Meet Discovery World’s Freshwater Educator, Amber Ross. A graduate from Purdue University, Amber has channeled her passion for the outdoors into her role at Discovery World and now passes that knowledge onto students in our community. Read on to learn how she is molding Milwaukee’s future freshwater stewards.
Connor: So, let’s start with a simple question. How did you end up teaching at Discovery World?
Amber: Well, after I graduated from Purdue, I started working as an interpreter at a state park. I really enjoyed that position, being able to stay outside and work with a captive audience. From there, I hopped around various seasonal positions, until I eventually landed in Nature’s Classroom as an educator. I had always loved sharing the knowledge I knew, so Nature’s Classroom was a perfect fit for me, but after sometime I wanted something full-time. Flash-forward a few months and here I am!
C: And we’re happy to have you! Going off that first question, when did your interest in natural science come around?
A: Like most people, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do upon graduating high school. I had always loved being outdoors, so when I was accepted to Purdue, I went into their College of Agriculture program. In that program, I took a wide variety of natural science classes, many of those being freshwater related. All the exposure to those topics eventually grew into the position I’m in today.
C: Why do you think it’s important for others to learn about freshwater and natural science as well?
A: The simplest answer to that question is that freshwater sciences is a real life topic with real life consequences. We may not see it too much being on the shore of Lake Michigan, but freshwater sciences is a huge problem in many parts of the world. It comes down to resource management. Getting children to realize the weight of these issues at an early age is, to me, one of the best ways to help ensure a sustainable future.
C: Well, if a teacher did want to start digging into these topics, where could they look?
A: Thankfully, Milwaukee is an excellent location to learn about freshwater and natural sciences. There are tons of opportunities for them to educate their students, both in and out of the classroom. MMSD does educational tours on water reclamation, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful does frequent beach clean-ups, UWM School of Freshwater Sciences has beautiful facilities. And of course, Discovery World has plenty to offer as well!
C: And what exactly do we offer here at Discovery World?
A: Our whole Aquatarium building is dedicated to educating the public about freshwater and natural sciences. From the Reiman Aquarium to the City of Freshwater exhibit, people can learn about how Milwaukee works to keep Lake Michigan a beautiful and sustainable resource. Additionally, we offer educational labs that cover a wide variety of freshwater topics, such as fish dissections and water pollution.
C: Alright, one last question. Any good piece of advice for our future scientists?
A: Of course! Easily the best piece of advice is to take your time in finding your passion. Once you find a topic you really love, chase it non-stop. With enough persistence, you’ll find a way to work how you love.