2011 Members

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Adam Zeender, Environmental Education Assistant
SNAP Site: Tahoe Baikal Institute & California Tahoe Conservancy (South Lake Tahoe, California)


Adam will be serving as the SNAP AmeriCorps member at TBI for 2011. He grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in Environmental Science. After graduating, Adam moved to Camp Crook, SD (population 52) to work for the US Forest Service. After six months, he realized that he wanted to spend more time interacting with people. So he returned to the East coast where he worked as an Environmental Educator at both Nature’s Classroom and the Berkshire Outdoor Center. He also worked as a ski instructor and lead trips for teens in the summer time. Adam spent last winter in South Lake Tahoe and is excited to be back again for a whole year.


Anne Taromina, Immersed in the Wild Coordinator
SNAP Site: WildPlaces (Springville, CA)


Anne is coordinating the Immersed in the Wild Program at WildPlaces. This is Anne’s second year as a SNAP member. Last year Anne coordinated six Immersed in the Wild trips in Sequoia National Forest, and helped coordinate more than 20 youth led restoration events in the Southern Sierra. She earned her degree in English at UC Berkeley. After college she discovered her love for environmental education teaching youth at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach. Anne’s interests vary from reading and bird-watching to 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.”



Cabrina Grubb, Rio Limpio Project Coordinator
SNAP Site: WildPlaces (Springville, CA)


Cabrina is excited to be the new Rio Limpio Coordinator servicing WildPlaces this year. She has been a part of the Southern Sierra community for the last five years, and has volunteered with WildPlaces for the last four years.Her goal for WildPlaces, this year, is to empower river users to take an environmental stand on keeping their rivers clean, and educating our community on the importance of having a clean and protected watershed. She has lived throughout the western states and attended Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado, where she studied Geography with an emphasis on GIS. Her senior thesis brought her to the Olympic National Park, where she was part of a team that mapped a new high alpine trail. The work was later published in The Mountaineers Guide Book to the Olympics. In the past couple of years she has worked with the Forest Service as a Lookout on the Western Divide Ranger district. When she has free time, her passion is to rock climb, mountain bike, or hit the trail for a long hike or run.

Caitlin O’Hara, Conservation Associate
SNAP Site: Shasta Land Trust (Redding, CA)


Caitlin is serving her second year as AmeriCorps Conservation Associate at Shasta Land Trust in Redding, California. She is the volunteer coordinator for the organization, heads the environmental education program, and organizes the conservation easement monitoring program, among other tasks. Caitlin grew up in the small town of Volcano in Amador County in the foothills of the central Sierras, where she spent her childhood climbing trees, exploring the creek in her backyard, and running around on 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 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 an intern in the birdhouse at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC before joining the SNAP program in January of 2010. She greatly enjoyed her first year with SNAP and Shasta Land Trust, and is looking forward to accomplishing even more in 2011. Caitlin does not have any specific career goals post-SNAP, but hopes to gain some valuable experience and make a difference during her time spent serving the Sierra.

Christopher Gee, Conservation Programs Assistant
SNAP Site: Nevada County Land Trust (Grass Valley, CA)


Chris Gee (pronounced like the letter “G”) is serving as the Conservation Programs Assistant for the Nevada County Land Trust. He will be focused on assisting the Land Trust’s trails, restoration, and youth programs. Chris originally hails from the urban jungle of San Francisco, (home of the 2010 World Series Champions, San Francisco Giants) and is happy for Grass Valley’s relatively close proximity to the Bay Area.

