Hi, I’m Carmel Johnston from Whitefish, MT. I’ve had a passion for natural resources my whole life and am exploring new ways to use them here on SimMars. In high school, I participated in the Flathead River Educational Effort for Focused Learning in our Watershed (FREEFLOW) where we learned about water quality, stream health, and the influence of humans on water quality in the Flathead Valley.

I wanted to continue studying hydrology so I went to school at Montana State University for a BS in Soil and Water Science. I continued on for a MS in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences. This allowed me the opportunity to conduct two summers of field work in Alaska, studying carbon dynamics in permafrost soils. After completing my thesis, I traveled to New Zealand and Australia to learn about livestock management from people that are dealing with climate change right now.  And let’s be honest, I also did a bunch of hiking while I was there.

When I came home, I spent the summer hiking around Glacier Park and enjoying a beautiful Western Montana summer before working for the NRCS as a soil scientist. This past summer, I worked on the initial soil mapping project in Glacier which married my favorite things: science and the wilderness.

I decided to join the 4th HI-SEAS Mission so I can continue studying food production, this time within the construct of living on Mars. The research we are conducting will hopefully have implications for food production on Mars as well as Earth. How do we feed a population using the resources you have while not destroying the planet you’re on? Come on world, we need to start thinking about this now!

My favorite things include being outside (yes it’s weird that I’m spending a year in a dome), climbing mountains, skiing, fishing, running, biking, knitting, baking, and playing with my favorite human… my nephew Cash.