Schinske’s job combines two passions

 2006 Dowagiac graduate Kristin Schinske

2006 Dowagiac graduate Kristin Schinske in the field for Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.

 

Kristin Schinske’s position in Portage as program assistant with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) combines her passions for writing and the outdoors.

 

Schinske grew up at Sister Lakes and graduated from Dowagiac Union High School in 2006.

 

Though she always appreciated nature as a hiker, camper, kayaker and gardener, she planned to study journalism in college.

 

After taking a few environmental science courses, however, she decided to explore the conservation field.

 

Schinske, of Kalamazoo, earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in 2010, double majoring in geography and environmental studies.

 

“I never realized you could make a career out of it,” she said Wednesday. “I can write in my spare time.”

 

In high school, she played volleyball and soccer, participated in drama club and won author Michael Collins’ poetry award.

 

She worked for WMU’s Natural Areas Program for two years, which involved her in everything from coordinating volunteers and growing native plants to writing land management plans, Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping and web design.

 

In August 2011, she began balancing that part-time position with working part-time on SWMLC’s stewardship crew, focusing mainly on its Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL) project, which involved documenting and treating invasive plants in the Lake Michigan coastal region.

 

“After recognizing Kristin’s strong work ethic and diverse skill set, we hired her fulltime in October 2012 to continue stewardship work, as well as provide support to other programs within the organization,” according to Communications Director Pamela Larson. “Kristin is an excellent photographer and writer and provides SWMLC with material for our website, including our blog, and Facebook. Kristin is easy to work with and a perfect fit our organization. Her exceptional skills are broad. She is as effective in the field as she is in the office.”

 

SWMLC, based in an historic home on Sprinkle Road in Portage, serves the nine counties of southwest Michigan, including Cass and Berrien.

 

It has protected almost 12,000 acres since its inception as an all-volunteer organization in 1991.

 

Today it has six fulltime staff, 150 active volunteers and support from more than 1,100 household memberships.

 

 

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