Chris attended the University of California, Davis and received B.A.s in Music, and International Relations. In his senior year, he acknowledged that pursuing a career as an international pop star (though illustrious, tempting, and probably very cool) would not bring much gratification into his life. So he did what every college student yearns to do while continuing to ponder the future – he prolonged his college stay – and studied abroad in Shanghai, China. In the middle of the world’s largest polluting country, Chris was quickly dismayed by the reality of the environmental issues facing the globe – that those who would bear the brunt of suffering would not be the affluent Western world, but the poor and disenfranchised, most of whom live in third-world countries. Amazingly enough, Chris had actually found a standard by which he could stand. However, having only a Discovery Channel-level science background, Chris sought opportunities for hands-on conservation experience. He did a six-month stint with the Student Conservation Association in 2010, living in Idaho’s beautiful Salmon-Challis National Forest. There, he labored on a variety of projects, such as quaking aspen inventory and trail work in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and the Continental Divide Trail. Soon after, Chris was accepted for the 2011 SNAP program and looks forward to learning more about conservation work through the non-profit office setting. His future hopes are to work with mountain communities in a country far, far away.

Chris enjoys a variety of things, many of which are new to him. He had never seen nor watched any of the Harry Potter books and is quickly rectifying that travesty. He hopes to improve his skiing this season, and is also attempting yoga. Hiking, softball, running, classical music, and the Settlers of Catan are also leisurely activities of his. Chris also enjoys hanging out with his awesome housemates and plans to spend most of his free time with Christian Encounter Ministries, located in Grass Valley.

Denise Zitnik, River Restoration and Outreach Assistant
SNAP Site: American Rivers (Nevada City, CA)


Denise is the River Restoration Outreach Coordinator for American Rivers in Nevada City. This year she will be guiding the California office’s website outreach redevelopment, as well as constructing communication materials for their many river restoration projects.

Denise grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan, a trendy little town along the banks of the Huron River. She went to college at Michigan Technological University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, graduating with a BS Environmental Engineering and the obligatory minor in surviving cold snowy winters. She also received a certificate in International Sustainable Engineering Development, that afforded her a couple well deserved visits to the warm and beautiful countries of Ecuador (aiding in geophysical groundwater surveys) and Guatemala (learning about sustainable and local construction techniques). Denise has held several different internships, the most recent leading her out to California to aid in constructing the Climate Action Plan Background report for the city of Merced. Denise is excited to experience a true “Small town” California atmosphere in Nevada City, hopefully finding some good XC ski trails, magnificent vistas, and cute critters along the way.



Erin Tarr, Stewardship Assistant
SNAP Site: Placer Land Trust (Auburn, CA)


Erin is very excited to be serving at The Placer Land Trust in Auburn, CA as the 2011 AmeriCorps Stewardship Assistant. She will be working on annual monitoring of conservation easements and fee title properties held by Placer Land Trust. She will also be helping to build hiking/biking trails and conducting both aquatic and floristic surveys of vernal pools. Erin is looking forward to being a part of large scale restoration projects being undertaken on the properties this year.

Erin grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa. After graduating high school she moved to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to pursue her passion for snowboarding and the outdoors. She moved to California 7 years ago and received her degree in Environmental Studies/Biology from CSUS in 2009. Erin has thoroughly enjoyed all of her work experiences since college. She was a GIS Intern with ECORP Consulting, kayaked and boated the rivers for CA Department of Fish and Game, and worked at the Cosumnes River Preserve for The Nature Conservancy.

Erin is thrilled to be part of the SNAP program this year.




Gretchen Coll, Stewardship and Education Assistant
SNAP Site: Sierra Foothill Conservancy (Mariposa, CA)


