2010 Members

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Andrew Pellkofer, River Assessment Assistant

SNAP Site: American Rivers (Nevada City, CA)

andrew pAndrew is the River Restoration Assistant and AmeriCorps member with American Rivers in Nevada City, CA. He is responsible for developing and implementing elements of the Deer Creek Floodplain Restoration Project, research and application of emerging meadow restoration techniques, and the collection of general hydrologic data for American Rivers. Andrew grew up in the small agricultural town of Corning, CA. He spent several years in Chico, CA where he attended Butte College and built snowboards for Glissade Mfg. After Chico, Andrew spent several years in Redding, CA. where he completed his general education at Shasta College and worked in an outdoor shop. His last stop before joining AmeriCorps was Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where he obtained a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection and a minor in Water Science. He has worked for USGS as a Hydrologic Technician, spent extensive time with state, local, and private trail building groups developing freeride and downhill mountain bike trails, and traveled throughout the western United States and Canada riding and building mountain bike trails. Andrew now lives in Nevada City with four other SNAP members where he enjoys hiking, climbing, fly fishing, and of course, mountain biking.

Andrew Schurr, Conservation Associate

SNAP Site: Friends of the Inyo (Bishop, CA)

andrew sGrowing up in mid-Michigan Andrew spent much of his youth exploring the woods and fields that dotted the rural landscape around his home. These experiences helped Andrew to develop a deep love for the outdoors and the natural world. Andrew took his interests to the academic arena at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he graduated in April 2008 with an Environmental studies B.A. focusing on sustainable land use and landscape design. However it was during a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail that he fell in love with the Sierra Nevada region and became aware of the issues that this magnificent area face.

Andrew is very excited to serve a second year of AmeriCorps with Friends of the Inyo in order to help preserve the landscape, culture and natural function of the Eastern Sierra for future generations. When not working Andrew enjoys backpacking, hiking, climbing, snowboarding and anything else that involves being active in the outdoors.

Anne Taormina, Immersed in the Wild Coordinator

SNAP Site: WildPlaces (Springville, CA)

3510771Anne Taormina will be coordinating the Immersed in the Wild Service Learning Program at WildPlaces. She was born in Reno, Nevada, but moved to Southern California when she was only two.She then moved to the northern part of the state to attend college at UC Berkeley, where she received a BA in English Literature. She has worked at a Nature Center in Long Beach teaching children in the outdoors from 2007 to 2009. Anne’s interests vary from reading and bird-watching to shopping and movies …..and everything in between. “I have always wanted to work with youth in the beautiful wild lands of California. The outdoors offer such possibility for growth, and self-reliance for young people. I not only want to facilitate this connection to the outdoors, but I also want to inspire kids to become stewards of these places.”


Brooke Berger, Watershed Monitoring Specialist

SNAP Site: South Yuba River Citizen’s League (Nevada City, CA)

6349902Brooke is currently the River Monitoring Coordinator and AmeriCorps member at the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in historic Nevada City. She gets to spend her days coordinating a fantastic group of over 75 volunteer water quality monitors to collect scientifically sound data that is used to keep the Yuba Watershed healthy and beautiful. Brooke was raised by biologists on the banks of the Rio Grande in New Mexico’s high deserts. The natural scarcity of water in her home state engrained in Brooke an appreciation for her home’s rivers, lakes, and aquifers and a desire to protect and improve them. In 2008, Brooke earned a BS in Biology at the University of New Mexico with a minor in Geography. Prior to joining the SNAP program she worked for state agencies in rivers and streams all over New Mexico and Oregon conducting fish and habitat surveys, and removing non-native species. When she isn’t working in water Brooke enjoys hiking, rock climbing, reading history books with her cats, knitting and other domestic pursuits.


