2015 SNAP Members


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Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Members come from all over the United States to Serve the Sierra. Right now, we have 28 Members serving at 19 partner organizations across the Sierra, from Shasta to Visalia! Learn more about our wonderful current SNAP Members and SNAP Alumni by checking out their bios.

Karen Atkins, Environmental Scientist
SNAP Partner Site: The Sierra Fund

KarenKaren Atkins was born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles. With exposure to many things, she loved the outdoors most. She attended the University of Connecticut and earned a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources with a concentration in Water and Climate. She graduated in May of 2013 and went on to work as a Field Station Manager in Bahia De Los Angeles, Mexico. Today, Karen is excited to be returning for her second term of service with The Sierra Fund. Over the course of her last term, Karen had the opportunity to work on many projects including monitoring at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, creating a sampling plan for fish tissue analysis, conducting abandoned mine land assessments, and analyzing angler survey data. Karen is looking forward to continuing to conduct scientific research that promotes issues important to the vitality of The Sierra. In her spare time, Karen enjoys swimming, hiking, backpacking, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving.


Julia Berkey, River Scientist
SNAP Partner Site: Sierra Streams Institute

JuliaJulia moved around the United States quite a bit while growing up, but is most recently from the Boston, Massachusetts area. However, she escaped the Northeast winters during her college years by moving to New Orleans, Louisiana to attend Tulane University, There, she majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a major which perfectly combines her love for the outdoors with her passion for science and scientific exploration.

While at Tulane, Julia studied and worked at the Richards-Zawacki frog lab, which provided her with experience both in the lab in New Orleans and, during the summers, in the field in Panama. She also studied and worked abroad in South Africa, where she fully developed her passion for the entire ecological research process, from the field work to the statistical analysis to the write up. Since graduating, Julia has worked as a field technician in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, helping to collect data on the habitat use and movement patterns of the Columbia Spotted frog.

Julia is thrilled to serve her SNAP term with Sierra Streams Institute, where she will be able apply her love for ecological data collection and analysis towards gathering the data necessary to plan and implement watershed conservation and restoration projects. She also looks forward to exploring the Sierra Nevada region. As someone who loves to hike, bike, paddle, and camp she cannot imagine a better place to live!

Matt Brush, Trail Monitor/Restoration Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation

MattMatt lacks a publicist so he is going to continue from here on in the first person. Hello scrollers of the page. Thank you for your interest in the SNAP program and/or its volunteers. My name is Matt Brush and I am from the northern Sierra Nevada. As a child I ran through old growth forests and stood on stumps in clearcuts. I jumped from rocks into ice cold creeks and swam with running salmon. At a young age I chose nature as my church and found wilderness (to say the essence of whats wild) to be the deity which dwelt therein. I believe that humanity tends toward the loss in total of wilderness, and I believe this tendency will bring great spiritual loss unto humanity. I have chosen to pursue a life of environmental stewardship. I received an aa in sociology from Butte College where I took random classes for several years trying to figure out how this nature thing could work with this humanity thing. After Butte I transferred to Humboldt State which offered a program in the restoration of ecosystems. I graduated from Humboldt State in 2013 with a bs in Environmental Science focused in Ecological Restoration and a minor in Watershed Management. After school I found the SNAP program and thought it to be a perfect fit. Working with the ambitious intelligent nature minded people at the Center For Sierra Nevada Conservation is truly a blessing.

Suzanne Calkins, Stewardship Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: South Yuba River Citizens League

SuzanneBorn and raised in the Los Angeles area, Suzanne grew up exploring the diverse landscapes of California with a sketchbook and a camera. After graduating from Scripps College with a degree in Studio Art, she worked for High Desert Test Sites, a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging Joshua Tree and surrounding desert communities with free experimental art, performances, and workshops. Splitting her time between the desert and city, she was also a graphic designer for a performing arts school in downtown Los Angeles. This dual life contributed to her growing interest in studying the complex relationships between rural communities and large metropolitan areas, specifically in the management and distribution of water. Eager to gain more experience in watershed restoration and educational projects, Suzanne left Los Angeles for its water source – the beautiful Owens Valley. There she led Inyo County students in scientific studies and exploratory walks of local watersheds with the Eastern Sierra Watershed Project. When she wasn’t teaching, she helped manage an extensive garden of native plants and maintained a nursery for the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog.

Suzanne is excited to join SYRCL as the Stewardship Coordinator and looks forward to getting to know the magnificent Yuba River.

