Women in Science - Pat Green

Mar 15, 2017
March is Women's History Month and we are celebrating all month long by highlighting local women scientists in Central Oregon.

Pat Green during a work party at Whychus Canyon Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
Pat Green during a work party at Whychus Canyon Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.

Happy Women’s History Month!  In honor of all the great women out there, past and present, we’re profiling three local women with a commitment to science.

This week, we are featuring retired National Forest Ecologist and Land Trust volunteer, Pat Green.

1. How did you get interested in working in science?
My life in science is driven equally by guilt and curiosity. Biological diversity is the result of evolutionary processes and events operating for several billion years. The richness of natural life is so great it may seem miraculous, but it is increasingly at risk. I have been especially lucky to have a career that let me spend time in the Rocky Mountain’s forests and grasslands as a National Forest ecologist. It started simply by doing a soil survey. But all the physical and biological parts are connected and describing the connections helped me realize the work that most needed doing: conservation biology.

2. What is your educational background?
My undergraduate degree is in Archeology, my Master’s in Forest Science, and more advanced coursework in Ecology and Statistics.

3. What were your favorite parts of your career in science?
Some of the most satisfying work was the analysis of forest patterns over space and time, and using that knowledge to help design management approaches that were in line with natural disturbance regimes. In addition, using spatial data in GIS has always been a special treat—you can jump through time and across millions of acres, looking at the interaction of all kinds of ecological variables. Sweet!

4. Have you noticed a difference in the number of women in science since you began your career?
I got my first job when women were rare in Natural Science fields. It is great to see how that has changed.

5. Who are your mentors and role models?
Some of the women researchers I have been taught by or worked with were great mentors. The curiosity and the rigor they brought to scientific inquiry were awe-inspiring.

6. Anything else?
Even in retirement, I hope to live my life as a curious conservationist and there are lots of us in Bend! Also, if you’d like to read some great books about science (including conservation biology), Patricia recommends:

“Conserving Forest Biodiversity: A Comprehensive Multiscaled Approach” by David Lindenmayer and Jerry Franklin

“Letters to a Young Scientist” by Edward O. Wilson

“Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” by Jared Diamond

 Thank you, Pat!