Ecology club aims to better the Earth

Syan Shih, a member of the Orange Coast College Ecology Club, kayaks at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve in Newport Beach.

Orange Coast College’s Ecology Club is more than just an ecologically based club, it’s a place where students can feel united in a community.

Austin Isakson, 24, founder and president of the club and wildlife major, said the environment is something everyone should care about because there is only one planet.

“We all have to give a shit,” Isakson said.

Before coming to OCC, Isakson attended Irvine Valley College where he was a part of their Biological Ecological Environmental Science Club. The people he met in that club is what changed his mind about switching his major to wildlife.

After transferring to OCC, Isakson realized there was no platform for ecology students. There was the Horticulture department or the Lewis Center for Applied Sciences. Inspired to action, he asked a friend to form a club with him.

Isakson said this semester he has had more support from the club than ever before. Members of the club get really close, and Isakson credits the club for meeting his current best friends.

“The club is for anyone interested in any environmental major,” Isakson said.

The club provides opportunities for students to learn about ecological and environmental topics. They meet every other Friday, for an hour at 9:30 a.m. in the Biological Sciences building, room 102.

An important aspect of the club is the outdoor activities members can partake in. The officers of the club are currently organizing a camping trip for Joshua Tree in December.

So far this semester, members have gone on a weekend camping trip at Blue Jay campgrounds, volunteered at restoration events, have gone kayaking and have participated at OCC’s Stem Night.

One of the appeals of the club for Maddy Letterman, 21, treasurer of the club and a biology major, is being in a community that’s ecologically based because it’s important to have a group of people who support you.

Letterman added you get to learn a lot because everyone in the club has their own skill set and is given the opportunity to learn hands on from one another.

Even if you aren’t interested in the academic or educational side of the club, Megan Peukert, 21, vice president of the club and a biology major, said there’s some people in the club who just like hiking or outdoor activities.

Peukert found out about the Ecology Club during a Club Rush event a year ago. Beforehand, she wasn’t aware there was a major she could pursue which emphasizes ecology.

Ultimately, Peukert’s long time strong passion for preservation and how humans affect the earth are the main reasons she feels connected to this club.

An added bonus is the genuine camaraderie within the club.

“You’ll make a lot of friends,” Peukert said.

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