Julia Messersi (2021), Hons. BSc, Major in Environmental Science, Minor in Environmental Geography, and a Minor in French Studies

Julia Messersi Why did you choose to study in the School of the Environment?

Throughout my life, I have always enjoyed nature and the science behind how things work, especially in the environment. I have been lucky enough to grow up in an area where wildlife and forestry are abundant, and because of this, I was brought up with a respect for nature and all living things. However, it wasn’t until I completed my first year at U of T as a Life Sciences student that I discovered the School of the Environment. I realized that pursuing my passion for environmental science was the right path to take - even more so now with the growing amount of harmful environmental issues that are facing our world. 

What is your favorite memory from your time with the School?

The School of the Environment provided me with so many amazing opportunities to truly apply what I learned in the classroom in the real world. One of my absolute favourite memories is from second year, when the whole ENV234 class took a field trip to the Koffler Scientific Reserve at Joker’s Hill. On this field trip, we spent the day identifying tree species in the many different types of forests, and we took both soil and water samples of multiple different sites. This field trip meant a lot to me in particular because it allowed me to observe how human activity has affected the Oak Ridges Moraine, a delicate area where I happen to live and hope to protect.

How have you been affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic? What are your thoughts about the future?

As a student in the School of the Environment, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected my studies by prohibiting me from gaining experience in different lab activities as well as some field trips that would have been beneficial to my overall learning experience. For example, in a soils course that I took in the midst of the pandemic, we would normally have taken a field trip to, yet again, the Koffler Scientific Reserve so that we could take our own soil samples and observe how different areas of the Reserve exhibit different soil profiles. However, because of the pandemic, we took a ‘virtual field trip’ where we watched videos and saw pictures of the different soil types. It was still informative, however actually being able to take samples in person would have been a great learning experience. My hope for the future is that current and upcoming students in the School of the Environment do not miss out on these amazing opportunities that I was lucky enough to take part in for two years before the pandemic.