Resource planner Heather Buck has always had an affinity for water, having first studied it through a microscope at a very early age. At CBBEL, she has conducted many chemical, physical, and biological water quality assessments for various types of projects. She also flexes her public meeting muscles, leading many education and outreach programs in many Indiana communities. A planner by nature, Heather has also developed and implemented several municipal stormwater quality management plans, watershed management plans, and multi-hazard mitigation plans. Below, Heather lets us know why she loves her job and what the difference is between a bug and an insect!
1. What are you most passionate about in this job?
Regardless of the topic, I love working with people from an educational standpoint. Making connections between emergency management agency directors and city planning staff while working on a hazard mitigation plan; discussing stormwater regulations while walking through a municipal street department; or describing how aquatic macroinvertebrates indicate water quality. It’s all a bit like putting together a puzzle. We know what it needs to look like in the end, so I take some of their pieces, add in some of mine, throw in some regulatory glue, and we get it all to fit together nicely!
2. Other people don’t find this exciting, so why do you?
Most people get hung up on public speaking, but I like to talk. A LOT. So I don’t mind. And it’s all for the good of the community so I’m not really sure why other people don’t get as geeked up about it as I do. I will take that as a challenge to get more people excited about stormwater, macroinvertebrates and tornadoes, maybe even in the same discussion! A macro-nado, perhaps?
3. Why is working for Burke different than anywhere else?
I feel like we really take the time to develop a relationship past the specific job or task. We are able to see how past projects correlate or impact current projects, and we are able to complete projects so they may springboard into future projects for the client. In one office, we can discuss wetland permitting, project design, and larger planning efforts and how that bundles up into a comprehensive project for our client that also creates a larger comprehensive approach within the municipality or the watershed.
4. How long have you been doing your thing?
I have been at Burke (and Indiana) since 2006 but prior to that I worked as a watershed coordinator in Ohio (Grand Lake St. Marys, to be exact) for six years. A lot of my time there was spent working with ag producers and residents to implement conservation BMPs, while also working with local schools educating kids about the importance of healthy soil and clean water. So it seems like a long time, but then again, I keep learning new things so it seems like I am still beginning my career!
5. What, in your opinion, is the most important take away for your clients?
Whether it’s stormwater or hazard mitigation, these are not random requirements; they have an impact. A beneficial impact. They get us in the habit of keeping our municipal facilities clean, help us better understand our infrastructure and the connections between our actions and the water. Mitigation efforts help us create a better prepared and more resilient community. It may seem like more regulation and oversight, but it really does make for a better community and who can argue with that?
6. What is the difference between a bug and an insect?
“All bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs.” If you know me, you know it’s a small pet peeve of mine. Only a small group of insects are considered “bugs.” It’s a similar consideration as “all beagles are dogs but not all dogs are beagles.”
7. What’s the difference between a bunny and a rabbit?
8. If you could be any natural feature, what would you be and why?
A sycamore tree. They are often found near water, like a lake or a stream. They can handle a bit of dirt, like pollution. And they remain calm in a whirlwind, like high winds and hailstorms.