Drew Foster, Conservation Associate

SNAP Site: Friends of the Inyo (Bishop, CA)

5242645Hailing from the beaches of Malibu, the redwood forest, the city by the bay, and the Eastern Sierra, Drew has a broad and holistic view of California. He is a lumberjack, a floral enthusiast, professional rock skipper, balloon aficionado, and an avid climber of trees. He has worked on sustainability issues and ecological restoration for several years, and is committed to teaching others about the natural world, and fostering a deeper respect and excitement about the land. His power animal is the pika; favorite color: slate gray; favorite food: strawberries; favorite plant family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat); favorite plant family to eat: Brassicaceae (Mustard); favorite activity: the deep and profound activity of nothing. So now you know.


Caitlin O’Hara, Conservation Associate

SNAP Site: Shasta Land Trust (Redding, CA)

6835447Caitlin is currently serving as the AmeriCorps Conservation Associate with the Shasta Land Trust in Redding, California. She is responsible for most of Shasta Land Trust’s volunteer recruitment, as well as their growing environmental education program and the monitoring of properties with conservation easements held by Shasta Land Trust. Caitlin grew up in small town Amador County, in the foothills of the central Sierra Nevada, where she spent her childhood climbing trees, exploring the creek in her backyard, and running around in the five acres of property surrounding her house. She eventually journeyed down to the flatlands of the central valley for college, where she spent five years at UC Davis. During her time at Davis, Caitlin earned a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology as well as a B.A. in Geology. Her favorite college experience was a field class in volcanology that she took through the geology department where she and a dozen other students spent two weeks living on and studying Kilauea in Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawai’i. After graduating from UC Davis in June of 2009, Caitlin worked for an environmental education summer camp in Davis, then spent the fall as a zoo keeper intern in the birdhouse at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC before joining the SNAP program in January of 2010. Caitlin does not yet have any specific career goals post-SNAP, but hopes to gain some great experience and make a difference during her year of serving the Sierras.

Christopher Watts, Stewardship and Education Assistant

SNAP Site: Sierra Foothill Conservancy (Mariposa, CA)

1548958Christopher serves as a second year AmeriCorps Land Steward and Education Assistant for the Sierra Foothill Conservancy, a local land trust servicing portions of Fresno and Madera counties and all of Mariposa County. Christopher comes from a small town called Orangevale of Sacramento County. He grew up exploring the Oak Woodlands of his home city and now raises awareness in a new home.

Christopher obtained a degree in Rangeland Resource Sciences from Humboldt State University and is an active mountain biker, skier and kayaker. His family now resides in South Lake Tahoe and his love for the Sierra and its foothills is unwavering. He hopes to promote awareness and education to the area and start a legacy for future members to follow.


Emily Creegan, Rio Limpio Project Coordinator

SNAP Site: WildPlaces (Springville, CA)

4408230Emily Creegan is the new Río Limpio/Clean River Project Coordinator for WildPlaces. She is originally from the bay area and recently graduated from Humboldt State University with an Environmental Science Degree. She has been involved with various community and campus-wide sustainability events. She has co-directed for the Sustainable Living Arts and Music Festival in Northern California, an event held on Earth, where around 5,000 people come to enjoy and learn how to live more harmoniously with our planet. The music stages were powered by biofuels (corn oil), peddle and solar power and by the end of the day only one trash bag of waste was accumulated! She is looking forward to her time with WildPlaces – organizing events, recruiting volunteers and working with at-risk and underprivileged youth in helping to facilitate a connection with our wild places and air, water, and land.

Heather Foslund, Education Program Assistant

SNAP Site: UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (Tahoe City, CA)

1880003Heather is an Education Assistant at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) in Incline Village. She is responsible for assisting scientists with their research on Lake Tahoe and translating their work for public awareness. She also coordinates field trips for fifth and sixth graders to enhance their skills in science and provide them with a sound background of their surrounding environment. Heather grew up in Woodridge, IL where she spent most of her time fishing and volunteering at an animal rehabilitation center. Heather pursued a B.S. degree in Zoology and a minor in Environmental Studies at Southern Illinois University. While attending she assisted in many laboratories, but finally received a grant to perform her own research project in the toxicology department studying sediment chemistry. She spent her graduation in the University’s football stadium outside with generators powering the ceremony because Southern Illinois was hit with what was called an “inland hurricane,” the day before that had gusts of wind reaching 80 mi/hour for a consistent period of time (the radar can be youtubed by searching “Illinois hurricane radar loop”). Despite the storm, she stayed down there interning as a stream ecologist for the IEPA. Heather got engaged to her long distance boyfriend in August 2008 and eventually moved to Incline Village to finally be closer to him. Now, she enjoys hiking and canoeing and plans to take up fly fishing in the summer. She lives with her fiancé, two roommates, and two adorable dogs.

