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Leah Bieniak

Leah Bieniak

Education & Communication Fellow

Born and raised an hour west of Chicago, Illinois, I am a lifelong Midwesterner with a love for the habitats and species that make up this region. I graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2021 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology. During my time at IWU, I got to study Leopold’s land ethic, further my passion for ecology and conservation, and develop a new interest in environmental justice. I had the opportunity to research breeding bird populations in urban vs. agricultural areas in central Illinois as well as factors of environmental injustice in the local community. After graduating, I worked as the Conservation Education Representative at Illinois Beach State Park, providing educational and interpretive experiences to schools and general visitors while exploring the amazing dunesland.

Like many others, my connection to the land started with my own backyard: waiting for the lilacs to bloom and the black walnuts to drop, helping my mom plant flowers or vegetables, and learning the names of the birds that came to our feeders. In my free time, I love spending time with family, reading and writing, watching Marvel movies, and discovering new trails for birding or hiking. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Leopold community and to further the growth of a land ethic in our society!