Jessica Gregory is a West Michigan native who, from an early age, demonstrated a passion for nature. Years of chasing butterflies, raising Monarch caterpillars, and catching frogs in her backyard pond as a child have led to Jessica now serving as an advocate for nature conservation in a variety of ways.
After earning degrees in Environmental Biology (B.S.) and Ecology (M.S.), Jessica worked as a naturalist for Ottawa County Parks and Recreation and Ada Township Parks and Recreation for several years while also teaching biology as an Adjunct Faculty member at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Jessica utilized her connections with Ottawa County whenever possible to take her students to area parks for hands-on learning opportunities like invasive species removal workdays with parks staff.
In 2019 Jessica founded ‘mi EcoBUZZ’ (pronounced ‘MY–eco—buzz’) as a way to reach a wider audience with environmental conservation topics through social media videos. Since its inception, Jessica’s videos have reached thousands of people through partnerships and support from the Ottawa County Parks, Ottawa County Parks Foundation, GVSU, the Kent Conservation District, West Michigan Conservation Network (WMCN), Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, and most recently the Rogue River Watershed Partners.
Jessica is also passionate about uniting her faith with her work as an environmental educator through advocating for Creation Care. As a result, she founded the Creation Care ministry at her local church in Grand Rapids (Berkley Hills Church) in late 2018 in order to educate people of faith on the importance of caring for others by caring for the natural world.
Using both mi EcoBUZZ and Berkley Creation Care as platforms, Jessica has led a variety of community programs and supported various community initiatives alongside the Kent Conservation District, Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation, the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, Kent Garden Club, Ada Township Parks and Recreation, and the Ottawa County Parks Foundation. In April, 2022 Jessica co-sponsored an educational program along with Berkley Creation Care and GVSU to teach community members about water quality monitoring and watershed health. The program took place aboard the DJ Angus, a science ship operated in Spring Lake by GVSU’s Annis Water Resources Institute. Participants were able to attend at no cost and actively collected water samples which were then analyzed for various parameters under the guidance of DJ Angus staff. The WMCN was instrumental in spreading the word about this program – which nearly a dozen people attended on a chilly April day!
Jessica’s goal is simple – to help people form personal connections with nature through education so they will be inspired to care for it and others as a result. In the words of Jennifer Nini, “You can’t force people to care about our natural environment, but if you encourage them to connect with it, they just might.” Many thanks to the WMCN and all the organizations across Michigan who have spent countless hours stewarding the amazing natural resources we have in our beautiful state. Happy Naturing!
Mi EcoBUZZ website: http://www.miecobuzz.org
Berkley Creation Care Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BerkleyCreationCare
DJ Angus: https://www.gvsu.edu/wri/education/dj-angus-24.htm