Thursday, February 27, 2014

Getting Back to Nature with Mariah "Skyler" O'Marrah

Hailing from Parkton Maryland, Mariah “Skyler” O’Marrah  is a 20 year old Sophomore at Frostburg State University. The Hartford High School graduate, known as Skyler has traveled to several different countries in her brief life time, even going to China for an exchange program at the tender age of 16. Living in the Baltimore County, she is missed by her parents, a sister, several dogs, and even a gecko, although she, her parents, and her sister plan to go to Europe this summer on a cruise. However, despite the upcoming summer’s excitements, Skyler is even more excited about her education. Originally planning to major in journalism, Skyler soon found that her interests lie in nature or more specifically Ethnobotany more than journalism ever would.

Laid back comfortably in her chair, fitted in a simple black tee, blue jeans, black buckled knee high boots, and a calm air about her, Skyler is seemingly one with nature. That is until she is actually invited to talk about nature. Then her eyes light up and she sits up straighter than any would have expected for the average height and “severely chilled” young woman.  “Asking what my favorite part of Ethnobotany is a difficult question,” O’Marrah sighs as she goes to explain her previous job at a nursery where she was able to propagate plants such as hydrangeas and magnolias.   The Vegan, belly dancing, dark chocolate loving “I love dark chocolate. I have so much in my room right now,” woman shares that “ I really love learning about how different plants are used: as dyes, for basket-weaving, for medicinalpurposes, etc. But I am also really looking forward to being able to identify plants better and more consistently,” although she admits that she must wait to take “Dendro and Plant Tax” in order to learn more about the process.

To O’Marrah, knowing the benefits of plants and the relationship humans have with them is knowledge she can’t get enough of and she wants everyone else to feel the same way too. Vehemently O’Marrah shares “I think maybe it is most important for people to be aware of how much we as humans actually depend on plants. They help to regulate the whole water cycle, they produce oxygen!” And when asked what the second most important thing about plants, she does not neglect to mention that “Plants are necessary for food, whether directly or indirectly, and plants are used frequently for furniture and clothing as well. So yeah, they are vital to our survival.”

Clearly passionate about Ethnobotany, the next obvious question was what she planned to do after graduating from FSU, to which she confidently stated “after college, I plan to go to graduate school... And then I hope to maybe work at a botanical gardens or a state park or maybe for the USDA.” Satisfied with her answer, Skyler finally returned to her slouched position, restated she’s always been into nature, and went back to being “severely chill.”

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