Lydia Beaudrot Read is a former camper, OA student, and Hante Adventures leader. Lydia started to going to camp when she was 10 years old (she’s a Winnesquam) and was an OA student during Semester VII in the fall of 1998. She also led a few Hante treks, including AT Virginia, AT Maine, and a Hante trip to Idaho. We checked in with Lydia to see what she’s up to now.

What do you do now for a living?

“I’m an ecologist and conservation biologist. I just started my a job as a tenure-track professor at Rice University in Houston, TX this year. I’m in the Bio-Sciences Department and the Program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. I teach an undergraduate data science class and train graduate students and postdocs in research. My research program focuses on understanding tropical wildlife communities and how humans are affecting them.  It is closely connected to a large-scale camera trap project called TEAM – the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network.”

How has your time at Eagle’s Nest shaped who you are today?

“Eagle’s Nest has had a profound effect on just about every aspect of my life. I feel like Eagle’s Nest taught me how wonderful life can be and how much meaning and magic it can have. It inspired my love of the environment and the outdoors, my search for community and place, and really a lot of my values. After attending OA, I wanted to attend a small liberal arts college in New England, so I went to Middlebury College in Vermont. It wasn’t until after college that I discovered the Unitarian Universalist Church and I immediately loved how I felt like I was at Friendship Circle.”

What are your favorite activities to do in your spare time?

“I love family time with my husband and toddler, spending time outside, and traveling.”

What is your most memorable experience from your time at Eagle’s Nest?

“A lesson I learned at Eagle’s Nest that has been such a benefit in life is that life begins at the edge of my comfort zone. During my first ever tribal hike, when I was 10, our elder took us behind Tribal Village and there was a ravine with a single log for a bridge that we needed to walk over. I was scared, so I let everyone go in front of me. When everyone else had gone, I was in tears because I was so afraid to try it. Many years later, I found myself back at that footbridge and walked across with ease. It occurred to me then how much the Nest had helped me grow by challenging me in new ways. When I find myself afraid of a new challenge or experience now, I remind myself to forge ahead because life begins at the edge of my comfort zone.”

By Camille Wick