Kari Post, MS '12Environmental Education
A Passion for Photography and Nature
Kari Post's life couldn't get much busier. "I have to be careful, because every door I open, there are so many doors behind it," said Kari, an Environmental Studies student at Antioch University New England (AUNE) who graduated with a master's in environmental education in May 2012.
As an environmental journalist, Kari combines her love of photography with a love of nature and concern about the environment. Last year, she traveled to Haiti with Frame of Mind, an organization set up to help instruct youth in photography, with two other photography teachers, journalism instructors from Panos Caribbean, and a local biologist and university student. They took students from the poorest sections of the town of Jacmel to a national park to study photography and the environment and to explore solutions to environmental problems.
The previous winter, Kari worked with the Vermont Center for Photography to produce a multimedia presentation called One Day in Vernon. She continued that project while also working on her master's project, creating materials and resources for environmental photography educators. And she works as a writer and photographer for NatureScapes, a nature photography company, and maintains her own online business, Kari Post Photography.
Her photography has garnered many awards and opened up many opportunities. In 2011, Kari attended a conference in Texas as a scholarship recipient of the North American Nature Photography Association's College Program, which connects students and NGOs to work on conservation photography projects.
Kari finds photography a compelling way to engage people with the natural environment. "More than ever, images and videos are a way to connect people with the world around them. It's the nugget they bite into," she said. "It's a large part of how I connect with nature. I take a picture of a bird, and I want to know what kind of bird it is; that makes me want to dive into other questions."
Not Your Typical Teacher
Kari grew up in New Jersey and majored in health and physical education at the College of New Jersey in Ewing. But she realized as a student teacher that although she loved teaching, she did not like the red tape and bureaucracy of a formal school system. During her last semester, her father died. That's when she told herself: "I'm not going to do this for the rest of my life."
"I had always loved being outside and the environment, and I wanted to teach people how to engage with the world around them," she said. "But once you're thirteen and not in gym anymore, it's hard to round up people for a game of touch football."
So she went to work for a year as an outdoor experiential educator for Project USE in its Wildcat program, teaching outdoor activities, often to underprivileged kids. "I was the one who knew the most about nature and the outdoors, and I still didn't know very much. So I decided to go back to school to learn the environmental part."
She found AUNE while searching online for graduate programs in conservation biology and environmental education. She was accepted at several schools in the western United States, but after attending an AUNE visiting day and meeting Libby McCann and other ES faculty, she chose AUNE.
Kari's travels didn't interfere with her academic life at AUNE. As a student she:
- Chaired the Student Alliance
- Coordinated Earth Day activities in 2010
- Served as a Summit Steward for the Monadnock Ecological Research and Education (MERE) project. She helped photograph subalpine flora for MERE's plant identification guide. "I would head up the mountain with those working on the guide, and they would point out which plants they needed better photos of," she said. "I always carried my gear up the mountain. You never know what you'll see on top of Monadnock!"
After graduating in May, she planned to take a year to work for NatureScapes and network with others in her field. She'll work on conservation photography projects and undertake a hands-on photography project engaging youth with nature.
Whatever she does, photography will be a huge part of her life. "It's a hobby of passion-I do it because I love doing it, and it's important."