GreenBlue is pleased to announce that Shea Wales has joined the team as a Project Associate with The Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Shea has a Master of Science in Biology, focused on Forest Ecology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology with a minor in Environmental Policy from Fort Lewis College.
What inspired you to work in the sustainability field?
I’ve always been captivated by our natural world. Throughout my childhood, our family took Saturday morning walks in the redwoods, time spent exploring the secret life of plants and insects in our large garden, and innumerable summer camping trips distilled a deep connection with nature. In high school, I worked and volunteered for the non-profit GirlVentures, which uses outdoor adventure as a vehicle to explore social justice issues, leadership, health, and the environment with girls aged 11 through 18.
These foundational experiences sparked a deep connection to the land and lead me to study Environmental Biology and Environmental Policy at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. While there, I took field botany and ecology courses in the breathtaking La Plata Mountains, learned about small organic farms in a field sociology course and helped create the Sustainability Advisory Board as a Student Government Senator.
Now, after completing my MS thesis research, which examined the impacts of climate variability on forest growth and carbon sequestration, I am excited to re-engage with the nonprofit world and translate these technical skills into sustainability action. I want to be part of the solution to our planet’s environmental challenges and sustainability provides a solid platform from which to effect a positive change. Offering science based, real life solutions, the sustainability field incorporates systems thinking, resource management, and economic principles in a way that sure to provide a career that will keep me constantly learning and growing.
What do you hope to achieve at GreenBlue?
I hope to channel my technical research experience, background in Forest ecology and enthusiastic, fresh perspective into Forest Products Working Group (FPWG) and Forest in Focus (FF) initiatives. More specifically I am looking forward to engaging members and getting involved in growing FPWG initiatives, including developing resources to help companies better understand and apply the benefits of sustainable fiber. I also look forward to assisting with continued development of Forest in Focus platform which aims to help brand owners, manufacturers, agencies, and conservation groups assess risks and opportunities for sourcing forest products.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to cook (especially for my friends and family), be active and explore new places. Since I’m new to Charlottesville, I look forward to discovering its hidden gems, and taking advantage of its walkability and close proximity to the mountains!
Summiting a mountain before dawn*
*with a thermos of hot coffee to enjoy with the view.