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Intern Spotlight – Kennedy Sattler

Ohio Environmental Council, July 19, 2022

Hi everyone! My name is Kennedy Sattler, and I am thrilled to be joining the OEC’s Law Center as a legal intern this summer. I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2020 with degrees in Pre Law and Politics and Government. I then packed up my things and moved to Arlington, Virginia to attend law school at George Mason University, where I will graduate in 2023. Originally from Oregon, Ohio, I am very excited to return to my home state this summer to further the OEC’s mission to ensure all Ohioans have access to a clean and healthy environment. 

Growing up, the outdoors were my playground. My summers were spent camping, hiking, kayaking, and pretty much any other outdoor recreational activity you can think of. Some of my favorite summer trips were to National Parks like Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Badlands. I also grew up ten minutes away from Maumee Bay State Park and loved to explore Lake Erie. These experiences not only fostered my appreciation for our environment, but also allowed me to develop a deep sense of gratitude for my ability to have close and constant access to nature. 

Unfortunately, as I grew up, I witnessed the harmful effects eutrophication had on one of my favorite places, Maumee Bay State Park. Eutrophication is the process by which excess nutrients, specifically phosphorus, enters into a body of water, typically due to runoff, which causes large algae blooms. These algae blooms produce toxins that are harmful to the environment and human health. 

Algae blooms are especially prevalent near Maumee Bay, due to its location between the Detroit and Maumee Rivers. I remember spending countless days as a child swimming in Lake Erie and playing on the beach. This was a thriving recreational area and the cornerstone of my hometown. However, if you visit Maumee Bay and surrounding areas today, you will be abruptly stopped by green water, beaches lined with fish carcasses, and large signs reading “WARNING: High levels of algae toxins have been detected.” This harsh reality opened my eyes to the importance of environmental conservation. It also prompted me to take ecology and geology courses during undergrad to better understand pressing environmental issues. 

However, it wasn’t until my second year of law school that I realized I could use my degree to help fight to protect our lands, air, and waters. I always knew I wanted to focus on some form of public interest law, but as I took classes such as Administrative and Environmental Law, I realized that the law has a very interesting role in environmental conservation. Quite frequently, the law is what keeps government agencies from straying from and falling short of environmental regulations and goals. I hope to use my degree to ensure federal, state, and local governments are doing their part to provide a safe environment for their citizens.

I am very excited to learn more about environmental law and conservation this summer! After work you can find me exploring local hiking trails, playing slow-pitch softball, or reading a good book by the pool. 

-Kennedy Sattler, Legal Intern