Bridging the Divide
North Idaho Native Turns to Communication to Strengthen Idaho’s Lands, Industries
Emma Arman’s story is rooted in trees. The Post Falls-native grew up exploring trails while her father made a career at a paper mill.
“My family is deeply connected to the forests of Idaho,” Arman said. “Lumber has been part of the family forever.”
Making the connection between Idaho lands and industry comes second nature to Arman, a ’21 graduate of the College of Natural Resources. When it came time for a teenaged Arman to explore her future goals, she paid close attention to the conversations around her.
As a high school sophomore, she learned water science through The Confluence Project (TCP) led by experts from University of Idaho, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and others. TCP digs into mining waste impacts on the watershed, snowpack at ski resorts and aquifer protection efforts.
“I got to hear everyone’s perceptions of water and their take on different environmental debates,” Arman said. “I thought it was pretty cool. There are a lot of components to environmental issues I never knew about.”
With her interest piqued, Arman’s father introduced her to the environmental manager at Inland Empire Paper Company (IEP) so she could gain insights on everything from greenhouse gas reduction to water conservation efforts on the business side of the industry.
“I went to an IEP meeting and listened to talks back and forth between stakeholders. I fell in love with the conversations, the policy and the work behind environmental issues.”
Arman said those early experiences hooked her on environmental policy, but her newfound passion raised questions among relatives who wondered if her perspective would put her at odds with traditional Idaho industries. Her answer? Not at all, but the conversation drove home what she saw as a great demand for more effective environmental communicators.
Through her sorority, Arman gained appreciation for different ways Idahoans connect to the places they call home.
The College of Natural Resources helped Arman learn adaptability in speaking about environmental issues.
“I want to bridge the divide and create stronger connections between private and public industry and citizens,” Arman said. “I want to support our industries and the supplies we need from Idaho’s lands while also supporting our environment long-term. I want to marry the extremes.”
These conversations and passions grew deeper as an environmental science major at U of I.
“The College of Natural Resources challenged me in every way.” Arman said. “There’s no right or wrong. No black or white. I have to adapt to all situations to be well rounded and to walk with people of all backgrounds and focus areas.”
She found her Idaho roots grew stronger in Moscow.
“Not all of Idaho looks the same, but the whole state is very proud of its natural resources,” Arman said. “We all bring unique perspectives from every town. It’s exciting to see how my perspective contributes to a much bigger picture.”
Article by Katie Marshall, U of I Coeur d’Alene.
Photos by Joe Pallen, Creative Services.
Published November 2021.