that I am capable of a career in this field. I hope to pay it forward and serve as a mentor and a resource for young women who may need that little extra push or encouragement. It is so important that we work to change the perception that STEM fields are geared towards men, and to create the supportive and wel- coming environment that we all would benefit from. Why is it important for women to be surveying land? Kelly Brezovar: It’s important to maintain diversity and encourage people from all types of backgrounds, degrees, study areas, age groups, races, and genders to participate in science, land conservation, and land management. Keeping a wide array of diverse scien- tists from different backgrounds makes the science better and more effective. As a native Texan with a heritage of German, Mexican, and Native American descent, I feel like this cultural background, in addi- tion to my being a woman, gives me a unique perspec- tive of the land I survey. Do diverse teams achieve better results and, if so, how? Kelly Brezovar: When working out in the field or preparing reports with someone so different than yourself, you gain knowledge you would have never considered and the opportunities for innovation are endless. For instance, I am more specialized in coastal habitats, wetlands, wildlife, construction, and coastal mitigation whereas my colleague Chris Garza is more specialized in forestry, botany, coastal prairies, ento- mology, fungi, and ecological restoration. My drone knowledge also pairs well with Chris’ GIS and map- ping experiences to ensure we capture all angles for more efficient flight. Chris is much more analytical whereas I am more big-picture, and we work well as a team to effectively and efficiently survey land and are able to better fly, delineate, and understand the ecological conditions and values. All in all, we are both
Kelly Brezovar: I began working with drones in 2011, but it was hard to get on the docket for flying it because a lot of people who had been flying it for longer had seniority. So I decided to get my own drone. In November of 2017, a friend suggested I get a drone pilot, so I did. The following month, I got my pilot license and continue to finesse my skills and explore new ways to use this technology. JEREMY SCHEWE , a Professional Wetland Scientist, is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Ecobot. CAITLIN BURKE is an Ecologist at Resource Environmental Solutions. KELLY BREZOVAR is an Environmental Team Lead and Senior Environmental Scientist at Hollaway Environmental + Communication Services.
striving to collect data that gears towards our diverse interests, while adequately capturing the land for either preservation, restoration, miti- gation, or permitting. Caitlin Burke: In a diverse workplace, there is greater collaboration and ease of communication. This inherently leads to more thoughtful discussion and better solutions for clients. I do find that I am able to build professional relationships more easily with young women like myself. I might be able to communicate with female clients or regulatory agents in a way that my male colleagues cannot. This also allows the team to engage with and potentially attract a more diverse client base. Finally, Kelly, how did you get interested in flying drones?
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