Samuel Gilvarg posing for a picture

Sam Gilvarg, MCM’22


Hello! My name is Sam Gilvarg, and I am a 2015 graduate of Gettysburg College.  At Gettysburg, I double majored in Environmental Studies and History and minored in Biology. A Botanist by trade, for the past few years I have worked seasonally as a Fire Effects Monitor with the National Park Service’s Fire Ecology program, studying how plants and their wider environments respond to occurrences of fire, both wild and prescribed. In this capacity, I have been fortunate enough to work in some absolutely amazing places—ranging from the magnificent subalpine montane forest of the Sierra Nevada (at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California) to the verdant meadows of the Appalachian highlands (at Shenandoah National Park), and, most recently, the Pine Barrens (a deceiving name for an incredibly biodiverse and beautiful ecosystem!) of Cape Cod National Seashore. During the fire “off season”, I have spent my time working as an Emergency Medical Technician on an ambulance in the Metro Boston area. The interdisciplinary nature of the MCM program appealed to me as the perfect way to combine my dual interests in environmental conservation and human medicine. I am very interested in how the field of Conservation Medicine can be applied to the epidemic of severe wildfires currently afflicting habitats across the globe. One of the most promising solutions to this problem is the controlled reintroduction of fire to natural areas that are prone to disturbance via Prescribed Burning.  However, the production of smoke from these events, and subsequent negative impacts on human respiratory health, often impede the ability of land managers to utilize this tool.  I believe that Conservation Medicine offers a means of facilitating the reintroduction of “good” fire by putting the benefits to human health it offers to the forefront of the equation. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and reading.  I do not currently have any pets; however, my family has two fantastic dogs—Blossom and Duchess.  I hope to pursue a career in Environmental Conservation.