As a restoration ecologist, I recognize the educational value and civic importance of volunteer work and outreach. I enjoy finding opportunities to restore local ecosystems and engage my community. These opportunities have not only given me practical skills in restoring and conserving ecosystems, but have been a whole lot of fun!
Center for Land-Based Learning
(SLEWS mentor, 2009-2013)
The Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship Program (SLEWS) pairs high school classes from California schools with local landowners to conduct habitat restoration projects. The goals of the program are to enhance habitat for local species while providing students with hands-on opportunities to learn about and come to appreciate their local ecosystems. High school classes come out to the same restoration site 3-5 full days over the school year, and are assisted each field day by several SLEWS “mentors”, who lead smaller teams of students in restoration fieldwork and educational activities. I became a SLEWS mentor in my first year of graduate school because I believe that getting kids excited about being outdoors and giving them fulfilling and educational experiences with volunteer work and nature are some of the best tools available for ensuring a population of environmentally-conscious citizens. The experiences I’ve had watching students learn that they can make a positive difference in their communities have enriched my time in Davis. Being a SLEWS mentor has also been a great excuse for me to take breaks from classes or desk work to get outside and connect with nature and some truly great people!
Society for Conservation Biology
(Member and Volunteer Coordinator, 2010-2014)
I joined the UC Davis Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology to connect with fellow students and the greater conservation community. As Volunteer Coordinator for the group, I have partnered with local organizations such as Audubon California, Putah Creek Council, and the Cool Davis Initiative to organize over a dozen volunteer events for our members. These events have included:
Planting native trees, shrubs, grasses, and sedges in hedgerows and riparian areas
- Collecting seeds for restoration projects
- Seeding native grasses in restoration sites
- Encouraging and educating community members to engage in a low-carbon lifestyle at the Cool Davis Festival
Putah Creek Council Stewardship Team
(Stewardship Team Leader, 2012-2014)
Putah Creek Council, a local non-profit environmental group dedicated to protecting and restoring local watersheds through community outreach, education, and habitat restoration, created their Stewardship Team in 2012. Because of the great experiences I’d had volunteering with Putah Creek Council before, I knew I wanted to be Stewardship Team Leader as soon as I heard about the opportunity! As a member of the Stewardship Team, I helped run community volunteer events. My tasks as a team leader included:
Setting up and breaking down volunteer events
- Giving demonstrations to volunteers on proper technique for planting trees, grasses, shrubs, and forbs, laying irrigation line, etc.
- Leading teams of community volunteers (children and/or adults) on restoration field days
- Assisting staff and volunteers in greenhouse activities
- Giving educational presentations to community members (CreekSpeak public lecture series) and other Stewardship Team Leaders