Biocitizen welcomes Ursa Heidinger, Assistant Director of Biocitizen NY!!

Biocitizen is so pleased to welcome Ursa Heidinger as the Assistant Director of Biocitizen NY!

Ursa has been a part of Biocitizen from the very beginning, and has taught Field Environmental Philosophy in Western Massachusetts for several years. She moved to NYC three years ago and realized that if Los Angeles has an Our Place Summer School then NYC deserves one too! Check it out: Our Place Summer School > Brooklyn <
Personal Statement

My name is Ursa Heidinger, and I study political science and human rights at Columbia University with a specialization in American and international politics. Conservation and environmental justice are passions deeply rooted in my upbringing. Family trips to the beach always included a careful examination of the local estuaries; drives to elementary school were always accompanied by an update on the war in Iraq with NPR’s Democracy Now; denuclearization rallies create the backdrop for my baby pictures. My keen interest in the outdoors began with a fascination and amazement with my physical space — my local rivers, forests, and mountains — and eventually transformed into a sense of responsibility to and solidarity with the land and creatures as I began to realize the destruction they were experiencing. This sense of responsibility, and at times indignation, only became more complex as I saw that it wasn’t just the wild creatures that were being hurt by unsustainable development and lack of environmental regulation, it was also my neighbors; it was also people. It was here that I developed an interest in the confluence between social justice and environmentalism — also known as environmental justice. I hope to instill this same sense of solidarity with our physical environment in my students — through all the stages from awe to kinship — so that they too can experience the magic of our place and learn to protect it.

My area of study, at Columbia and beyond, has allowed me to examine the macro causes that affect cases related to environmental justice (such as neoliberalism, global conflict, humanitarianism) and the micro effects and case studies (such as Sunoco’s Mariner East Pipeline project in southern Pennsylvania and indigenous populations surrounding Bears Ears National Monument in Utah). The field environmental philosophy approach at Biocitizen has cemented my understanding that environmental and social justice movements are inextricably linked and allowed me to tackle similar issues from multiple perspectives, encouraging me to pursue law school and policy after college.

About the author

Subscribe to Biocitizen Banter

Biocitizen Blogs

RSS Westhampton, MA

  • The River and the Machine: A Biocultural History of Holyoke Dam February 11, 2021
    WHAT IS BIOCITIZEN? The word “biocitizen” is a contraction of “biotic citizen,” a term and idea conceived by Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) who is widely celebrated for conceiving the “land ethic.” A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. A […]
  • Biocitizen MA Welcomes Charlie Schine, FEP teacher! December 31, 2020
    Charlie is a recent graduate from Wesleyan University who is just beginning to get his footing in the big wide world and figure out where he’s going. Although he majored in music, his studies always seemed to circle around environmentalism and the more-than-human world, a cross pollination which began the summer after his freshman year […]

RSS Los Angeles, CA

  • CLAWS BLOG: Wind Wolves Preserve – Camping | Hiking | Stewardship December 1, 2021
    Wind Wolves Preserve Camping | Hiking | Native Plant Stewardship FRIDAY Our second CLAWS trip of the fall kicked off at our normal meeting point Bette Davis Park. Folks were excited to get things going, so after an opening circle, with introductions, a gear check, and the plan for the evening we officially started our […]
  • Fear, Growth, and Success! A story of overcoming challenges with Biocitizen LA October 24, 2021
    Lead Teacher Azucena shares her journey reclaiming her narrative through her  field notes recap emails By: Azucena Quinones When I first began working at Biocitizen I was super excited for all of the amazing experiences I would have, from camping, exploring new trails, to working with amazing kids. I knew there would be challenges that […]

RSS New York, NY

  • Biocitizen NY Summer 2022 Internship – Apply Now! January 12, 2022
    Biocitizen NY Summer 2022 Internship Program What is Biocitizen? Biocitizen is the only educational institution in the world devoted to teaching Field Environmental Philosophy (FEP). Our Brooklyn-based Our Place Summer School is designed to bring children into direct contact with the creatures, geologies, hydrologies, and infrastructures of the Canarsee Biome and the Hudson River Estuary. […]
  • Biocitizen welcomes Yubitza Bermudez, Field Environmental Philosophy Teacher September 25, 2021
    Biocitizen NY is pleased to welcome Yubitza Bermudez as a Field Environmental Philosophy teacher! She’ll be co-leading Free Ranger walks starting mid October! Yubitza enjoys  Chilean and US citizenship and trained in Ecotourism Studies at the Universidad Andres Bello with Vicente Aguirre Diez, the executive director of Biocitizen Chile. We are very excited, because she […]

RSS Concon, Chile

  • Ciudadanos bióticos, coronavirus, Gaia March 30, 2020
    En la sabiduría antigua, tanto en sociedades orientales, occidentales e indígenas, existe como concepción compartida la importancia del vivir el día a día, y de como esta práctica da forma […]