amazing work happening at the foundation.

Please join us in welcoming Emma!

Written by Emma Schatz, Digital Communications Coordinator

Welcome to the Foundation, Emma!

We’re thrilled to welcome our new Digital Communications Coordinator, Emma Schatz.

Neotropical Flyways

The Neotropical Flyways Project is studying bird migration to help us understand the needs of migratory birds in their winter habitat.

2022 Birdathon Report

Whoop whoop! The 2022 Great Wisconsin Birdathon Report is here. 56 teams raised $117,000 during our 10th season of birding for a cause.

Welcome to the Foundation, Marta!

We’re thrilled to welcome our new Director of Philanthropy, Marta Weldon.

Welcome to the Foundation, Shelly!

We’re thrilled to welcome our new Communications Director, Shelly Torkelson.

2021 Photo Contest Winners

Every year you send us your best photos that capture incredible moments in nature. Take a look at our 2021 Photo Contest winners!

Welcome to the Foundation, Lindsey!

As we look forward to the next chapter, we are thrilled to welcome our new Conservation Programs Coordinator, Lindsey Taylor.

Foundation Member Spotlight: Jeff Bahls

Meet Foundation member Jeff Bahls and learn about his passion for wetlands and his Great Wisconsin Birdathon team, the Horicon Marsh Wrens. 

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act: A Once in a Generation Opportunity

This bipartisan federal legislation, if passed, would usher in a golden age for conservation for this generation.

Snapshot Wisconsin Brings Wildlife to the Classroom

High Marq participates in the Wisconsin DNR’s Snapshot Wisconsin program, focusing on monitoring local wildlife to contribute to community science.