Tidal Influence alumni, Julie McNamara, went on to work for LSA Associates as an Assistant Biologist and Arborist, monitoring endangered and threatened species and conducting tree surveys.
Was there anything you were surprised to learn about during your time with Tidal Influence?
I was surprised to learn how political the restoration process is with both Colorado Lagoon and Los Cerritos Wetlands.Before TI, I did not know how these small community projects fit into the local politics and how politics play a vital role in the environmental field.
What are you up to now, professionally?
I am currently an Assistant Biologist and Arborist at LSA Associates in Irvine. As an environmental consulting firm, this job is not research oriented like the work I performed at Tidal Influence. Some of the work that I currently do is monitoring construction activities to protect plant, animal, and avian species. I conduct tree assessments and tree inventories and some of the unique work that I have been involved with is geotechnical boring and monitoring gas pipe line reroutes. This job is also heavily weighted in report writing.
How did your time with Tidal Influence impact or support you reaching your current position?
Tidal Influence prepared me for my current position through exposure to a variety of skills. The research and monitoring experience I gained through TI taught me important sampling methods and techniques that have helped me in my career as a biologist.
When and how did you get involved with Tidal Influence?
I volunteered! I needed a senior project for my degree at Cal State Long Beach and contacted Eric Zahn. He offered me an opportunity to conduct avian bird surveys and Zedler Marsh and Colorado Lagoon. After graduating, I kept on asking Tidal Influence if they needed work and continued my involvement.
What types of projects or programs were you involved with?
I conducted vegetation surveys, water quality surveys, fish surveys, and research. I was also in charge of the statistical analysis for monitoring projects. I helped with outreach by educating the community on Facebook and other mediums and did lots of grant writing to fundraise for Tidal Influence’s nonprofit clients. On occasion, I also helped to lead volunteer groups for public events at Los Cerritos Wetlands and Colorado Lagoon.
. If you could pass on any information to students interested in getting involved with the Tidal Influence internship program, what would you tell them?
Volunteer and work hard to learn! Invest the time to understand what is going on. You get out of it what you put into it. Put effort in to learn the plants,to volunteer, and to understand the politics. Yes, politics are important even for biologists.