Member Spotlight: Ariel- student, volunteer, sustaining member
By Keri Johnson, AmeriCorps VISTA
Ariel Chamberlain joined Rural Action in 2020 as a monthly sustaining member after finding that the organization’s mission aligns perfectly with their personal and professional journey.
Currently studying environmental science with a focus on data analytics through Southern New Hampshire University’s online program, Ariel moved to Athens in 2020. They came to Rural Action by way of a friend, who works for the Sierra Club.
“She knew that [Rural Action] was right up my alley,” Ariel said. “So I checked your website, and found that your organization basically has the same goals in life as mine – protecting the environment and building community.”
Because of that, Ariel said, “I decided to join as a member and try to volunteer when I can.”
So far, Ariel has gotten the chance to volunteer with Rural Action’s Watersheds program. They volunteered with the team to perform water sampling last fall, at local acid mine drainage abatement sites.
“Acid mine drainage abatement is definitely high up in my interests,” Ariel said. “So connecting with the watershed team to do that was really great.”
Ariel’s volunteer experience paired well with their personal, professional, and educational goals, they said.
“Learning more about acid mine drainage was really interesting to me. I come from a family of coal miners so ‘giving back’ what was taken from the land is part of my ancestral legacy that I’m trying to accomplish,” Ariel explained. “It was also interesting because I started a chemistry class the next week – perfect timing.”
“I come from a family of coal miners so ‘giving back’ what was taken from the land is part of my ancestral legacy that I’m trying to accomplish.” — Ariel Chamberlain
Ariel is transitioning careers – finally merging their previous work in data science with their love and passion for the environment. They are most passionate about environmental sensor data, or data collection from environmental devices to monitor environmental quality.
“I want to use my data skills for protecting the environment, rather than for business or money,” they said. “I love nature. We’re part of it; it’s silly that we think we’re separate. We need it to survive.”