Alyssa Cordova, Conservation Associate
SNAP Partner Site: Butte County Resource Conservation District

Alyssa CordovaAlyssa noticed at a young age that the world was changing around her in a way that was detrimental to the environment and species that depend on it and she wanted to help do something about it. Having grown up in the Northern Central Valley, she was able to conveniently travel to California’s national and state parks where she found intrinsic value in nature. With a desire to understand nature on a fundamental level, Alyssa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in energy and earth resources and a minor in management for sustainability at California State University, Chico. It was at Chico State that she was introduced to sustainability and quickly immersed herself in the sustainability community on campus. She became a member of the Alliance to Save Energy’s PowerSave Campus Program, a student-driven energy efficiency and education program where she helped to effectively reduce energy consumption in two residential buildings by twenty percent. Additionally, Alyssa participated in a citywide energy research project where she collected and analyzed thousands of energy use data points to determine if household behavior significantly contributed to residential energy consumption. Alyssa is very excited to gain new experience in the field and embark on new adventures in the beautiful Northern Sierra region with the Butte County Resource Conservation District.

Cordi Craig, Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: American River Conservancy

CordiCordi grew up in a small town in New York, but always sought global exploration. She recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Anthropology and a focus in environmental conservation and food studies. Cordi learned the importance of person-to-person contact in progressing change, education, and opportunities through her travel experiences with the Long Island Youth Orchestra to Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Portugal, Spain, the Canary Islands, and Morocco. In college, she studied abroad in both Kenya and Cuba, further quenching her thirst for travel and love of meeting new people. In Michigan, she worked as a Health Ambassador for Project Healthy Schools at a local middle school, learning alongside her students the importance of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. She was also a Coach for Girls on the Run, an organization that inspires young girls to be confident, using an experience-based curriculum that integrates healthy discussion spaces and running. Over spring break, she volunteered with GRIDalternatives, a non-profit in San Diego that provides and installs solar panels on low-income homes to promote sustainable technologies and communities. Over the summer, she ventured to Yosemite National Park and learned about the importance of preserving the California ecosystem and decided this was where her next adventure lay. Cordi loves to run, explore, drink coffee, and laugh. She will be working at the American River Conservancy in Coloma as the Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator

Jake Dickmann, Conservation Associate
SNAP Partner Site: Shasta Land Trust

JakeI grew up in a small town about an hour north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a major in biology and an emphasis in ecology. While at UW Oshkosh I competed in collegiate track and field in my favorite event, the pole vault!
While growing up I was lucky enough to live only 5 minutes from my grandparents farm, where I spent countless hours hunting, fishing, and exploring the woods and streams. That sparked my interest in conservation and exploring the great outdoors!In my spare time I enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, running, and eating good food!




Kaley Dodson, Service Learning and Volunteer Program Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Sequoia Riverlands Trust

KaleyKaley grew up on the coast of Southern California in Seal Beach. She spent summers sailing and playing water polo and spent winters in the mountains snowboarding. She recently graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Earth Systems. Her degree focused on Environmental Economics and Policy and she spent the last year and a half researching western state water planning and California groundwater policy. She has always had an appreciation for the state’s water resources and wants to devote her career to protecting and conserving them! She is excited to be working with Sequoia Riverlands Trust to help restore watersheds in the Sierra foothills, and she is eager to engage others in the community to get them excited about conservation! In her spare time she enjoys hiking, swimming, running and yoga.


Kate Gladstein, Watershed Data Management & Education Assistant
SNAP Partner Site: Sierra Nevada Alliance/Sierra Water Workgroup

Kate Gladstein
Kate grew up in the mountains, orchards, and seashores of New England, and believes in wilderness, as well as clean and sustainable natural resources for all life forms. Kate is joining the Sierra Water Workgroup to help manage and model Sierra Nevada watershed data and conducts outreach and education. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Vermont, and has previously worked as a GIS Analyst for the Vermont Geological Survey, the State of Utah Public Lands Office, and also has experience with Environmental Remediation and Volcanology. Kate loves to ski, hike, spend time in Lake Tahoe and its rivers, and looks forward to serving her community with SNAP!

Harrison Goldspiel, River Scientist
SNAP Partner Site: Sierra Streams Institute

Harrison GoldspielHarrison is from the rich and diverse land of Queens in New York City. At an early age, he developed an interest in nature and outdoor adventures. Throughout his childhood, he spent most of his time running and biking around urban parks and trails and playing on his neighborhood farm.

