Rachel Hess is our new remote Communications Specialist. Read on to learn more about what led her to work at TTF and what she hopes to accomplish here.
My name is Rachel Hess and I am so excited to serve remotely as TTF’s Communications Specialist! I grew up in Harrisburg, PA, and attended Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania earning my degree in Communications with a concentration in Leadership and Public Advocacy. Throughout college, I developed an interest in the outdoors and spent many summers guiding rafts of guests from Philadelphia and New York City down the Lehigh River, a tributary of the Delaware.
Following graduation in the spring of 2017, I landed my first job out of college as a Watershed Education Fellow. Based within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, my host site was the Pocono Environmental Education Center. I was completely immersed in acres of ferns, mosses, and towering waterfalls. Little did I know the trajectory of my life and interests would change forever.
When I entered as a first-year Fellow for the Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE), I did not hail from an extensive science background and I could not even begin to explain what a watershed was. I just knew I loved to play outside and that I wanted to help protect the places I recreate in. Many of us came from a variety of educational backgrounds, which makes the fellowship so transformative. No matter our experience, we were all brought together to achieve one goal: increase awareness and educate others about OUR Delaware River Watershed.
As I led kayaking trips down the Delaware and taught students about stream ecology, I quickly became fascinated with the geography of our region and the wildlife found within our waterways. I realized how much I enjoyed learning about science; especially hands-on in an outdoor setting. I loved sharing fun facts I had learned and encouraging others to become just as excited about nature as I was.
3.5 years and a few environmental communications jobs later, I am now working at TTF, an AWE partner, and I feel I’ve come full circle. After achieving my liberal arts degree, I did not expect to start such a remarkable journey observing my natural surroundings. I look around now and every tree, plant, bird, and bug play a crucial role in the overall health of our ecosystem. I have since become a beginner birder, amateur botanist, wildlife enthusiast, and of course a lifelong advocate for the Delaware River Watershed.
Although I currently live in Asheville, NC within a different watershed address, immense gratitude for my home state remains. I want to give back to the land and water I grew up on and the communities that supported me throughout my own evolutionary experience.
As the Communications Specialist, I’m looking forward to generating more awareness for the TTF Watershed and its mission through spirited blog articles, engaging social media content, email newsletters, press releases, videos, photography, and so much more!
When Rachel is not doing Communications for TTF, she is an avid rock climber, whitewater kayaker, and most recently a river snorkeler. She enjoys spending time outdoors in any way possible and sharing her passion for nature and recreation with others.