I’m so excited to be joining the Sutro Stewards team as the new Native Plant Nursery Program Manager! My formal educational background lies within the field of the liberal arts as I earned my Bachelor’s of Arts in English degree from Louisiana State University back in the Spring of 2012. I was first exposed to environmental work in the summer of 2014 when I went out on a limb and decided to apply for an opportunity to build and maintain hiking trails for a season in the Colorado Rockies with a small non-profit, the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC).
My entire world view opened up while working with SCC. While I had always been drawn to working outdoors, I grew up within a community where working in nature never seemed feasible. After working with SCC, I knew that I wanted to continue learning and growing within the environmental field, but also knew that I was limited in terms of the types of opportunities that I would be qualified for since my educational background was in liberal arts. That’s when I first learned about EarthCorps, a non-profit AmeriCorps program in Seattle that offered the opportunity for young people of all backgrounds to work for a year gaining skills in environmental restoration as well as volunteer management, the only caveat being that as an AmeriCorps program the crew members are compensated with a small stipend that amounts to less than minimum wage.
I knew that working with EarthCorps would offer me the opportunity to gain the environmental restoration skills I needed to keep advancing in the field, so when I was offered a spot in the 2015 cohort, I jumped at the opportunity. Over the next three years I lived and worked in Seattle within various seasonal positions where I developed a passion for native plants, environmental justice, and community-based habitat restoration programing. During the winter of 2017 I knew that I wanted to hone my skills towards native plant nursery work, so I applied for a year-long internship opportunity with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy here in the Bay Area.
I was offered the opportunity to intern at the Marin Headlands Native Plant Nursery where I was able to work with an amazing team of mentors that taught me all about seed collection, plant propagation, educational programming in the nursery, and all the ins and outs of nursery management. After completing my internship I was able to continue working at the Presidio and Fort Funston Native Plant Nurseries and as a restoration technician and seed collection manager in open spaces across the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
I’ve settled into the Bay Area and fallen in love with the diversity of plants and people that call this beautiful place home. In all of my work I hold my identity as a Queer Person of Color at the forefront and strive to make the environmental field feel more welcoming to all communities, particularly those communities that have been pushed to the margins historically. I am excited to embark on this new journey as the Native Plant Nursery Program Manager and look forward to a fruitful year to come here on Mt. Sutro!