Harrison continued to pursue his passion for the environment at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He was drawn to the New England landscape right away. He spent much of his college years in suburban forests and watersheds, splitting and stacking firewood, working on restoration projects, surveying vegetation, and coring trees. In his junior year, he studied comparative ecology with SIT in Ecuador. While in the tropics, he conducted a rapid assessment of rare amphibians in a cloud forest prior to major road construction. He developed a strong interest in herpetology and wetland ecology, which he pursued further at Archbold Biological Station in southern Florida, where he studied the effects of fire and feral pigs on amphibians in seasonal ponds.

In his free time, Harrison likes to read, run, hike, and go on long bike rides (his record is 3,767 miles from New Hampshire to Vancouver, British Columbia). He is a strong advocate of social and environmental justice and is proud to be joining AmeriCorps. This is his first time living in the West, and he couldn’t be more more excited to spend it as a River Scientist with Sierra Streams Institute!

Elias Grant, Conservation Program Associate
SNAP Partner Site: Bear Yuba Land Trust

Elias GrantElias grew up in Bowdoin, ME and developed at love for the outdoors from family biking and camping excursions. He traveled far from home to Warren Wilson College in beautiful Swannanoa, NC where he received a B.S. in Sustainable Forestry. While there, he also developed a love for downhill mountain biking and whitewater kayaking. He worked in the Auto Shop for four years, fixing everything from golf carts to cars and tractors. During summers, he worked for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust as a Stewardship Assistant/Trail Worker. He has also done many hours of volunteer work for the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust and MANNA Food Bank in Asheville, NC. He particularly enjoys downhill bike racing, having raced at national championships for three years during college. In his spare time, he loves to read, bake bread, croissants, cookies and other delicacies, and go snowboarding. A little known fact about Elias is his love of the British television show Top Gear- he has also seen all 21 seasons! Elias is looking forwards to working with the Bear Yuba Land Trust and being near so many great mountain biking trails.

Alexia Hemphill, Conservation Assistant
SNAP Partner Site: El Dorado and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts

AlexiaI am 2013 University of Vermont graduate with a degree in wildlife biology. I grew up on Whidbey Island, Washington and am now a happy resident of Northern California. From my mother I developed a passion for traveling which then led to my passion for animals and exploring the outdoors. I am an avid skier and hiker that uses any opportunity to be on the mountain. I hope to use my education and experience towards conservations efforts in the Sierras and where ever my journey takes me.




Diana Hitchen, Education Program Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center

DianaDiana grew up in Berkeley, California. Each summer she and her family spent a week in Lake Tahoe, which for her was always the most special time of the year. She went on to university at UC Davis, where she did a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology in order to pursue her interests in human culture and science simultaneously. With her studies, she gained an understanding and concern for the way that humans interact with the environment.
During these college years Diana picked up rock climbing, spending most weekends in various nooks of the Sierra Nevada standing on granite crystals and grating the skin off her hands. She developed an intimacy with these places through climbing, and discovered that cultivating a relationship with the natural world is essential for ecological living and maintaining our world’s wondrous ecosystems.
Diana feels lucky to live in beautiful Lake Tahoe and looks forward to utilizing her interdisciplinary background to build connections between the important realm of research and the actions of the community with her work at TERC. She is particularly interested in water, climate change, and their relationship with human life, and seeks to further develop her knowledge in this area with aspirations to one day work on these issues internationally. Though rock climbing and the environment are pretty much all she cares about, Diana also enjoys yoga, espresso, reading, and jumping into cold water.

Sara Kokkelenberg, Education Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Eastern Sierra Land Trust

SaraSara grew up in the Chicagoland area and received her undergraduate degree from American University in International Relations and Russian Studies. Her education took her to Western Europe where she studied solar and wind energy designs, the Smart Grid power system in Denmark, and the ice sheet in Greenland. In 2013 Sara began serving with Eastern Sierra Land Trust in Bishop and realized one year just wasn’t enough! She has returned for a second year and is continuing her work certifying pollinator-friendly gardens, educating local students about the Eastern Sierra’s flora and fauna, and restoring landscapes on the Eastside. Having fallen in love with life in Bishop, she spends most of her free time wandering backcountry trails, skiing, following the scent of potlucks, attempting to pebble-wrestle, and soaking in hot springs.