Ian Turner, Conservation Assistant – Terrestrial

SNAP Site: Tahoe Resource Conservation DIstrict (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

1905895Ian Turner will be serving as the Terrestrial Conservation Assistant for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. In this position, Ian will be working with the TRCD on invasive species issues and public outreach concerning noxious and invasive weeds in the Tahoe Basin. Ian was born and raised in the Appalachian metropolis of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he grew up exploring the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and cheering for the Tennessee Volunteers. Ian attended the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, where he majored in Natural Resources and competed in varsity cross-country and track. After graduating in May 2008, Ian ventured west to begin an internship with the Clark Fork Coalition, a watershed protection group in Missoula, MT. His time in Montana allowed Ian to substantiate his goal of becoming an environmental professional, and he is pleased to begin serving in this capacity with the TRCD. In addition to the obvious outdoor pursuits, Ian enjoys NBA basketball, vintage maps and tree identification.


Jessica Avina, Outreach Assistant

SNAP Site: Placer Land Trust (Auburn, CA)

6898060Jessica Aviña grew up in Camarillo, CA. Her interests include hiking and surfing, which have continually fostered her passion for nature and environmental causes. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. Before making her way to Northern California, she lived for some time in South East Asia (studying tropical tree frogs) and Hawaii (slinging shots of espresso). Most recently she finished her Master’s of Public Administration, focusing on Environmental Policy and Management, at the University of Washington in Seattle. She moved to Davis, CA, with her boyfriend who is currently serving as a Family Practice Resident at Travis Air Force Base. Jessica is very excited to serve as Placer Land Trust’s Outreach Assistant and AmeriCorps member. Her duties include volunteer recruitment/management, environmental education, and outreach for Placer Land Trust. She looks forward to invigorating the volunteer program in 2010, and bringing people out to Placer Land Trust properties to both restore and enjoy the beautiful resources of the Foothills.


Kara Steeland, Conservation Assistant – Aquatic

SNAP Site: Tahoe Resource Conservation District (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

5283407Kara is serving as the Aquatic Conservation Assistant with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District in South Lake Tahoe. Through her service, she will be assisting with the watercraft inspection program to prevent the introduction of new invasive species, creating education and outreach activities, and helping to monitor ongoing management efforts on the lake.

Kara grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan on the shores of Lake St. Clair. Throughout her childhood she gained an appreciation and a love for freshwater while sailing and spending summers on Lake Huron. She later discovered a passion for the mountains and the West during high school on backpacking trips in Oregon and Washington. She attended the University of Michigan where she studied Environmental Science and Policy. During college, she worked for the National Park Service where she spent a lot of quality time with a shovel removing invasive weeds in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park on Lake Michigan. This past winter, she studied abroad in New Zealand where she not only escaped Michigan winter, but also traveled around the country learning about ecological restoration, environmental policy, and practical conservation strategies. After her experiences in New Zealand, she decided she didn’t want to spend another semester in the classroom, so she graduated a semester early to join SNAP.

 As a recent college graduate, Kara is so excited to be living in the mountains and working in the environmental field. Besides removing invasive species, Kara enjoys backpacking, running, sunshine, sailing, cooking, skiing, and getting things done.



Kelly Hickman, Outreach Coordinator

SNAP Site: Friends of Deer Creek (Nevada City, CA)

8295878Kelly is serving as the 2010 Outreach Coordinator with Friends of Deer Creek in the charming town of Nevada City. She will be responsible for education and outreach, monitoring and restoration of Deer Creek, and the creation of an algae collection and identification program using state standardized protocols.

