National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Monica Patel, wilderness fellow

Monica Patel started her National Park Service career in 2010 as a George Wright Climate Change intern at Fire Island National Seashore in New York. Her work in wilderness stewardship began when she joined the first cohort of Park Service Wilderness Fellows at Buffalo National River in Arkansas - America's first "National River". She also served as a Wilderness Fellow for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and completed three wilderness character monitoring reports for the Great Swamp and E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuges in New Jersey, and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine. She also worked as a Geospatial Analyst for Rutgers University, assisting in the development of a digital geomorphic map for Fire Island National Seashore in New York and Gateway National Recreation Area in New Jersey.

Patel later moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a Resource Advisor on the BP Oil Spill. She currently serves as the Wilderness Specialist at Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi, heading up the development of the wilderness and backcountry stewardship plan. She earned a Master's degree in Environmental Management from Duke University in 2010, with a focus on ecosystem science and conservation.

Mills will be speaking at the National Wilderness Conference on Sunday, October 19th as part of the following: Inspiration for the Future of Wilderness with keynote speakers Monica Patel and Christina Mills, wilderness fellows; Robert Glenn Ketchum, conservation photographer and founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers; Dave Foreman, longtime wilderness advocate