Gretchen Coll will be serving as the Stewardship and Education Assistant for the Sierra Foothill Conservancy in the Mariposa office. She is responsible for volunteer recruitment, organizing hikes and classes on SFC’s conservation easements, assisting with educational and outreach programs, monitoring properties with conservation easements and supporting land protection initiatives. Gretchen grew up in the small town of Kingsport, TN where she spent her childhood exploring the Appalachian Mountains fostering her love for the outdoors. She attended Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA, where she majored in Biology and competed in varsity volleyball. After graduation, Gretchen headed to Charleston, SC to live near the beach, start graduate school and explore her interests in the environmental field. While completing her Master of Environmental Studies degree at the College of Charleston, Gretchen lived on Dewees Island, a private, environmentally focused community only accessible by ferry. As a resident wildlife technician, she worked with the Environmental Program Director to complete numerous species surveys, wetland restoration projects, invasive species removal, impoundment water testing and GIS projects. Gretchen also spent her summers as the sea turtle technician for Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, the largest sea turtle nesting rookery north of Florida. After graduating from the College of Charleston, Gretchen worked for the Department of Natural Resources in the Marine Turtle Conservation Program. During this time, she participated in sea turtle nesting data collection, aerial surveys, necropsies of stranded turtles, and discovered her passion for working with volunteers.

Gretchen is thrilled to be the new AmeriCorps member in Mariposa and cannot wait to learn more about the Sierra Nevada and its specific environmental issues. She believes this opportunity will provide her with great work experience while also allowing her to truly make a difference during her year of service. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, hiking, reading, gardening, cooking, and traveling as much as possible.

Hillary Behr, Education Coordinator
SNAP Site: Eastern Sierra Land Trust (Bishop, CA)


Hillary grew up in a small town called Tamworth, in New Hampshire. Since graduating with a degree in Environmental Conservation Studies from the University of New Hampshire in December 2008, she has enjoyed encouraging people of all ages to connect with the natural world through environmental education work both in New Hampshire and California. During the summer season of 2009, Hillary worked as an Outdoor Educator for the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining. During this time, she became interested in the Eastern Sierra and found out about the SNAP program from the Americorps member at the Eastern Sierra Land Trust. At ESLT, Hillary will be leading educational programs, recruiting and working with volunteers, assisting with easement monitoring, restoring valuable habitat on conservation land.

Hillary loves exploring new places, growing food, skiing, camping, getting dirty, hanging out with kids, teaching, and reading. She is looking forward to getting to know the Bishop community and the mountains around it.



Ian Bell, Watershed Technician
SNAP Site: Friends of the Inyo (Bishop, CA)


Ian Bell is the AmeriCorps member and Watershed Technician for Friends of the Inyo. His service will focus on water quality monitoring and environmental restoration projects. Ian grew up in suburban Los Angeles, and took regular summer backpacking trips into the High Sierra with his family. Prior to joining AmeriCorps, Ian worked in Boise, Idaho as a hydrologic technician for the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab (USDAUSFSRMRSBASL for short), where he got the opportunity to do fieldwork in eighteen national forests across the West. A graduate of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, Ian studied environmental studies with a minor in geology. In his free time, Ian enjoys rock climbing, playing soccer, growing cacti and succulents, and flying kites.




Jessica Strickland, Assessment and Restoration Assistant
SNAP Site: American Rivers (Nevada City, CA)


Jessica Strickland is the River Assessment and Restoration Assistant for the American Rivers California Regional Office in Nevada City, California. This year at American Rivers Jessica will primarily be working with mountain meadows and stream assessment and restoration, hydropower dam operations, and water rights and trusts. Jessica moved to California from Austin Texas where she worked as biologist for instream flow studies and reservoir operations. She received her M.S. in Aquatic Resources from Texas State University and her B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology from Louisiana State University. Geaux Tigers!





Jessie Olson, Conservation Assistant
SNAP Site: El Dorado County and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts & American River Conservancy (Placerville, CA)


