As part of #WomensHistoryMonth we celebrate the achievements of women in STEM and
highlight the influential work of women in the environmental community to inspire future generations of leaders. This year, we had the pleasure of talking with women who pursued advance studies in the sciences and set out to forge their own paths in ecology, water conservation and geospatial careers.
Sophie Parker is a Senior Scientist in the Los Angeles office of The Nature Conservancy. She has over 20 years of experience in ecology and conservation science, and has provided scientific leadership to Conservancy projects in southern California since 2008. Dr. Parker leads The Nature Conservancy of California’s Renewable Energy science team in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, and guides the organization’s stormwater capture and habitat enhancement engagement along the Los Angeles River. In addition, she is forging new methodologies for the planning and implementation of urban conservation through the Biodiversity Analysis in Los Angeles (BAILA) project. One of Sophie’s long-term career goals is to better integrate the fields of soil science and ecosystem ecology into conservation practice.
What was the path that brought you to where you are today?
I grew up in a lemon grove in Claremont, and in the small village of Mt Baldy, high in the San Gabriel Mountains. My parents were teachers and artists, and I spent a great deal of time playing outside in the grove and creek near our home. I had the good fortune to go to Wellesley College, where I was first introduced to ecology, and where my commitment to science was fostered by two professors in the Biology Department – Marianne Moore and Nick Rodenhouse. After graduation, I worked at the Insect Zoo at the