About Sebastian's Work
Sebastian is an Environmental Conservation Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. In an increasingly urbanizing world, Sebastian aims for his work to increase science and nature accessibility for historically marginalized and excluded communities, which will ultimately help in the conservation of our natural environment. His Masters' thesis at the University of Missouri focused on urban vacant lots caused by systemic racism and the habitat they contribute to the urban greenspace matrix in targeted St. Louis neighborhoods. Sebastian's conversations with the residents revealed how disconnected they felt from nature. As a Ph.D. candidate, Sebastian combines his interests in urban ecology and ornithology with engaging people in nature. He wants to empower people to advocate for themselves and their community. One way people can feel empowered is through citizen science and by increasing access to information about their communities. His research aims to understand the attitudes and motivations of participants from established citizen science programs. Sebastian also engages the public in conservation and nature as the Co-Program Coordinator for the Western Massachusetts Latino Outdoors chapter and as a Biological Intern for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he has had the opportunity to work for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the John Heinz Urban Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, in Philadelphia, PA.