• About: Charles Post

    As a young child, Charles Post spent his summers on the beaches of Cape Cod visiting his grandma. During low tide on the bay side, the ocean receded out by miles and unveiled its incredible and complex underpinnings. Plants, crabs, eels, fish, turtles, and all the other fascinating underwater residents. Charles spent hours ripping around those wet marshes, fishing with his net and a bucket in tow. It was here that he ultimately began his lifelong passion for going out into the natural world to experience and capture its incredible stories.

    By the time Charles reached his first day of undergrad at the University of Berkeley—just an hour away from his childhood home in Marin County—he signed up for an ecology course. When his professor described the profession of “field researcher,” in which people are paid to go around and study fish and birds, Charles realized that there was an opportunity for him to get paid to do what he would be doing anyway. Which, of course, is always the best type of work.
    Photos by Meg Haywood Sullivan, words by Andrew Bisharat

    Today, Charles, 26, is on the verge of graduating again from Berkeley, this time with a Masters in ecology. However, his focus has shifted away from strict field work to content creation for various brands. Charles often teams up with his girlfriend, Meg Haywood-Sullivan, a photographer, and the two work together to create literal and visual stories that bridge the worlds of fashion, lifestyle, and science.

    We caught up with this ecologist and nature lover to find out more about his creative process and hear his tips for how to best celebrate Earth Day.

    You’re currently in a PhD program at the University of Berkeley, but you plan to graduate early with a Masters instead. Why'd you choose that route?
    I was admitted to a PhD program two years ago. But climate change and the drought in California has proven to be a pretty big road block in my research, which is focused on freshwater ecology. The population of the birds I study that live in and around rivers are being hammered by the drought. I reached a crossroads, which was spend 7 or 8 more years getting a PhD., or get a Masters and be done with it this year. I opted for the Masters, and it’s definitely been a great choice.

    Do you plan to use your degree and become a field biologist?
    I’m kind of transitioning out of academia. I’ve always seen value in communicating well, so I’ve been focused more on writing and creating content for bigger, more mainstream brands. I find it really gratifying to be able to bridge my academic background with this kind of written, video or photo content creation. So instead of just providing a photo essay and a trip report, why not provide the reader with a glimpse into the ecological framework of a place? 

    In a broad sense, what important lesson does ecology teach?
    Everything is connected. Everything we do affects our environment. There are relationships connecting all aspects of the system, and if you disconnect one aspect, there will be consequences.

    What’s the most stunning—or interesting—place you’ve visited?
    I spent two years living at the Angelo Coast Range Reserve, an 8,000-acre nature reserve in Northern California. It was incredible to have the opportunity to spend that amount of time out in the woods, and on the river—8 to 10 hours every day. That was my first time experiencing an intact ecology. The frog population was intact. The lizard population was intact. The turtles were there. Mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, spotted owls. It’s not that often where you get to be in a relatively pristine environment that’s protected from hunting, fishing, logging, mining, and development. Every day I would just drink straight out of the river. When you think about water that clean, the system must be healthy. 

    What outdoor sports do you do?
    Surfing is my go to. I live in a little town out on Point Reyes, so I’m close to the beach and can surf every day. I also do fishing, hiking, and birdwatching. Those have always been hobbies ever since I was a kid.

    What advice do you have for people interested in the environment?
    They should educate themselves and become informed about local environmental issues in their communities. In virtually every community there are non-profits and community groups workings tirelessly to conserve natural resources and protect the wild places we have left. On this note, I have developed and taken on the role as Co-Director of the Proof Lab Outdoor Award, an award that celebrates the passionate work of young people (25 years and younger) working with environmental non-profits in the Bay Area. A $2,500 cash grand prize and $500 in gear will be awarded to the young person and their associated environmental non-profit.

    How does an ecologist and nature lover spend Earth Day?
    I’ll actually be just outside Seattle. I’m going to go hiking with my friends. I’m going to bring my bird book and just learn and explore. I’m going to go sit underneath a huge cedar tree and just be grateful for the natural places we have. I guess that’s what it’s all about.

    Keep up with Charles and his daily travels on his website and Instagram.
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