Biocitizen is so pleased to welcome Marysia Borucinska-Begg to the Our Place Summer School senior staff!

Marysia has just returned from the Magallenic region of Chile where she was part of a cohort taking on interdisciplinary research projects with the support of the University of Northern Texas and a National Science Foundation grant. Integral to this trip was assessing valuation of species in the Omora Ethnobotanical Park in Puerto Williams, and other public-protected areas of Southern Chile. She was lucky enough to explore the incredibly biodiverse protected areas and alcoves of Isla Navarino, as well as interact with the community and perseverant Indigenous Yagán presence. Originally hailing from the woods of Northeastern Connecticut, she is now finishing up double majors in Political Science and Environmental Studies and a minor in Ecology at UConn. From teaching children from her community about composting in the community garden, to swim lessons over the summer, and time spent outdoors with her own partially deaf/blind niece, she hopes to continue a journey of helping youth find intimate connections to the spaces they inhabit — no matter their obstacles, fears, or backgrounds.
Personal Statement
I grew up in the valley. A bend of the Fenton River caresses my front yard, the Nipmuck trail seen through the kitchen window beckons my nearly daily return to it. But really, this home isn’t just mine. I’ve seen water levels drop  due to increased sourcing of the river by a growing university town population. I watched the fish who nibbled my toes grow smaller. It was alive and changing with me.
For better or worse, this home is ours: this was instilled in me by curiosity through constant exposure to the outdoors, but also via alternative conditioning to recognize my environment as more than a backdrop to life. I was reminded quite early on by my family, friends, and mentors the value of this place. Books narrating the Indigenous Nipmuc Nation’s history that took place in these very woods, mushroom ID field guides, and naturalist essays line our home’s bookshelves. Even when I think I am done learning, I know I am not — visiting new spaces, hearing about new dynamics between people and their habitat shows me new nightmares or standards on how to interact with the valley when I return. It makes me more interested in the deep time my home has evolved through and from.
I learned of Bio-Citizen when I was blessed to help hike a section of the Dientes de Navarino trail in Chile this last winter with Vicente Aguirre Diez and Jesse Carmichael, heads of the Chilean and LA branches, respectively. Being familiar with the rolling ledges of the Berkshires thanks to family backpacking vacations, I am very excited to learn alongside these kids about a beautiful nook of New England and its biocultural history.
A picture of me on Cerra Bandera above the Beagle Channel with Vicente Aguirre Diez, Director of Biocitizen Chile.




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1 Response
  1. M Teresa

    Excellent news! Marysia will certainly instill her knowledge, experience and deep enthusiasm in whoever she guides. Having Jesse and Vicente as mentors is a true privilege. Congratulations Marysia