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Rachael Miller

Affiliation: Environmental Researchers and Field Scientists
Occupation: National Geographic Explorer, Conservation Professional
Location: United States
Joined ExpertVoice: 2016

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This month, we connected with Rachael Miller – she has an impressive Expert resume, including being a National Geographic Explorer, Founder of Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean and more. Join us to see what adventures she has been on and what products on ExpertVoice work best for her.

Where are you originally from?

“I grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY – the gateway to the Adirondacks and an amazing multi-season, outdoors-oriented place with decent access to lakes, rivers and mountains. Now we live around 2.5 hours away in north-central Vermont right in the valley between the two spines of the Green Mountains.”

What has been your experience being a National Geographic Explorer?

“Having grown up reading (and saving) all of our National Geographic magazines, I still swoon a little when I am introduced as a National Geographic Explorer. I gained that title when the National Geographic Society agreed to fund our second expedition to sample the entire Hudson River for microplastics and anthropogenic (manmade) microfiber pollution. Our proposal was to sample the air, the whole water column and the soil on the banks every three miles from Lake Tear of the Clouds high in the Adirondack Mountains where the Hudson begins, all the way to Ambrose Light where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Executing that expedition, in 2019,  was my entry to being part of the NatGeo Explorer family. Since then, I’ve had some incredible opportunities and experiences. NatGeo is so much more than just a funder, but provides training in myriad topics that go beyond the obvious storytelling and photography to updates on exploration technology, understanding cultural dynamics to hosting gatherings of some of the most fascinating and impactful people. In the dreams coming true department, I just returned from a post as a Visiting Scientist on a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic expedition where we visited the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. It was breathtaking (penguins! Albatross! ice!) and we got to complete our research in those remote places as well!”

Tell me more about your organization, Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean.

After completing cleanup of a remote island off the Maine coast, Rachael and her crew collaborated with sustainable fashion designer Runa Ray to create a dress made entirely from rope taken off discarded lobster traps.

“Our mission is to protect the ocean and conserve a healthy, thriving marine ecosystem. We work on the three biggest parts of the marine debris problem: derelict fishing gear, consumer debris and microplastic on shorelines and throughout the whole water column, from the surface to the seafloor in urban, coastal and inland waters.”

What was the driving force behind starting Rozalia Project?

“As a competitive dinghy sailor, I had the amazing opportunity to race in venues around the world and one thing united every venue: trash. As a competitive swimmer, recreational freediver and the person who gets out of the ocean/lake/river last, seeing trash in the water with me was frequent and just gross. 

Anything that threatens our marine ecosystem threatens our entire planet and all of us on it. This is a problem that cannot be overlooked and after stumbling upon a beach on an island off the coast of Maine that was covered in trash, it was clear that I needed to take a swing at having an impact. That was the spark that started the Rozalia Project in October 2009 on Matinicus Island. Now, with over one million pieces of trash recorded and recovered, tens of thousands of people energized in direct programs, a handful of peer-reviewed papers published and one invention to protect our ocean launched (the Cora Ball, a microfiber-catching laundry ball), we are still working to make as much of a positive impact as we can while inspiring people of all ages and enjoying the venues in which we are working!”

Which products on ExpertVoice help you to stay safe and comfortable while traveling to varying climates?

“I am so very grateful for the brands that are part of ExpertVoice and several are the mainstays of the gear I use on these expeditions and for the human, gravity and wind-powered sports I do. Some specific products that were essential while in the Arctic and Southern Ocean include:

  • Mountain Hardwear Compressor pants and mitts
  • Mountain Hardwear AirMesh thermal top and Kor-Shell jacket: I lived in them for everything from glacier hikes to Zodiac cruises and love them for their incredibly light (in weight) warmth.
  • Helly Hansen Coastal Sailing bibs: Outside of the puff pants on the expeditions and also while paddling and sailing at home, these are excellent.

I would say overall during all of our expeditions this year, I was wearing more gear from ExpertVoice brands than not!“

Rachael’s Picks: Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pant, Mountain Hardwear Compressor Gore-tex Mitts, Mountain Hardwear AirMesh Thermal Half-zip, Mountain Hardwear Kor AirShell Warm Jacket and Helly Hansen Coastal Sailing Bibs

What advice can you give to others looking to make a difference in the outdoors?

Rachael taking an ocean sample, standing on “fast ice” in Antarctica.

“Embrace and share the joy. Share what you learn about places and creatures and the weather and the land and the ocean and your lakes and rivers. Participate in and show off your efforts – to conserve resources, to buy with intent, to engage in shoreline cleanups, invasive species removals, and Bioblitz events! There are so many ways to both make an impact. If you want to take it to the next level I recommend volunteering with a nonprofit that works in your favorite place or with your favorite creatures. There are so many amazing organizations with whom you could work and that will make an exponential difference. Love the ocean? Join Rozalia Project for an expedition on the Gulf of Maine! If you are interested in joining us, check out https://www.rozaliaproject.org/jump-in.


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