Since 1983, I've had the privilege of sharing my passion, love, and concern for the natural world through my courses at Jamestown Community College, community speaking engagements, natural history articles, and field trips exploring the wildflowers, wetlands, and other natural wonders of our area. I have delighted in leading numerous Tropical Biology Seminar excursions to Costa Rica and Panama and sharing in the excitement of my students as they experience the ecology, culture, and beauty of the rain forests, coral reefs, and sea turtle nesting habitats of these very special places. As a biologist, educator, and conservationist, I believe I have the great responsibility to cultivate deeper scientific understanding and richer appreciation for the natural world, through which better environmental stewardship and more sustainable living may emerge. I have been blessed with a career in which I teach what I love, and am so grateful for the privilege of sharing the journey of learning alongside my students as they seek to make their way. It is through them that I remain energized and inspired. My message continues to be that life is truly precious, and that as we better understand and appreciate the complexity, beauty, and interconnectedness of its gifts, we will seek to better care for our world and for each other.
I serve on JCC's sustainability committee and am actively involved in our Tree Campus USA program, greenhouse gas inventory, and climate action planning. I also serve as faculty sponsor for a host of environmental science and sustainability-related student internships. I've previously chaired both the sustainability task force and the health services and safety committee, and am past president and current membership chairperson of the JCC Faculty Association. I have also previously served as coordinator of JCC's environmental science program and coordinator of geology and biology on the Jamestown Campus.
Service to my community and our larger bioregion is also important to me. As a founding board member, past president, and current director of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Inc., I have passionately promoted preservation and protection of the water quality, scenic beauty, and ecological health of the lakes, streams, wetlands, and watersheds of our bioregion through education and conservation for more than 25 years. I currently serve on the Chautauqua County Department of Planning Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan (SAVMP) advisory group, and the Jamestown Chadakoin River Revitalization Study advisory committee. I have served on the DEC Region 9 New York State Open Space Advisory committee, Chautauqua County Environmental Management council, City of Jamestown Urban Forestry committee, and numerous other community organizations. I am active in my church, Zion Covenant, where I lead a Creation Care small group, and have participated in two short-term missionary trips to Soldotna, Alaska.
Through the years I have been honored with a number of recognitions and awards, including the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute's Blanche Hornbeck Award for Excellence in Nature Education, the JCC Alumni in Education Honors Award, the YWCA's Women of Achievement Award in Education, the New York State Environmental Management Council's Award for Environmental Education, the Environmental Protection Agency Region II Environmental Quality Award for Stewardship and Education, the JCC Faculty Award for Excellence, and memberships in the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor fraternity and Delta Kappa Gamma International Honor society for women educators.
My professional affiliations include the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Empire State Association of Two-Year College Biology Teachers, the New York Flora Association, the Niagara Frontier Botanical Society, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). I am also a member of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Jamestown Audubon Society, and Allen Park Women's Club.
I live in Jamestown with my husband Steve, and we enjoy traveling, hiking, roller-blading, gardening, good music, good books, and a house full of pets and plants. Our daughter Melissa is a college biology professor in northern Virginia.
Read more about Professor Nystrom's work in the Winter 2011 issue of JCC's Alumni Magazine.