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Environmental Leadership Blog Entry: Following Your Own Path

March 21, 2013

Valerie R. Leone

Steve Carr is currently the Land Trails Planner for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and he took quite the route to arrive there. While he said that all of our lives may very well follow the “path of least resistance” his path was a very different one; Steve’s career began with the Keep Maryland Clean Campaign and a neighbor who asked him to help her in the neighborhood. Through this experience he learned both that there is an obligation to volunteer one’s time and also to keep the planet clean.
He “bailed out of college” at the United States Naval Academy and Randolph-Macon College by going to “discover the Americas.” He learned a lot by traveling in both the Americas and Europe and even from working for a moving company. Later, Mr. Carr returned to become the head gardener at the United States Naval Academy, sharing that the construction of flower arrangements is quite the valuable skill. After joining in on Saturday nature walks, Steve also began working with the Severn River Association but left that opportunity in order to bike across the country. After returning to Annapolis, Maryland, he was asked by an old girlfriend to deliver a car out west and began yet another bike trip from the top of a mountain, biking the areas he enjoyed and hitchhiking the rest. He spent two weeks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and chose to pursue a job in the United States Forest Service over the National Park Service or in the hotel business to stay in the area. He worked as a timber engineer, reviewing land management plans, and also spent the five years working on an archaeological survey.
His philosophy is that in order to be a successful environmentalist one must work in the environment they are trying to protect. He took this approach to stop logging in the Kaibab National Forest, where he achieved success before environmentalists who had been trying for 20 years. Mr. Carr eventually left the Grand Canyon area when his girlfriend warned him of the anger of the loggers by saying, “Steve, they’re going to kill you”. He became an assistant golf professional where he committed to learning about a new tree each day and then went to further his education at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. He has since written three books including Water Views about the Chesapeake Bay, Canyon Chronicles about his time in the United States Forest Service, and Anasazi Strip; he also has a column in Bay Weekly called “Where We Live.”
He left us environmental leaders with a few lessons:

-Make every experience a worthwhile experience

-Don’t be afraid to march to your own beat

-Travel as much as you can

-Ignore the pressure to conform

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