I’m Andrea Carranza, a senior at San Francisco State University studying Geography, and currently the nursery intern for the Sutro Stewards. Since a very young age, I have always had a passion for the outdoors. From visiting the Santa Cruz mountains every year for summer camp, to growing tomatoes and herbs in our backyard, I have always had an innate love of nature. When I started school at San Francisco State University I struggled to decide my major until I took a course called Geography of California. Almost immediately, a switch went off in my head and I knew I wanted to study sustainability and work hands-on with creating and implementing solutions that would help us care for our planet instead of abuse it. As an intern at the Sutro Stewards I get to work hands on with native plant species, and interact with likeminded people who are working to maintain San Francisco’s urban landscape and contribute to a sustainable future for our planet, one seedling at a time.
This last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Cusco, Peru for two weeks as part of the GREEN Program to study Water Resource Management and Sustainable Practices at the Cusco chapter of the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola. Being of Peruvian descent, it was an incredible experience to immerse myself in the culture of Peru and learn about the historical practices in water resource management, and how some of those sustainable practices are still in use today. One such example involved hiking to the top of a historical archeological site and measuring the aqueduct ancient Incan civilizations used in their water practices while evaluating how those practices are still in place today, providing water to the valley below. To culminate our learning experience in Cusco, we visited a local elementary school where the GREEN Program participants were able to build the school their own greenhouse and also create a gutter system and rain water collection system using recycled plastic bottles. Through the process we were able to help the students as well as the parents and members of the surrounding community connect with their local environment and empower them to conserve, maintain and actively be a part of their own futures.
Living in San Francisco, we are on the cutting edge end of global solutions to our environmental problems. Our efforts to become a zero waste city by the year 2020 have led to important advancements such as the ban of plastic grocery bags and Styrofoam containers. The impact that I want to leave on the world is mainly education; I want future generations to be aware of the environment that they live in, and how to coexist sustainably and happily. Working with the Sutro Stewards has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and be a part of an environmental movement that is working to create a sustainable future right in our own backyard. I am incredibly grateful and appreciative of Liza and Amy for everything that they do, and for taking the time to work with everyone who walks through the nursery gates. Some of my duties in the nursery have included weeding, up-potting, general maintenance and preparing for events such as the plant sale. I have also been helping to create a propagation protocol database for plants that are in the nursery. My internship with the Sutro Stewards has not only helped me continue my own education, but has allowed me to work in a field that I am genuinely passionate about. As Mahatma Gandhi says “You must be the change you want to see in the world,” and there is no better way to generate change than to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.