I received a Bachelor in Environmental Science and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Forest Science from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies before embarking on a series of research efforts and applied projects in ecosystem restoration and international development. While working in the Amazon, the Andes, inner-city urban environments, and California, I observed some interesting patterns. We cannot segregate people from their environment, and the one influences the other in ways that influence the “health” of both society and nature. For example, urban beautification – the process of planting street trees and turning abandoned lots into pocket parks – can be used as a community development tool to address urban blight and social decay in inner-city neighborhoods (e.g. URI, New Haven and Baltimore). Our understanding of how human activities cause environmental degradation has expanded enormously over the past century. However, the ways in which environmental degradation affects people, and what social dynamics lead to environmental restoration, are less understood. These under-explored human-environment linkages formed a tantalizing set of research questions, so I returned to pursue a Doctorate in Geography at the University of California Santa Barbara. I did my dissertation research on the social factors that influenced restoration success at a watershed rehabilitation and wet meadow restoration program in the Bolivian Andes.