Can I say the entire plant community of the Georgia coast? That would be accurate. Particularly prickly pear cactuses, cordgrass, Spanish moss, flowering dogwoods. But I guess if I have to pick one, I would pick the live oak. It’s an evergreen oak, so they’re “not like other girls.” Point in their favor. They’re an emblem of my home state and where I grew up, and I am tragically southern. Another point. And they live for ages. There’s something magical about a tree that’s seen generations of human history.
Wesley Jarrett Peebles
Class of 2020
What advice would you give to incoming Ecology majors?
Explore! No solution has one answer and no two ecology majors are alike! The coolest thing about Odum and your time as an undergrad is that you can pursue whatever you’re interested in! So many things are intimately tied to ecology and our understanding of the world, so if you want to study two things that have “nothing to do with each other,” go ahead and prove them wrong. Trust me, if I had a nickel for every time someone looked at me like a three-headed toad for studying ecology, sociology and art history, I might just have enough money to run for elected office. In fact…
What was the best piece of advice you received as a student?
Don’t worry about planning out your whole life. Take your time and enjoy what you’re doing. As a student, your job is to explore and be creative. Learn what you’re interested in, challenge yourself. But your 12-Point Life Plan is bound to fall apart. Trust, me. Look at my graduating class. Odds are things will work out for the best. Lincoln lost his 1860 Senate campaign. I think that might have been for the best, don’t you?
The course that most changed my perspective on the world ...
Native American Social Politics and Global Climate Change were two of the most impactful courses as an undergrad. As you may expect, they both pointed out the necessity of change and how to get there. But by far the most interesting and impactful thing was that both courses challenged me to think critically about the system that had caused a host problems in America and how we might work to change them to create a more equitable system.
What would be your ideal job in life?
My ideal job, no holds barred? I want to be an environmental lawyer, poet and social activist that runs a contemporary art space and historical library. I grow and sell houseplants and local plant species on the side. Y’know, as a hobby. I later run for Senate. My career culminates in being Secretary of the Interior. A boy can dream.
What one word best describes my experience in the Odum School of Ecology?