Emily Keenan has 15 years of environmental consulting experience assisting public (local, state and federal), private, and non-profit clients. Her expertise pertains to the collection, analysis and/or interpretation of water quality data within estuary, river, and lake systems.

1. What is your favorite ESA moment/memory so far?
My favorite ESA moment was participating in the Lakeland Cardboard Boat race challenge (several times). During one particular year, we had strong participation with many eager scientists, planners, and engineers excited to put their skills to the test building a boat from 3 sheets of carboard, a utility knife, and duct tape. Our team poured their hearts into building the boat and then had to put it to the test. Two willing volunteers eagerly brandished life jackets and took to the water to race our constructed vessel, named the “R/V Secchi”, around the course. Much to our dismay, as the team and our families stood by cheering, after 3 failed attempts the boat fell apart. While the boat never left the ramp, the day was a huge success as we all left with smiles on our faces. This is an annual event sponsored by a local government as a community outreach effort to increase lake and watershed awareness. Hopefully, we’ll get to participate again this year.

2. What keeps you coming to work here at ESA every day?
Hands down, it’s my co-workers. The work is enjoyable but the daily interaction, jokes and shared experiences with my extended work family is what keeps me coming back.

3. What’s your favorite thing to do when you are out of the office?
Spend time with my best friend and husband, Sean and our two kids (Rowan and Hailey).

4. Share a personal fact no one would ever guess about you.
My father was very passionate and connected with his Native American heritage (Creek). When possible, he would bring us to holiday events such as Green Corn. My siblings and I each participated in a naming ceremony, where the elders observed us throughout the festival to inform our selected name. Mine translates to “Helpful One”.

5. If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
“Proceed with Caution”

6. What are three skills that you bring to the ESA team? In other words, what should colleagues know to reach out to you about?

  • ​Water Quality/Watershed Management
  • Data Management
  • Resource Management​​

7. In relation to the work you do, what’s one thing people can do in their everyday lives that can help create a more sustainable future?
Most of my work is associated with water; water supply, natural system water quality, source water protection, etc. One recommendation for a sustainable future is to remember that everything eventually drains to an aquatic systems (e.g., lake, spring, groundwater, river, estuary, ocean) so be mindful of activities performed within your watershed as it can have direct impacts on seemingly unconnected systems.​

Emily and family soaking up the sun on the beaches of Honeymoon Island, Florida during a canoe/kayak trip.