Settling into my climate role at the Conservancy

April 25, 2024

By Carrie Schuman, Ph.D.

I came on board at the end of 2023 as the Conservancy’s Principal Climate Resilience Specialist. Now that I’ve had some time to get acclimated, I wanted to take the opportunity to extend a warm hello and introduce myself more formally to the Conservancy membership.

The important focus on a changing climate has been represented for the Conservancy in past work across multiple program areas, and I look forward to building on this foundation. While I am excited to be housed in the environmental policy department, my role as Principal Climate Resilience Specialist will cross our programmatic areas and my newly created position represents bringing climate and resilience even more to the forefront of future efforts. 

Prior to starting with the Conservancy, I worked as Coastal Resilience Manager for the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) – a valued Conservancy partner, who, along with Captains for Clean Water, recently partnered with our Policy Department on a water quality economic study. During my time in that role, I gained invaluable expertise and context around the challenges a changing climate is posing in Southwest Florida. Additionally, I cultivated a strong network of resources and partners also working on these issues in the region that I hope to keep leveraging in our upcoming work.

Perhaps most importantly, I bring an avid passion for the natural world. When I was young, my parents would bring my twin brother and me, and later my little sister, to beaches in New Hampshire and Maine where we would clamber over rocks and explore the wild stretches of New England coastline. I remember lots of introspective periods staring into tide pools watching periwinkles graze little channels through algal mats, or watching minute sea anemones wave their tentacles in search of food. I continued to fall more and more in love with the strange beauty of the ocean while pursuing multiple science degrees and learning to kayak its shorelines and scuba dive in its depths. And, since spending a significant amount of time in Florida, I have gained an even more intimate appreciation for the amazing local coastal habitats – like dunes, oyster reefs, marsh, and mangrove forest – that each house a small universe of incredible and unique species all while protecting our shores from wind and wave energy, cleaning our water, and providing a vast wealth of other benefits.

An American oystercatcher sits on a stretch of oyster reef

I’m thrilled to be joining such a respected organization, and to be working with a policy team that continually strives to protect our local natural systems, listed species, and water quality. I also look forward to working with our talented scientists, educators, and other team members on a variety of climate resilience-focused efforts and opportunities.