She grew up in Irvine, CA and developed a passion and awareness of the natural environment at an early age. Upon graduating high school, Kelly decided to become a banana slug by attending UC Santa Cruz and received her B.S. in Marine Biology. She thrived in the redwoods that overlooked the ocean where she made amazing friends and was fortunate to have many opportunities become available for her to pursue. During her sophomore year, Kelly was a Resident Assistant for Crown College and went on to become a Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern with Recycling Services her junior year. Not forgetting her love of the ocean, she obtained her AAUS Scientific SCUBA Diving certification and was a lab assistant in several marine ecology labs on campus.

During her last quarter, Kelly attended the ROKS study away program at the Kellogg Biological Station in Michigan. In this amazing time, Kelly took classes, worked in one of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center labs, and participated in an independent research internship working on phytoplankton community ecology and physiology.

After moving back to California, Kelly joined the 2009 SNAP Program and served in South Lake Tahoe at the Tahoe Resource Conservation District as the Aquatic Conservation Assistant. This was a wonderful experience where she implemented outreach and education efforts, helped with Asian Clam management, and was involved with the coordination of the Watercraft Inspection Program.

Now in her second year of service, Kelly is looking forward to exploring even more of the Sierra Nevada region by foot, bike, skis and raft. She is excited for a great year!

Lauren Zielinski, Natural Resources Technician

SNAP Site: California Tahoe Conservancy & Tahoe Baikal Institute (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

8193120Lauren Zielinski is the Natural Resources Technician and AmeriCorps member with the California Tahoe Conservancy (CTC) and the Tahoe Baikal Institute (TBI). She is responsible for performing environmental monitoring for CTC sponsored watershed restoration projects and assisting in the planning of the TBI Summer Environmental Exchange (SEE). Lauren grew up in Bow, New Hampshire, where she spent time in the beautiful White Mountains and Lakes Region. She then went off to New York City to attend Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, where she graduated with a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering. This past summer, Lauren was a participant with the TBI-SEE program, where she found her love of the mountains and Lake Tahoe. After returning, Lauren worked for The Water Center at Columbia University researching water capture and storage methods in Northern Ethiopia until she joined the SNAP program in January 2010. Lauren now lives in South Lake Tahoe and is very excited to be able to work with the CTC and TBI. She enjoys traveling, nerdy science shows, and cheering on her Boston sports teams, and is looking forward to skiing and hiking in the Tahoe Basin and the Sierra Nevada.

Leanne Burns, Education Program Assistant

SNAP Site: UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (Tahoe City, CA)

2638058Leanne is serving as an AmeriCorps Member for UC Davis’s Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC), as a part of their education and outreach team. At TERC, Leanne helps to inform the public of the critical issues facing the Lake Tahoe Basin by coordinating and marketing events, guiding education center and green-building tours, organizing environmental education activities, and contributing to the TERC newsletter.

Leanne is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan with a major in the Program in the Environment, specializing in Conservation Biology. She is very passionate about wildlife and its preservation, and plans on pursuing an advanced degree in Conservation Biology in the near future. During her time at U of M, she gained extensive field research experience in beautiful areas such as Jackson Hole, WY, Crested Butte, CO, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she was responsible for the live trapping, tagging, measurements, and DNA samples of fish, birds, and small mammals. Leanne’s focus on conservation has led her to recognize the importance of environmental education and community outreach in the successful preservation of natural areas and wildlife. She believes working with the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership will enable her to further educate citizens about our environment, while inspiring their involvement in its preservation. Leanne plans to use her time in California to enjoy the sunshine and explore the beauty of the Sierra Nevada by engaging in any outdoor activity she can find–hiking, snowboarding, backpacking, climbing, biking, rafting, riding, and spelunking to name a few.

Luci Wilson, Riparian Habitat Restoration Coordinator

SNAP Site: Nevada County Land Trust (Grass Valley, CA)

734810Luci is the AmeriCorps Member serving as the Riparian Habitat Restoration Coordinator for Nevada County Land Trust in Grass Valley. Her main responsibilities are to organize and conduct restoration projects on three NCLT owned lands and conduct the technical aspects of stewardship on land trust easement properties. This includes community outreach, organizing work parties to remove noxious and invasive weeds and developing long-term management and restoration plans.

