FORT PIERCE FOLKS
ANTHONY INSWASTY PHOTOS
Susan Hamburger inspects a palmetto during a hike in the Ancient Oaks Preserve at Weldon Lewis Park on Oleander Avenue.
BY JANIE GOULD
After Susan Hamburger retired from academic life
and moved to Fort Pierce a few years ago, she did
what she describes as a 180-degree turn, pivoting
from her background in English and history to a
new avocation as a citizen-scientist who is passionate about
protecting the environment.
She serves as president of the St. Lucie chapter of Florida
Master Naturalists, volunteers at the Savannas State Preserve,
tests water for the presence of microplastics and
harmful algae, helps manage hiking and kayaking outings
for St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department,
and much more.
“I am super busy,” she said.
She also helps protect the environment at ground level, literally,
by picking up other people’s litter, gradually replacing
the turf grass in her yard with native ground cover, and since
1970, recycling everything possible, “no matter where I lived
or where I was traveling.”
Originally from New Jersey, Hamburger earned a bachelor’s
degree in English and Master of Library Science from
Rutgers University in New Jersey, and a master’s degree
and doctorate in history from Florida State University. She
worked as the manuscripts cataloging librarian at Pennsylvania
State University until she retired in 2015. She published
academic articles on topics as disparate as literary authors,
the Civil War and horse racing. In fact, she wrote her doctoral
dissertation at FSU on the history of the sport in Florida.
She got interested in that topic when she was growing up in
“I would watch the Saturday races from New York on TV
every week, and we would take our vacations around the
race track schedule in Florida,” she said. “I also rode horses. I
The CITIZEN SCIENTIST