Jessie Olson is excited to join the El Dorado County and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation District and American River Conservancy as the Conservation Assistant through the SNAP program. In her time with the RCD, she will support their efforts in promoting watershed education and restoration throughout the county by getting involved with a diverse and interesting range of projects. Jessie is particularly enthusiastic about the Water Education Summit, a week long, field-based monitoring program with local high school students. Jessie Olson was born in Berkeley, CA but grew up outside of Chicago, Illinois. She learned the err of her ways, however, and moved back to California to attend the University of California, Davis, and now calls Berkeley home. In 2009, Jessie graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry with an emphasis in restoration ecology, a curriculum largely tailored her lifelong love of plants. She would love to return to school in the near future to work towards a graduate degree in vegetative or riparian ecology! Before entering in the SNAP program, Jessie was working and living in the Presidio of San Francisco. There, she was a jack of all (environmental) trades, doing everything from building numerous community gardens and assisting in an integrated pest management program, to supporting hands-on restoration efforts and working in a native plant nursery. She also previously worked as an intern for an environmental non-profit advocating for sustainable logging practices in the Sierras. Admittedly, that work in a dark office pales in comparison to the opportunity to gaze at the mountains from the foothills daily! Jessie has also spent copious amounts of time helping out in the UC-Berkeley botanic garden and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers maintaining botanical collections. In her free time, Jessie loves recreational botanizing, bike riding, beer making, sensual r&b, and sending “snail mail” to friends. She is now looking forward to the additional backpacking adventures afforded by the close proximity of the mountains!



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


Kaitlyn Hacker is serving as the River Monitoring Coordinator with the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in Nevada City, CA. Kaitlyn grew up in Murphys, CA and from an early age developed a deep love and appreciation for waterways in California due to her proximity to the Stanislaus River. She attended University of California, Berkeley where she obtained her BA in Integrative Biology in May 2009. Following graduation, Kaitlyn was a research intern on a Vineyard Agroecology project focused on testing the floral resource provisioning hypothesis in vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, as well as the UC Kearny Agricultural Center near Fresno. She then went on to intern for the National Park Service doing early detection surveys for invasive plants in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore. While working for NPS, Kaitlyn was also a part of the GGNRA Habitat Restoration Team.

As an aspiring aquatic ecologist, Kaitlyn is extremely excited to be a part of a citizen-based river monitoring program and looks forward to learning all about the Yuba Watershed. Essentially Kaitlyn plans to spend the next year down by the river, just minus the van!!!



Katie Merrill, Education Program Assistant
SNAP Site: UC Davis Tahoe ENvironmental Research Center (Tahoe City, CA)


Katie is an AmeriCorps member with the Tahoe Environmental Research Center serving as an Environmental Education Assistant. Katie helps coordinate field trips for 5th and 6th graders at both of TERC’s facilities in Incline Village and Tahoe City. She also helps to organize and market public outreach events focusing on place-based learning and teaching children and adults alike the importance of protecting the Lake Tahoe watershed.

Katie graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Environmental Systems specializing in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. While in San Diego she worked on many student initiatives promoting sustainability on campus, with the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research, and with ECOLIFE Foundation. Katie plans on pursuing an advanced degree in environmental education, policy, and/or planning and wants to work towards building and developing more sustainable, safer, and healthier communities and to bridge the gap in consciousness between the built and natural world.

Katie has called the Sierra Nevada home for most of her life and is looking forward to a year of service to help educate and protect one of her favorite places.

Kelly Miller, Sierra Sustainable Communities Program Assistant
SNAP Site: Sierra Nevada Alliance (South Lake Tahoe, CA)


Kelly Miller is excited to be serving as an AmeriCorps member in the “Jewel of the Sierra” (Lake Tahoe) as part of the Sustainable Sierra Communities program at the Sierra Nevada Alliance. Kelly received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture in 2007 from Clemson University in South Carolina.

Born in New Mexico but raised in South Carolina, the West was calling and she answered, heading to South Lake Tahoe in 2009. Soon after her move she started an internship at the Sierra Nevada Alliance as a way to remain active in the environmental field and gain knowledge about non-profit work.

Kelly is thrilled to be working as an AmeriCorps member in the Sustainable Sierra Communities program because she’ll be working to support and foster a resilient Sierra through on-the-ground projects, innovative programs, publications, workshops and events. Once the snow clears she’ll be working closely with the other AmeriCorps member in the Sustainable Sierra Communities Program, Reyna Yagi, to complete phase II of the Truckee River Friendly Landscaping Program.

