Alaina Sokolski: A Journey in Stewardship with Sequoia Riverlands Trust

Alaina Sokolski, Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) member with Sequoia Riverlands Trust

April 15, 2024

As the stewardship technician at Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT), Alaina’s role is deeply entrenched in the hands-on preservation and restoration of natural habitats. Her position involves a range of tasks, including but not limited to monitoring restoration sites, combatting invasive species, reintroducing native plants, and assisting at SRT’s Native Plant Nursery. She also has an active role during various volunteer days at the land preserves and the nursery.

Alaina is excited to serve an AmeriCorps term with SRT, a new chapter in her career defined by actionable steps aimed at environmental conservation. She looks forward to this opportunity to explore and contribute to the preservation of California’s beautiful natural landscapes while conserving them for future generations. She’s eager to connect with diverse community members and organizations to continuously learn and develop her skills.

Alaina has a very active role in the Wutchumna Ditch Mitigation Site at Kaweah Oaks Preserve, a riparian woodland located at SRT’s Kaweah Oaks Preserve. Having recently undergone a controlled burn, the site is a clean slate for conservation. A huge goal of this mitigation site is to grow and eventually host a large number of Valley Oak trees as well as an abundance of California native plants. With the help of SRT staff, Alaina and the team are in the process of installing irrigation lines for recently planted acorns and determining the best makeup of native plants to begin to add to the area.

A large part of Alaina’s service at SRT is at the plant nursery, which hosts an abundance of California native plants. For Alaina, nothing is more satisfying than planting something from a mere seed and within weeks, seeing sprouts of green pop up. Much of Alaina’s time is spent tending to the plants, but she has several projects in motion, such as the restoration of SRT’s greenhouse to allow the nursery to grow more plants from seeds, most of which are collected from the preserves themselves. Alaina has seen incredible progress in the infrastructure and irrigation of the greenhouse – it’s already full of sprouting native plants!

One of Alaina’s favorite parts of serving at Sequoia Riverlands Trust so far is to witness and participate in the community coming together to serve the land. These community events concentrate on different missions – nursery volunteer days to tend to plants and work on the nursery, stewardship volunteer days to do hands-on work out on the land, and plant sales where local vendors have a chance to showcase their creative abilities while building connections with others. At each event, Alaina has been pleasantly surprised by the amount of people that participate. There are people from all walks of life – students, families, young adults, and retired folks; what they all have in common is a shared vision and drive to continuously work on the healing of the land.

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