Luci was born and raised in California and studied biology at UC Davis. She moved to the Sierra Nevada Foothills five years ago after marrying a Nevada County native. Luci and her husband have a small farm, raising chickens and dairy goats. Luci is also a fiber addict and can usually be found knitting or spinning whenever sitting still.

Martini Morris, Watershed Education Assistant

SNAP Site: Sierra Business Council (Truckee, CA)

5806472Martini is serving as a Watershed Education Assistant at the Sierra Business Council. Martini grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia – this will be her first winter in a mountain town! She is one of six siblings and has strong family ties. Martini spent the last five years in Oregon, where she received BA in International Studies (from the University of Oregon). Martini has a passion for the outdoors and for implementing social fairness. She has experience in all aspects of grassroots organizing including campaign planning, training, event coordination and recruitment. While at university Martini volunteered for many social and environmental organizations, including doing gardening work, organizing workshops as well as events, planting trees and raising funds. She coordinated the Hunger and Homelessness campaign, as well as served on the board of directors, for the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group. She also interned at Search for Common Ground Indonesia working on all aspects of project development, expanding networks, planning events and compiling media.

 Martini loves biking, trekking, cooking, home-grown veggies (and eggs!) and knitting. Martini is thrilled to have the opportunity to explore the Sierra and to experience its unique local flavors. She hopes to visit all four corners of the Sierra to ski, rock climb, backpack, swim, bike, sit in hot springs and do conservation activities.


 Michael O’Connor, River Scientist

SNAP Site: Friends of Deer Creek (Nevada City, CA)

9532131Mike is the River Scientist and AmeriCorps member with Friends of Deer Creek in Nevada City. He will be assisting in a variety of projects including storm sampling, monthly river monitoring of Deer Creek, measuring water quality parameters, benthic macroinvertebrate collection and identification, data analysis, a gravel augmentation project, and much more. Mike grew up in Rouses Point, New York, a small town located at the northeast tip of New York State. He attended college at St. Lawrence University where he received his B.S. with honors in Geology. His senior thesis research focused on the groundwater geochemistry of private wells in St. Lawrence County. Mike did a lot of traveling while at St. Lawrence University including a semester abroad in Queensland, Australia, a trip to Kyoto, Japan for a Zen Garden project and two 10-day geology field trips to the greater Yellowstone area (Volcanology course) and the Canadian Rockies (Glacial Geology course). After college, Mike lived in Burlington, Vermont for the summer working for a creperie on their summer festival crew until he joined the SNAP program. Mike lives with four other SNAP members in Nevada City. He enjoys backpacking, cross-country skiing, tennis, running, playing the bass guitar, and much more. This is Mike’s first long-term stint on the West Coast and he is looking forward to exploring the area as much as possible.

Nick Santos, Regional Sustainability Program Assistant

SNAP Site: Sierra Nevada Alliance (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

375870Nick Santos is the AmeriCorps member and Program Assistant for the Regional Sustainability Program at the Sierra Nevada Alliance. His service will focus primarily on water and climate change education and outreach. Nick grew up in Sacramento and depended on the Sierra for water, electricity, and recreation. His family took regular trips to Sierra lakes and trails, instilling a lifelong love of the Sierra and the outdoors. Prior to joining AmeriCorps, Nick worked in Washington, DC as a policy fellow for 1Sky, a national campaign to enact federal climate change legislation. A graduate of UC Davis, Nick studied environmental policy analysis and geographic information systems. While in school, Nick worked for the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, part of USDA’s cooperative extension system, and also engaged in work with the Roosevelt Institution, a national network of student policy think tanks. In his free time, Nick naturally loves the outdoors including biking, frisbee, soccer, and backpacking, but he also spends significant time working on facilitating better consumer and business communication on environmental issues through a group he started called The Environmental Consumer.