In her previous life, Kelly worked as a barista. Although her barista days are gone she still appreciates a good chai. She has a love of travel and is looking forward to experiencing more of the Sierra and the West Coast during her year of service.

Kirsten Lindquist, Assistant Outreach Coordinator
SNAP Site: Tahoe Resource Conservation District (South Lake Tahoe, CA)


Kirsten is serving with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District in South Lake Tahoe as the Assistant Outreach Coordinator. Growing up in New Hampshire and Massachusetts she loved spending her time outside catching bugs, digging holes to far-away lands, making grass-mud-flower soups and generally mucking about. Now she is looking forward to getting the word out about BMPs, water stewardship, and invasive species in South Lake Tahoe. And, of course, exploring the gorgeous Sierra Nevada.

Kirsten recently graduated from the University of New Hampshire with degrees in Environmental Conservation and English. Her past exploits have included studying abroad and traveling in the UK and New Zealand, field teaching at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, working on organic farms and as a wicked good pie baker/cider-doughnut extraordinaire at a local orchard.




Lauren Zielinski, Watershed Program Assistant
SNAP Site: California Tahoe Conservancy & Tahoe-Baikal Institute (South Lake Tahoe, CA)


Lauren Zielinski is the Watershed Program Assistant 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)


Leanne is serving as a second year 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 extended 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, and riding to name a few.

Max Neale, Assistant Monitoring/Control Coordinator
SNAP Site: Tahoe Resource Conservation District (South Lake Tahoe, CA)


Max is serving as the Monitor and Control Coordinator with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District in South Lake Tahoe. Through his service, he will be assisting with the monitoring, control, and prevention of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Max grew up in Freeport, Maine along the quaint and rocky coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout his childhood he gained a deep appreciation for the natural environment through boating, hiking, and skiing. This understanding and appreciation deepened through his ownership and management of a successful landscaping company. Max studied Environmental Science and Policy at Hampshire College, where he also grew the landscaping company and developed the college’s rock climbing club. In 2009 he committed himself to the environmental field by parting ways with landscaping and participating in the Tahoe-Baikal Institute’s Summer Environmental Exchange Program. During this time, Max assisted with a UC Davis study of the Asian Clam in Lake Tahoe. 18-months later, he now returns to the Tahoe Basin to pursue two of his passions: environmental preservation and rock climbing.

Michael O’Connor, River Scientist
SNAP Site: Friends of Deer Creek/Sierra Streams Institute (Nevada City, CA)


Mike 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.





Rachel Durben, Outreach and Restoration Coordinator
SNAP Site: Friends of Deer Creek/Sierra Streams Institute (Nevada City, CA)


Rachel Durben is excited to be serving as the Outreach and Restoration Coordinator at Friends of Deer Creek/Sierra Streams Institute in Nevada City. Rachel grew up in Arizona, where she attended Northern Arizona University, earning a B.S. in Zoology. She served her first AmeriCorps position with Coconino Rural Environment Corps, working on a chainsaw crew to thin overgrown Ponderosa pine forest in order to promote forest health and minimize fire danger. After graduating from NAU, Rachel traveled extensively, working at a lobster hatchery and aquarium in Bar Harbor, Maine, as a Park Service intern in Gunnison, Colorado, and as a veterinary technician in England. After moving around for a few years, she decided to return home to NAU to pursue a Masters degree in Biology. In December she earned an M.S. in Biology, conducting her graduate research on riparian ecology, specifically the interactions between beavers, cottonwood trees, and insects. While a graduate student, Rachel discovered her passion for teaching and looks forward to expanding her teaching skills while working with Friends of Deer Creek/Sierra Streams Institute. She will also conduct restoration projects and study multiple aspects of aquatic ecology.

