Skip to main contentSkip to footer content

Student Profile Holly Butcher

Continuing a Family Legacy of Environmental Stewardship

By Danielle J. Gerhart

A love for the outdoors runs deep in the Butcher family.

Holly Butcher holding a turtleHolly Butcher, ʼ25 Conservation Biology, credits her mom for her curiosity of insects and plants; her grandmother for her desire to care for animals; and her grandfather for teaching her to respect the earth.

“My grandfather was a state park ranger for the state of Maryland. I loved hanging out with him and hearing his stories. The walls of his home office are covered with awards and mementos from his career, and shadow boxes with his badges and nametags. I told him that I wanted to do that one day, too,” she said.

Butcher was given her chance this past summer, thanks to an internship with the National Park Service. The ESF Merit Scholarship recipient came to the College with enough credits to expedite her time to earn a degree, and she was hungry to get real-world experience through an internship. She was stationed at Monocacy National Battlefield in Maryland as a Natural Resource Manager, a role in which she applied classroom theory through hands-on experience while helping to collect data and implement park projects. She said the most interesting part of her job was working with park law enforcement to patrol the property.

Monocacy National BattlefieldButcher believes she wouldnʼt have landed the internship if she hadnʼt been a student at ESF. She also credited her Advisor Kit Sheehan, who helped her through the application and interview process.


“Even as a first-year student, I gained so much field experience through my bio and chemistry labs. ESF has allowed me to explore a lot of my interests and tweak my degree and courseload – Iʼm learning while enjoying and exploring my interests.”

Whatʼs more, Butcher said, is the Indigenous knowledge sheʼs gained while at ESF. She reflected on how at the beginning of an event on campus, we pause to acknowledge where we stand—on Indigenous land.

“The Indigenous perspective of respecting the land is so important in this line of work.”

Speaking of work, Butcher said sheʼs really missing it since she came back to campus, but sheʼs looking forward to her path after graduation.

“There are so many opportunities with the parks and a wide variety of jobs,” she said. She encourages other students to get internships so they can gain experience. “Find one that genuinely interests you and apply for it. I love that at ESF you can explore your interests, and thatʼs super important when youʼre doing internships.”

As for what her grandfather thinks of Butcher following in his footsteps?

“Heʼs over the moon,” she grinned. “He feels very proud that I want to make a difference. Protecting, serving, and leaving things better than you found them – thatʼs being part of the National Park Service.”

Previous                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Next