Reyna Yagi, Watershed Program Assistant

SNAP Site: Sierra Nevada Alliance (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

7336016Reyna is serving as the Watershed Program Assistant with the Sierra Nevada Alliance. She will be focused on outreach projects to protect and restore impaired Sierra watersheds through local projects that collaborate with communities and organizations to develop sustainable watershed management practices. She is originally from all around the Bay Area and loves that all her family and relatives live closely there. Her love for Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada region stemmed from the many family trips to her grandmother’s rustic cabin in South Lake Tahoe during her childhood. Inspired by Captain Planet, a trip to Yosemite National Park and her freshman year tree-loving history teacher, Reyna bee lined to the University of California Davis to pursue a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, with a specialization in Water Policy, as she sees water as being the most precious resource we can hope to keep. Throughout college, Reyna carved a path to the Sierras through internship experiences related to water. She worked as a field intern for a Blackwood Creek Watershed research project under the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. She also worked as a Water Policy intern at the Planning and Conservation League, researching recycled water as one strategy to combat California’s water crisis issues. Reyna also took interest in Youth Environmental Education Programs at Davis where she really enjoyed engaging kids in fun, eco learning activities. On the side, she ran for the UC Davis Track and Field team and dabbled in rugby. Upon graduating in 2009, Reyna lead rafting trips on the American River in the summer and picked up a random, but much needed job in an IT Department in Oakland to make money for a trip to Costa Rica where she volunteered on a sustainable farm and ate some of the best food she’s ever tasted.

Reyna now very happily resides in South Lake Tahoe and is extremely enthusiastic and grateful to be an AmeriCorps member and to be in field she’s passionate about. Outside work, Reyna loves running any weather, anywhere, craves soccer and a good hike, can’t wait for California festivals to start up, thoroughly enjoys all food, and loves baked goods so much that she may open a bakery later in life.

Ryan Gilpin, Stewardship Assistant

SNAP Site: Placer Land Trust (Auburn, CA)

7111569Ryan Gilpin is joining Placer Land Trust as the 2010 AmeriCorps Stewardship Assistant. In 2008, he graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Environmental Biology and Management. After hiking and exploring several other countries, Ryan is ready to use his education to help care for open spaces throughout the county. Ryan plans to thoroughly explore Placer County’s trails, rivers, and rolling hills. He says, “I find it difficult to understand when people enjoy outdoor activities and do not try to protect those areas. But even more difficult to understand is when people work to protect our beautiful landscapes but spend little time outside.”



Sara Kaner, Outreach Coordinator

SNAP Site: American Rivers (Nevada City, CA)

2863239Sara’s dedication to promoting sustainable land use and personal love of outdoor recreation lead her to SNAP. She is excited to be serving for El Dorado Irrigation District as the new Recreation Assistant at Sly Park. During her service, she will be implementing a volunteer program and creating opportunities for environmental education at Sly Park, and in the local community. Sara graduated from University of Minnesota with a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Education. Her past experiences include directing an outdoor education program near Yosemite National Park and teaching at outdoor science schools throughout California. In the future, Sara hopes to continue working within the realm of natural resources and outdoor recreation management. Sara loves the relaxed atmosphere of northern California and spends her spare time backpacking, snowboarding, doing yoga, and traveling.

Sarah Bowers, Environmental Education Assistant

SNAP Site: California Tahoe Conservancy & Tahoe Baikal Institute

6343076Sarah is the Environmental Education Programs Assistant serving at the California Tahoe Conservancy and the Tahoe-Baikal Institute through the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Program in South Lake Tahoe. This is Sarah’s second year as a SNAP member. She is responsible for the Tahoe- Baikal Institute’s Summer Environmental Exchange Program, a 10-week experiential program with students coming from around the world who study both the Lake Tahoe and Lake Baikal Watersheds. Also, she will be working with the California Tahoe Conservancy AmeriCorps Member Lauren Zielinski (who also happens to be 2009 TBI SEE alumni!) on many water monitoring projects, Stream Restoration projects, and the Lake Tahoe Water Trail projects. Sarah grew up in the small town of Aberdeen Washington, received her B.A. in Human Services from Western Washington University and was currently working as an Outdoor Educator before she applied last year to the SNAP program. She has fallen in love with the Sierra Nevada and is excited to be spending another year here exploring the natural beauty of California. You can find her outdoors hiking, biking, kayaking with her fiancé Drew and her puppy Isabella!

