Laurel sebastian


Meet Laurel, MSI's Education and Research Assistant, and artist extraordinaire. 

MSI: What do you love about living and working in the San Juan Mountains? 

LS: I love the diversity of landscapes in and around the San Juan's, and the communities' drive to explore them! Since moving to Durango last year, I've been encouraged to research, raft, bike, teach, kayak, hike and backpack on nearly every form of public land. 

MSI: What kind of projects do you work on for MSI? What is your favorite project that you work on and why? 

LS: Since starting at MSI in May, I've contributed mostly to our education programs and botany/ecology field research. My favorite project so far was leading our Experience Mountain Science Program. After leading several shorter camps, it was a treat to delve deeper into the subject matter and student-mentor relationships over the two week immersive program. 

MSI: What is your most memorable, rewarding, challenging, or awkward experience from your time at MSI? 

LS: My most rewarding experience has been my growth in comfort and confidence with leading education programs. It has been challenging and awkward at times, but one of my favorite moments came when teaching Silverton students about watershed dynamics. After identifying macroinvertebrates in the Animas, the students poured over our interactive display, jumping to add water, "pollution" and wetlands to our model watershed. 

MSI: What do you think is the most exciting change MSI has undergone in the last 15 years? (or in the time you've been with MSI?)

LS: Like others have likely said, the recent growth at MSI is truly incredible. We're so fortunate to have received more grants, contracts and support, which has allowed us to hire on more full-time staff. And that includes me! I just signed on as a staff member in December, and I'm thrilled to be able to contribute to MSI's research and education for the indefinite future.