Building a Green Career
At Rock Creek Conservancy, Braeden Bumpers is making a difference right after graduation
Braeden Bumpers is spending his first year after college graduation as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer at Rock Creek Conservancy in Bethesda. Bumpers is putting his Environmental Studies degree from Elon University into immediate use, coordinating the Conservancy’s Stream Teams as well as handling other projects. “I definitely made the right choice,” says Bumpers, who grew up in Cabin John. “I’m directly making an impact.”
A Degree in Environmental Studies Lays the Groundwork for Green Career Options
Bumpers did not begin college with a focus on Environmental Studies. “I went to Elon undecided,” says Bumpers. “I took a bunch of classes to figure out what was interesting to me, and really liked the Environmental Studies courses I took. Bumpers loves the outdoors, and wanted a job that he could wake up and feel good about going to.
Placement at Rock Creek Conservancy by the Chesapeake Conservation Corps
A chance contact put Bumpers in touch with the Chesapeake Conservation Corps. “I was forwarded a link about it by a family friend and I applied,” says Bumpers. Established by the Maryland State Legislature in 2010, the Corps’ Volunteer program provides leadership and career training for young people interested in environmental careers. It is open to individuals age 18-25 and selected Volunteers receive a one-year paid internship at a Maryland organization. The application process involves several stages to identify the best candidates and the best ‘fit’ with organizations. “I made it through the first round ‘meet and greet’, and then I ranked my choices, while the organizations did the same.” Bumpers recognized what Rock Creek Conservancy was doing, and knew he wanted to work someplace where he could make a difference. Braeden began his internship at the end of August 2011.
Rock Creek Conservancy Position Offers the Chance to Make a Difference
Rock Creek Conservancy is part of Bethesda Green’s incubator program. Serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Conservancy’s Stream Teams, Bumpers manages Stream Team Leaders which at about 10-15 sites. “I help coordinate volunteers and go to events to help out, says Bumpers. “It’s a really nice mix of being in an office doing research and coordinating efforts but I’m also outside which is really good for me,” he continued. Braeden also directs the Conservancy’s DC Downspout Disconnect program, which provides DDOE guidelines to DC residents who want to direct downspout flow to their lawns. Beth Mullin, Executive Director, praises both the Chesapeake Conservation Corps and Bumpers. “We were thrilled to receive a Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer, and Braedon is terrific, bringing energy, enthusiasm, and technical skills that are a real asset to the Conservancy.” Mullin feels that Braedon has taken on projects that have already made a real environmental difference, and with his help, they will be able to accomplish a lot more this year.
Environmental Internship Creates Broad Options for the Future
What are Braedon’s plans for the future? “I haven’t ruled out grad school but I may work for a few years,” says Bumpers, who credits his internship as providing an array of options. “This job has allowed me to make a lot of connections in government, nonprofits and businesses including one of DC’s largest green roof companies.” Bumpers encourages others to consider a green career. “If you’re passionate about it stick with it. It’s the only job market now that is expanding instead of contracting.”