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Allie Houtz

Gulf Islands National Seashore

February 2023

While growing up and attending a city school outside of Philadelphia in Coatesville, PA, the natural world wasn't exactly in Allie's backyard. Her parents always made a point to explore and experience the outdoors. She grew up spending summers camping, hiking, kayaking, and doing all things outdoorsy. Some of her favorite memories with her family and friends are camping and hiking trips to Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area. With a persistent love of nature and curiosity for science, Allie pursued a degree in Biology with an ecological concentration at Messiah University. Some highlights of her time there were a sustainable agriculture project with potatoes and aquaculture, where her and her mentor found exciting results, and a herpetology class where she got to handle an alligator snapping turtle. Shortly after graduating, she became a Nature and Science Instructor for a summer camp in Philadelphia, where she was able to hike and teach local youth along the Wissahickon Valley Park. She then went on to serve as a Communications and Education Associate with Conserving Carolina, an environmental non-profit in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she served an 11-month AmeriCorps term. During this term, she had the opportunity to learn about non-profit innerworkings, develop communications, and gain more experience in environmental education. She gained a passion for educating and communicating with others about science and environmental topics, and making important topics in these areas more accessible and easily understood to a lay audience. She was also exposed to volunteer and community engagement during this position, which she is excited to learn more about through her CVA position with Gulf Islands National Seashore. She looks forward to helping engage the community with all of the valuable and unique resources the park has to offer.

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