Isabel Loza, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Tree Conservation
What is your favorite season at the Arboretum and why?
Bela’s heart resonates with three cherished seasons, an array that encompasses everything except the icy grasp of winter. She is fond of fall primarily due to the changing colors of the leaves, and because there is so much to appreciate in nature that makes it feel really special. She lives in the city, and the Arboretum is one of the places that Bela can go to recharge with nature. She finds spring to be beautiful as well, with blooming flowers everywhere, and also because people seem to be happier when winter is over. Finally, coming from the tropics of Bolivia, Bela likes the feel of summer. She also appreciates all of the activities that are open to employees during the summer months to attend.
What is the best part of your job?
The mission of The Morton Arboretum is important to Bela. The Global Tree Conservation Program, of which she is a part, is focused on helping threatened species from going extinct, in particular, species of oaks. She is motivated by that mission and is grateful to be a part of that endeavor. Bela’s research allows her to think about how she can put all of her scientific training toward helping inform conservation actions. In her role, she travels to Mexico for her research, where she collaborates closely with local stakeholders. Her main goal in going there is to find the most threatened and rare oak species to have more knowledge about them and conserve them. Another part of her position is to teach the new generation of conservation scientists about forest ecology; she will be doing this next spring. She finds research and teaching very rewarding.
Do you have a favorite location on the grounds or a favorite tree?
When Bela needs to think and doesn’t have much time, she will take a quick walk to a bench that overlooks Meadow Lake. There, she can quietly sit and peacefully enjoy the water and sounds of nature.
What do you want guests to know about The Morton Arboretum and its mission?
Bela wants to highlight all of the valuable work being done in the Center for Tree Science and the Global Tree Conservation Program departments. One of their goals is to generate knowledge to develop solutions to the challenges that trees are facing now. Bela would also like to highlight that the Arboretum’s work is not just in the Chicago region or the United States, but is also helping people in other regions of the world, such as Mexico, Central America, and soon Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
When thinking of the Arboretum’s Employee Core Values, which one resonates with you and why?
The Arboretum provides many opportunities for staff to Keep Learning, and Bela believes that by being open to learning is the key to success. In her role she finds many opportunities to keep growing in her career, as some examples, she is learning to collaborate with local stakeholders, she is also learning new statistical techniques and also administrative skills. All these together will help her in her career path.
What’s an insider tip that you’d like to share with guests?
Guests can see science at work through the experiments taking place on the grounds, such as equipment being used to measure the growth of the tree or the growth of the roots. Guests can find these experiments in different trees such as Picea abies (Norway spruce) off the trail at Parking Lot 19; Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae), on the south side of Lake Marmo near Parking Lot 28, and Acer saccharum (sugar maple), on the left side of the road before Parking Lot 6. Look for trees with PVC tubes.
Share an interesting fun fact about you:
While she hasn’t taken any formal classes, Bela loves to dance salsa and has taught herself through the years. Salsa is one of the dances that is common in her home country; she sometimes goes to downtown Chicago to practice and have fun.