Gabriella Backes '23 (she/her/hers)

Where do you call home?

Foley, Minnesota

What are your major(s) and minor(s)?

Environmental Studies 

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

All of them, except skiing...

Why did you decide to major in Environmental Studies?

I chose to major in Environmental Studies simply because of my love of nature and the outdoors.

What environmental issue are you most passionate about?

The environmental issue I’m most passionate about would probably be habitat loss. Not only does it result in less places for cool critters to live, but the destruction of habitat can also reduce water and air quality, add carbon to the atmosphere, and decrease outdoor recreational accessibility. Stoping habitat loss would slow or even stop lots of other environmental issues.

What is your favorite Environmental Studies class and why?

I enjoyed Humans and the Environment the most. Learning about prairies and restoration ecology was super cool.

What was the focus of your research for ENVR 320? What were your findings?

I studied how the reintroduction of the mammoth steppe ecosystem could slow permafrost melting in the Arctic. I found that this reintroduction would slow melting significantly.

What advice do you have for first year students and majors?

Calm down, you’ll be fine — and make friends with your professors.