We talked to six who are helping to keep our air and water clean, protect animals, and preserve our open spaces — and learned how they got their jobs. Want to follow in their footsteps? Study up and you, too, could become an eco-hero.
Acoustic ecologist, National Park Service
Burson, 55, spends his days recording animal and human sounds in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in Wyoming. “Soundscapes are a resource, just like wildlife, or plants, or air quality,” he says. His work started when the National Park Service wanted to measure the noise impact of the 80,000 snowmobiles that zipped through Yellowstone each winter.
“When I first collected data in the winter of 2002-03, you could hear snowmobiles 90 percent of the time,” he says. “But since the park service in 2013 released new rules governing snowmobile use, you hear snowmobiles less than half of the time in the busiest corridor. I’m happy that some of the data I collected went toward that.”