Rachel is extremely grateful to be able to serve with AmeriCorps in the beautiful Sierra Nevada. When she’s not teaching or doing research, she can be found hiking, backpacking, snowboarding, snowshoeing, doing yoga, or exploring the mountains and rivers.

Rebecca Hoehn, Outreach Assistant
SNAP Site: Placer Land Trust (Auburn, CA)


Becki is excited to be serving as Placer Land Trust’s Outreach Assistant in Auburn. Her mission this year will be to increase community involvement in Placer County in order to help preserve the unique landscapes of the Sierra foothills. Some of her responsibilities will include recruiting and managing volunteers, organizing tours and providing environmental education.

Becki recently completed her Masters degree in Sustainable Environmental Resource Management. She attended graduate school at the University of Malta and although she misses living on the Mediterranean Sea, she is looking forward to an active year in the mountains.

Reyna Yagi, Sustainable Sierra Communities Program Assistant
SNAP Site: Sierra Nevada Alliance (South Lake Tahoe, CA)


Reyna is serving as the Sustainable Sierra Communities Program Assistant at the Sierra Nevada Alliance in South Lake Tahoe. This is her second year as an AmeriCorps member for the Alliance. Her past year serving as member was one of the most educational, enlightening and meaningful experiences she’s had yet and her service projects have been of incredible value to her professional and personal development. This year, she will continue work on her main service project, the Truckee River Friendly Landscaping Program, conducting home consultations and making treatment recommendations for Truckee homeowners dealing with stormwater and erosion issues on their property. She hails originally from the Bay Area and obtained a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning with a specialization in Water Policy from the University of California Davis. Her related work experiences include interning with the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, the Planning and Conservation League, and Youth Environmental Education and Garden Programs at UC Davis. She also spent some time on a Sustainable Farm in Costa Rica. As she continues her current work on sustainable watershed restoration and management, she hopes her next step will be attending Graduate School abroad post-AmeriCorps to focus on Water Resources Management.

Outside of work, Reyna enjoys running, soccer, rafting, lazy hikes, junk food binges and activities that are free. She loves the Sierra Nevada and hopes to explore it a lot more with her fellow AmeriCorps members. The Bay Area is still near and dear to her heart as all her family and relatives live there whom she hopes to try to see more of. Living in a rural/resort town like South Lake Tahoe has surprisingly offered up a plethora of interesting experiences and Reyna looks forward to making the most of her second year here.



Ryan Bollinger, GIS Director
SNAP Site: Sequoia ForestKeeper (Kernville, CA)


Ryan is serving as the new GIS Director for Sequoia ForestKeeper. He grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina (right below Charlotte, NC). He went to Clemson University for his undergraduate career and earned a BS in Environmental and Natural Resources Management with a minor in Environmental Science and Policy. He then went directly to graduate school at the College of Charleston and earned a Masters Degree in Environmental studies with a focus on GIS. His graduate internship work involved habitat mapping and developing a land management plan for a barrier island conservation community. He then worked for the City of Charleston for a year in their planning department creating a greenway plan for a region of the city, updating their street tree inventory using GIS, and worked on an ordinance to protect canopy cover from future development. He heard about the opportunity to come and help protect giant sequoias and could not resist. He likes to backpack, play soccer, paint (acrylics usually) and has recently picked up gardening, brewing, and canning.





