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Winter Conservation Intern Profile: Tommy Alexander

Winter Conservation Intern Profile: Tommy Alexander

Hi everyone! I am Tommy: a writer and cartographer with a neighborly interest in Mt. Sutro and a passion for conservation. I’m excited to be helping out Sutro Stewards this winter with habitat restoration work, website content, and a restoration site mapping project.

I grew up in the deep suburbs of south San Jose doing volunteer restoration work, building trails in the hills, and helping out in my parents’ gardens. I earned my BA in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara, class of 2014. In the ensuing years I’ve worked as a freelance journalist, a cartographer, a farmhand, a travel guide editor, a technical writer, a nonprofit logistics associate, a courier, and a machine shop production operator.

I’m currently working weekdays as a technical writer on the mapping team at Cruise Automation, where I’m helping develop maps to support the rollout of an electric self-driving rideshare service. I live in a 12-person co-op near Haight and Masonic, and I’m active in the burgeoning San Francisco cooperative living scene. I’m also an avid rock climber, trail runner, and cyclist, and I love to write and perform music and poetry when the inspiration strikes.

I sought out this internship at Sutro Stewards because I want to get more involved in conservation and urban ecology. I’m hoping to learn more about the practice of habitat restoration from staff and volunteers, make connections in the San Francisco conservation community, and level up my California native plant identification skills. I’m also using my site mapping project as a sandbox for learning how to source my own data and build web maps for the public, which is an exciting opportunity. I’m working on two maps: an internal map to help Sutro Stewards staff keep track of planting sites, and an interactive web map that community members can use to view the progress of ongoing restoration.

Above all, this has been a lovely way to get more involved in the management and protection of my neighborhood open space. After a 40-hour week spent staring at a computer screen, it’s incredibly grounding to get my hands in the earth and be present in the forest. I’m excited to be here, and I look forward to meeting more of you in the months to come. See you on the mountain!

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