Sarah Spano, Education Coordinator

SNAP Site: Eastern Sierra Land Trust (Bishop, CA)

5223633Sarah Spano is serving as the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Eastern Sierra Land Trust. Sarah will be working with kids in local schools, organizing field trips on conservation easements, and increasing community involvement in Eastern Sierra Land Trust overall. She hails most recently from New York City where she graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a degree in anthropology/archaeology. She received highest honors in her major and won NYU’s award for best honors thesis in social sciences, the Phi Beta Kappa/Albert Borghmann Prize. Sarah grew up in Los Angeles where she enjoyed going to the beach after school and mountain biking on the weekends. She has lived in Italy on several occasions and has completed mission trips to South Africa and Central America. After never having lived above sea level, she is getting acclimated to the 4000 ft. elevation in her new home of Bishop, CA. She could not be more thrilled to live in such a remarkable outdoor location with time, finally, to cook.


Shane Lopez, Watershed Restoration Assistant

SNAP Site: Sierra Business Council (Truckee, CA)

8198116Shane is a 2010 AmeriCorps Member serving the Sierra Business Council in Truckee, CA through the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Program. Shane comes to SBC through a burgeoning work experience centered around energy and environmental work. Shane earned a B.A. degree in Environmental Economics from the University of Michigan and while a senior in Ann Arbor, Michigan worked as a lead economist for a student group hired by the University’s Central Power Plant to create an initial feasibility study for the implementation of a large multimillion dollar photovoltaic pilot project. Additionally, Shane’s work experience includes a summer internship at the Michigan Land Use Institute in Traverse City, Michigan where he worked as their energy analyst, studying current statewide energy practices while also analyzing new generation proposals and seeking best solutions for the area’s economy and environment.

Shane’s educational and work experience have helped shaped him for his role at SBC working on the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch Program and Sierra Nevada Carbon Cooperative programs. His deep passion for the natural world has been fostered by his experiences growing up camping and recreating along with mother nature.

Shelby Perry, Watershed Technician

SNAP Site: California Tahoe Conservancy & Tahoe Baikal Institute (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

Shelby Perry is excited to join the El Dorado Irrigation District as the new Water Resources Assistant for 2010. Born in Vermont, Shelby spent most of her childhood in either the Green Mountains of VT or the Adirondacks of Upstate NY. Later she attended school in the scenic town of Troy, NY where she earned a B.S. in environmental engineering. After college Shelby fulfilled her lifelong dream of joining the Peace Corps and moved to Mauritania, West Africa to serve as a water sanitation engineer/health education agent. After 14 blissful months of camel chasing, sand eating, spider fighting, mud hut melting, unfiltered water drinking, donkey braying, unmitigated fun and excitement, the Peace Corps decided that enough was enough and evacuated the whole crop of volunteers out of Mauritania until they could settle down. Mauritania still has not re-opened for volunteers so Shelby sought more constructive employment, and headed West to join AmeriCorps. Being completely unfamiliar with the area, she looks forward to using her time here as a learning experience and to exploring all that the beautiful Sierra Nevada has to offer.

Stuart Brown, Meadow Assessment Assistant

SNAP Site: American Rivers (Nevada City, CA)

2316511Stu is the Meadow Assessment and Monitoring Assistant with American Rivers in Nevada City. This year he will be working on a number of projects restoring mountain meadows throughout the Sierra. Additionally, he will be working on creating a fisheries monitoring program as a way to assess restoration success. Stu had the privilege of growing up in the greatest city on earth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Gettysburg College where he played lacrosse and double-majored in Environmental Studies and Religion. After graduating, Stu moved on to Duke University where he received a masters degree in Coastal Environmental Management. He proceeded to work for the National Park Service as a Fisheries Technician in Yellowstone National Park before joining the SNAP program. Stu currently lives in Nevada City. He enjoys fly-fishing, hiking, camping, playing mandolin, and—because he can’t get enough volunteering in his life—he spends his evenings as an assistant coach for the Gold Country Stampede varsity lacrosse team.