Sarah Phillips, Watershed Coordination Specialist
SNAP Site: South Yuba River Citizen’s League (Nevada City, CA)


Born and raised as a southern girl, Sarah spent her first twenty years throughout the Southeast of the country, mostly in Atlanta, Georgia. She began her studies at Kennesaw State University, in Georgia, accomplishing her general education so that she could then transfer to a school that actually had an undergraduate program in Environmental Studies. At age 20, she ventured out to Northern California to find home sweet home, and to eventually finish her degree at Sonoma State University in Environmental Studies and Planning, concentrating in Restoration and Conservation with a minor in Biology. This broad degree allowed her ample room to intern in very diverse realms of Environmentalism. One example included working for Petaluma Bounty, a non-profit sustainable farm in Sonoma County that provides affordable, organic produce to low-income families. Recently, Sarah has had the honor of working with The Amazon Mycorenewal Project team in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. The main focus being to train and build healthy ties with indigenous peoples in effort to using mushrooms to remediate (Mycoremediation) petroleum-contaminated lands from Texaco-Chevron’s mess since the 1960’s.

Within the last year and a half, Sarah left the Bay Area to return to Nevada City, volunteering her services to SYRCL in any way fit. She is beyond excited to take on this new position through the AmeriCorps SNAP Program in serving SYRCL’s greater needs as their new Watershed Coordinator Specialist. She looks forward to getting to know the community in addition to restoring the Yuba.

Taylor Currier, Imperiled Native Trout AmeriCorps Member
SNAP Site: CalTrout (South Lake Tahoe, CA)


Taylor Currier is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in Geography and a minor in Geology. Taylor served his first year in AmeriCorps in Bellingham, WA working with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association improving salmon habitat in the North West. Taylor is now serving his second year with AmeriCorps in South Lake Tahoe. He has the great privilege to be the first AmeriCorps member with the California Trout North Sierra Regional Branch. CalTrout is a state wide non-profit dedicated to restoring and preserving native salmonid populations in California. Taylor’s position will challenge him with a multitude of projects ranging from education and monitoring to policy and litigation. He will get the chance to work with nearly every governing body from San Francisco to Reno. Much of the work this year will be focused on education and outreach events like Snapshot Day, The Native Fish Festival, and Trout in the Classroom. Taylor’s other job responsibilities during the summer will include monitoring local watersheds, electro shock fishing, angling in the watersheds, and keeping his supervisor sane.

Over the last 2 years, Taylor has cultivated a passion and knowledge for salmonid conservation. With the power of SNAP on his side, he now he has the unique opportunity to get hands on restoration experience in two of the most beautiful mountain ranges on this continent.

Taylor grew up in San Antonio, TX and counted the days till he could run amuck deep in the mountains. That time has come in his life and he is ready to seize the year. Current goals include swimming across Lake Tahoe, wrestling a black bear, climbing every mountain, and tearing it up on the bunny slopes for the first time ever. It is going to be a busy year for Taylor but rest assured, the native trout of Tahoe are in good hands!

Tyler Schade, Stewardship and Outreach Assistant
SNAP Site: American River Conservancy & El Dorado County and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts (Coloma, CA)


Tyler likes diversity: he has worked as an outdoor educator/naturalist teaching California history (think Gold Rush) and environmental stewardship, traveled throughout Northern California monitoring groundwater contamination sites, worked as a manager and natural soap maker for a family business, and was even a bank teller for a couple years (oh, and he was also a librarian for classical and Greek studies at a small collections section at CSU-Sacramento). His education is no different: with degrees in English, Philosophy, and Liberal Arts/Humanities, he is currently completing an Environmental Science degree at Oregon State University. Not only can he write well, he can write scientific papers well, and not only that, he can then go on to philosophize about the merits of his fine work and discuss the ethical perspectives inherent within. Now to his hobbies: of course, working for SNAP he is an outdoor person, hiking, kayaking, swimming, traveling a little bit, and meandering about in nature are some of his favorite pastimes. In addition to these outdoor adventures, he has an avid interest in photography, tennis, and writing (multiple unfinished novels are already in existence).

As the Stewardship and Outreach Assistant, Tyler brings his diverse palette of skills, training, and knowledge to the American River Conservancy. He will be involved in everything from volunteer coordination and education to grant writing and watershed restoration. Tyler plans to get a lot of work done and to have fun doing it with a great staff alongside the upper American and Cosumnes Rivers.