Over the month of March, we will be featuring amazing women who have come through Warnell for their education in natural resources to celebrate Women's History Month. It hasn't been that long since Danielle Atkins graduated with her bachelor's degree (2012) and her masters in forest resources (2013), but she's already thriving in her forestry career—and she's got an eye on helping other women in the industry.
What drew you to the natural resources field?
I originally wanted to teach science education, but I wanted to have a different background than many teachers. I’d always had admired outdoorsmen like Steve Irwin and others on Animal Planet growing up. After I got into Warnell, I changed my career focus at least half a dozen times, a different course every time I learned something new that was a possibility for me! After my involvement with forestry club, and learning more about the forest industry, I finally found the perfect fit for me.
What is your best memory of either Warnell or something from your career?
It’s hard to name something the best, as each memory has unique characteristics. However, one of my fondest memories from Warnell is the revival of The Cypress Knee. Through that process I really became engrossed in the many aspects of the forest industry that put me on the initial path of my career and helped teach me that you CAN do anything you put your mind to—as long as you don’t mind the hustle, the extra hours, and in the end who will get the final credit.
What advice do you have for the new generation of natural resources professionals?
Try new things, go to new parts of the world and tackle new opportunities—you’ll never know what passion you might ignite if you only stay in your backyard.
How has your work or education in natural resources impacted you as an individual?
My education has helped teach me that you don’t always need to be the smartest person in the room to be the RIGHT person for the job. That has probably impacted my personal growth more than anything by always remembering, that as long as I have the WILL to learn and put in the hours, I can accomplish ANYTHING I set my mind to.
What do you like most about what you are doing in your career?
My favorite aspect of my career, currently, is taking different opportunities to reach out to landowners, women specifically, and help provide them with the confidence to engage with their properties and to present many forest management principles in atypical ways. Right now I’ve taken a hard focus on our growing family, but still working part-time as a forester locally, starting and growing landowner outreach programs. I have also started an online blog for women called Life + Land that spotlights women professionals, shares originally written articles on forest management topics, and provides a platform for landowners to share their thoughts with other women.