By Jessica Orquina
Previously, I served as a pilot in the U.S Air Force Reserves and had the opportunity to visit many places around the world. Throughout my travels, I gained an appreciation and respect for the vast variety of natural environments that exist around our planet.
Last week my husband and I took a trip to visit friends and go skiing. During my time as a military pilot, I had flown over these majestic mountains many times, admiring the shiny, snow-capped peaks from above. However, until last week, I never visited them at ground level.
The first day we went skiing we drove into the mountains, initially winding along the valley floor with peaks rising on either side. Soon we turned upward and followed winding roads switching back and forth along the mountainside to the ski slopes. There we parked our car, I put on my skis, and headed to the lift.
As I rode the chairlift even higher up the mountain, I watched the skiers and snowboarders below glide along the snow. At the top of the lift the view that met me took my breath away. The mountain top I was standing on was surrounded by more sparkling, snow-capped peaks – it was as if I had skied into a postcard. I took a moment to reflect on the natural beauty around me and was reminded how precious and fragile our environment is.
Now, I’m back home thinking about the view I experienced on that mountaintop. It reminds me why the work I am part of here at EPA is so important. Protecting our environment will ensure that future generations will be able to experience this same beauty.
About the author: Jessica Orquina works in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education as the social media lead for the agency. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a public affairs specialist at another federal agency and is a former military and commercial airline pilot. She lives, works, and writes in Washington, DC.