Olivia Backhaus was the first Island Sentinel (along with her brother Rob) when FIConservancy established the program in 2013, and she spent the next five summers as a Sentinel. Olivia graduated from Fishers Island School in 2014 and from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2018.
This fall (2019), she will transfer to Georgetown Law for their environmental law program. Below, Olivia describes her work this summer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
I was selected for the Student Honors Law Clerk Program in EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), in Washington, D.C. OECA combats pollution problems through civil and criminal enforcement. More specifically, I work in the Federal Facilities Enforcement Office (FFEO), which ensures that federal agencies and their facilities comply with environmental laws, “in the same manner and to the same extent” as any other regulated facility.
As a law clerk in FFEO, I work under the direct supervision of practicing environmental lawyers, performing legal writing and research on current issues. While attending school on Fishers Island and working as a Sentinel, I grew familiar with the Island’s ecosystem and developed an innate curiosity and dedication to environmental conservation. As I navigate toward my future in environmental law, I am grateful for the foundation of ecological knowledge I learned as a member of the Sentinel team.