Tony Shourds – A Baseball-Playing, Hops-Growing, Environmentalist

09-14-shourds-1 Tony Shourds enjoys the outdoors. Even as a little kid in Meriden, Connecticut, his mother had to insist he come inside at night. As an adult, Tony’s interests and career have kept him connected to nature and the outdoors. He is currently an Environmental Specialist for the U-M Occupational Safety and Environmental Health Department (OSEH). OSEH is responsible for monitoring multiple environmental regulations on campus.

His first career required him to spend a lot of time outdoors, but in a much different way than he does now.

At age 19, Tony was drafted from junior college to play professional baseball with the Texas Rangers farm team. During his time as a ball player, he not only improved his skills, but learned valuable life lessons while on the road with his team. “Don’t ever be intimidated,” says Tony. “There are people with different skill levels and abilities, but you should always go after your goals and passion. You will make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from them.”

At the end of 4 years in professional baseball, Tony made a major life decision not to continue with baseball. He felt the game and expectations of players to perform were changing. He also knew that it would take him many more years to play in the major leagues. Tony decided he could use his time and money in a better way.

In 2004, Tony came to the University of Michigan to complete his undergraduate degree at the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) – Program in the Environment (PITE). His love for the outdoors, coupled with his interest in environmental policy made this degree a good fit.

09-14-shourds-baseballWhile completing his degree, Tony began an internship with OSEH which led to his permanent position. The boy who loved playing outdoors, now has a grown-up job which supports his interests. During this time, Tony started the North Campus Woods Conservation Program with Kenn Rapp, U-M’s Landscape Architect. The project takes teams of students into the North Campus wooded area to teach them about native and invasive plants and clear away invasives and dead plants.

In his personal time, Tony gardens with his family, but not just vegetables and flowers. “The soil is perfect for hops,” Tony says. And asked if he also brews his own beer, Tony says no, but he is happy to barter with his beer brewing friends.

The outdoor-loving, hops-growing, former professional baseball player also has a passion for music. He plays the guitar, piano, drums and various other instruments. He shares this passion with his wife, a music teacher, and two children.

“As an alumnus, I’m proud to be a Wolverine and proud to represent the U-M in the environmental field,” says Tony. “I’m especially proud to work with a group of talented & dedicated professionals here at U-M’s Occupational Safety & Environmental Health, who, on a daily basis, strive to protect our co-workers, the faculty, staff, and students, as well as the surrounding natural environment that we all share.”