Biocitizen is so pleased to welcome Blaze McClurkan—of Gowanus—as an Our Place Summerschool teachers’ assistant!

Blaze was a counselor in training in 2019 who put on her walking shoes and helped us get kids off the screen and into the marine biome that is NYC. She returns brimming with energy and ideas, and professional experience in getting to the ferries on time! Not only will students be exploring the biocultural history of NYC under her watchful eyes: she’s also our foodie first aid responder and will come to our rescue when heat-related emergencies occur that only sorbet and lemonades can take care of.

Welcome back Blaze!!

Personal Statement

Hey, I’m Blaze. Gowanus, Brooklyn is my ecosystem. My introduction to Biocitizen was a fun summer exploring the Connecticut River as Sharpshin at the Massachusetts school. In the summer of 2019, I worked as a Counselor-In-Training for Biocitizen’s launch of its New York City program. This year I am excited to help lead in the program again. 

New York City is a city with rich culture and naturally through osmosis, I have absorbed some of it. My curiosity leads me to discover something new in this densely packed city. What stories have I not heard? What food have I not eaten? What street have I not yet walked? The more I search, I discover more rabbit holes to jump down. I am absolutely glee-ridden that I am able to uncover more of New York City’s treasures with Biocitizen.

Living in this city you are confronted with almost a daunting amount of culture, history and opinions. I live right next to one of the most polluted waters in the United States: The Gowanus Canal. 

One of the side effects of being a New Yorker is your zoomed in awareness of the world around you. Naturally, my attention has been raised about climate change and my personal impact on the world around me, my carbon footprint. I am always inspired by Greta Thunberg and her words “I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.” To make my difference, I do my best to educate myself on environmental issues and strive to learn more from my biosystems. I hope to attune reading skills of my living systems through a Biocitizen lens.

After over a year of life being locked down, I am ready to get back into motion outside of my bounds.

While at home during COVID, my explorations were confined to my Brooklyn neighborhood. Despite finding wonders within my bubble, I often found myself daydreaming of what it felt like to go experience and explore something new. I tried my hardest to live vicariously through the cameraman in Animal Planet on the National Geographic channel, and if I was feeling in need of some excitement maybe I would watch The River Wild starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon.

However, none of those moments on film gave me quite the same enjoyment as if I were really out in the wild, New York City’s wild. I missed experiences like Biocitizen, when I would timorously walk a step forward not knowing exactly what I would find just around the corner only to be pleasantly intrigued and surprised with my findings. As life is slowly starting to get back to a semi-normal state, I am thrilled to go explore with Biocitizen and learn more about the living systems within my concrete jungle. 


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