Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: Meet an 'Ologist
David Hercher, Paria River District
Meet Dr. Hannah Bonner! Hannah is an environmental scientist for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Hannah works with Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Soil Scientist Raven Chavez in monitoring recreational water at Calf Creek Falls in Escalante, Utah.
Hannah is a Utah native who started her career as scientist in 2016, and together she and her team are dedicated to safeguarding public health in Utah's renowned lakes, reservoirs, and rivers.
Together they diligently identify harmful waterborne pathogens (E. coli) and harmful algal blooms (HABs), which pose a serious health risk to recreating visitors and their pets. In collaboration with local authorities, they issue timely advisories to ensure the safety and well-being of the public.
"I’ve always been curious about the natural world both personally and professionally, and this job has a little bit of everything! I get to be a scientific researcher, a public educator, and a cooperative policy maker. But I'm happiest when I'm in the field getting to interact directly with harmful algae and the public.”
As an Environmental Scientist at Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality, Hannah gets to travel around the state to ensure public safety in and around Utah’s waterways.
“The work I do has real and immediate effects on public safety. It's a lot of responsibility, but it also makes my efforts meaningful. Watching folks become empowered and informed on how to stay safe from harmful algal blooms is particularly rewarding. Utah has incredible waterways and I want everyone to know how to enjoy them.”