Arriving with a kayak mounted to the top of her car, Tara Muenz, an aquatic biologist with 10 years’ experience as an environmental educator, is eagerly looking forward to joining Stroud Water Research Center as education programs manager on April 15. She replaces Christina Medved, who left the Stroud Center in January to take the education director position at Roaring Fork Conservancy in Basalt, Colo.
A “CONTAGIOUS” LOVE OF NATURE
“I’m excited that I’ll be helping children, teachers and others, develop a deeper relationship with the earth,” she said in a recent telephone interview. “And I’m especially happy for the opportunity to share my love of the outdoors, the beauty that surrounds us, and the importance of protecting our natural resources.” She added that she hopes her love of nature “will be contagious” to both children and adults.
Muenz describes herself as an “earth steward” who enjoys pursuing a “mindful and simple lifestyle.” She plans to share her passion for environmental stewardship, especially for healthy waters, with others.
“I’m privileged that what I do for a job is a reflection of my life,” she said. “I’m all about reduce, reuse and recycle.” Of those, she thinks reducing is the most important: “I’ve been following a less-is-best mentality.”
FROM BARRIER ISLANDS TO RIVERS AND STREAMS
After earning her B.A. in zoology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Muenz moved to Georgia in 1998 to teach barrier island ecology on Jekyll Island. While there, she earned an M.S. in conservation ecology and sustainable development from the University of Georgia.
At the J.W. Jones Ecological Research Center in southwest Georgia, Muenz enjoyed exploring the Longleaf Pine ecosystem and watersheds in the Flint River Basin. There she studied the health of the Chattahoochee and Flint River Basins, isolated wetlands and freshwater mussels. Prior to working at the Stroud Center, Muenz was employed by Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division as the state coordinator for a volunteer water quality monitoring program called Georgia Adopt-A-Stream.
When she first arrived at the Stroud Center, Muenz will shadow Libby Gregg, who teaches classes in addition to her duties as systems administrator. But Muenz says it won’t be long before she teaches classes on her own. In fact, she envisions developing a class about amphibians at the Stroud Center, to follow another one of her strong interests.
In her free time, Muenz, an avid kayaker, plans to explore the beautiful lakes, rivers and streams in southeastern Pennsylvania. “I’m thrilled that the Stroud Center is set in such a gorgeous environment and that there are so many great outdoor recreation opportunities in the region.”
Tara would like to share these words from “Advice from a River,”
Go with the flow
Immerse yourself in nature
Slow down and meander
Go around the obstacles
Be thoughtful of those downstream
The beauty is in the journey!
— Ilan Shamir