The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park recently added another new staff member- Marisol Diaz is our new part-time Program Assistant. Ms Diaz, a Peruvian native, is currently a post-baccalaureate student in Columbia University in Conservation Biology. She focuses on interdisciplinary approaches between ecology, social sciences, and education to encourage community-driven conservation initiatives focusing on coastal habitats impacting marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. She has contributed in the research of ocean acidification from atmospheric carbon emissions impacting microalgae distribution and their importance as the base of the marine food chain for higher animals. She has started an independent project with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Ocean Giants Program to understand cetacean distribution using passive acoustic monitoring as a tool to mitigate potential anthropogenic impacts on whales surrounding oil and gas activities. She hopes to share her knowledge with the Van Cortlandt Park community as an active educator and academic. Marisol’s undergraduate degree was in Biology from Florida Atlantic University.
She is excited to embark on a new journey as the new staff member of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. Her role as a Program Assistant will allow her to teach outdoor environmental education programs to children, and encourage students’ awareness and appreciation of the environment, broaden students’ knowledge of science concepts, and foster students’ commitment to the protection of their natural environment. During the school year, she will lead school groups K-12 that attend the Friends’ Van Cortlandt Adventures Programs and Restoration Volunteer Programs for children and adults. During the summer, she will supervise high school interns participating in a 7 week Trail Crew internship program alongside the Trails Project Manager. When asked about joining the Friends, Marisol responded “I’m honored to be part of such a versatile and dedicated team to bring nature conservation and youth community together in one of New York City’s largest historical parks.”