Andrea Nieves is the NYSDEC Environmental Education Assistant in the Urban Forestry program, covering the needs of the Trees for Tribs program as well.
I was born in Charlotte, North Carolina during the hottest summer on record at the time. When I was four, my parents and I moved to Hyde Park, New York—and I’ve been cold ever since. Nevertheless, despite having to always wear layers (even in summer), I’m glad to have grown up in the beautiful Hudson Valley, and not far from the Catskill Mountains.
There was a field near my house growing up that the neighborhood kids had cleverly named “The Field.” It is a very special place with several landmarks, namely “The Tree” and “The Woods.” I tried to spend as much time as possible there, where my friends and I would make up dance routines, catch pretend Pokémon, swing on a makeshift rope swing, and explore.
In my junior year in high school, the year when you’re somehow expected to know what you want to do with the rest of your life (as least so far as to choose a college major), I remembered exploring The Woods, climbing on logs, and exploring the tiny streams. I remembered the confident feeling that I got from knowing where I was, becoming familiar with the forest and recognizing certain features as landmarks: a bent tree, a mossy rock. I decided to major in Biology, and I focused on environmental research.