Bree Lewis, Lands Conservation Technician
SNAP Partner Site: Sequoia Riverlands Trust



Bree was born and raised in a small town in New Hampshire to parent that love the outdoors, environmental issues and travel. She grew up skiing, hiking and enjoying the general outdoors. After high school she escaped the east coast and attended University of Colorado. While she was there she studied abroad in Prague where she immersed herself in the culture and explored as much as she could. After she received her bachelors degree in Environmental Science she went to South America to further quench her thirst for travel and the outdoors. She WOOFed on a farm in San Rafael, Argentina which was eye opening and educational. Next she moved to North Lake Tahoe to ski and enjoy the general snow that it did not provide. Then moved to Wellfleet, Cape Cod for summer and fall where she worked for an environmental management company, which was helping to restore the coastal sand dunes. But she couldn’t escape her love for the west so she moved back to Tahoe. After another winter with heaps of snow she is excited to start her next step with SNAP down in Visalia!






Chuck Lewis, Trail Monitor/Restoration Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation

ChuckJustin “Chuck” Lewis was born and raised in North Carolina where he spent his childhood backpacking and canoeing with his family and the Boy Scouts of America. During these early trips, especially to the Linville Gorge Wilderness and Mount Mitchell, Chuck learned a great appreciation for the beauty of the Appalachians and the importance of conservation. Although the outdoors played a large role in shaping his life, after earning his Eagle Scout award in 2005, Chuck focused his attention on new hobbies. He took up photography and videography which led him to obtain a Bachelors of Fine Art in Filmmaking. After school Chuck moved across the country to worked as a chief lighting technician on independent feature films and commercials in Los Angeles, CA.
! Chuck was fortunate to succeed early in his career but couldn’t help to feel something was missing from his life. While working on a film at the Murie Ranch in Grand Teton National Park Chuck realized he longed for those backcountry adventures from his boyhood. This revelation sparked a renewed fervor for the outdoors, particularly Wilderness areas. In his free time, Chuck studied Wilderness management online through the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands. This past summer he served as a Student Conservation Association intern with the Desolation Wilderness area of the Eldorado National Forest.
! There Chuck fell in love with the Sierra Nevada and affirmed his decision to seek a new route in life with a degree and career in natural resource management. He is very excited to continue working on the Eldorado National Forest as one of the two Trail Monitoring/Restoration Coordinators with the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation. He particularly looks forward to protecting fragile resources from undesignated off-road vehicular use while honing his restoration skills.

Austen Lorenz, River Assessment & Restoration Assistant
SNAP Partner Site: American Rivers – Nevada City Office

AustenAusten Lorenz grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Like so many, his time in the mountains instilled in him a deep passion for the environment. From one mountain range to another, Austen moved to Prescott, Arizona where he studied at Prescott College. There he focused on natural history and ecology and earned a degree in Environmental Studies. After graduating, he followed the Colorado River north to the heart of the Rocky Mountains working as a fisheries technician with the U.S. Forest Service. There he spent most of his days surveying trout populations in small backcountry streams and working on a large watershed restoration project. He continued with the U.S. Forest Service in Cordova, Alaska. There he worked on a wide array of projects from stream geomorphology and restoration to habitat monitoring and salmon research.

Austen’s journey has now come full circle returning to the Sierra Nevada foothills that motivated him many years ago. Working for American Rivers he is excited to expand his knowledge of watershed science and policy. He hopes to give back through his work by protecting and restoring the mountains that inspired him and many more to come.

Nicole Lutkemuller, Restoration and Monitoring Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Alpine Watershed Group

NicoleNicole grew up in the small foothill town of Meadow Vista, California. Steps away from the Bear River and surrounded by Oak and Pine woodlands, Nicole enjoyed endless days of forest adventures and developed a respect for, and fascination with nature. Nicole initially attended UC Santa Cruz to play water polo and explore the coast. However, after freshmen year, the call of the mountains and snowboarding were too strong to ignore and Nicole moved to the North Tahoe area. First transferring to the University of
Neavada, Reno and finally to Sierra Nevada College, Nicole graduated in 2012 on the shores of Lake Tahoe with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Ecology.

After graduation, Nicole moved to Maine to explore the east coast. While there, Nicole worked for the Maine Natural Areas Program and had the opportunity to travel throughout the state’s sparsely populated lands and conduct inventories of rare, endangered and exemplary plants and natural communities.
Nicole’s passion for working with small environmental non profits was developed in Maine by working with Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance. Eventually though, winter came on the east coast and felt tortuous compared to the sunny, blue bird pow days Nicole was accustomed to, so she returned to Tahoe. After moving back, Nicole spent this past spring camping and conducting land health assessments on BLM grazing allotments throughout Nevada. Nicole is thrilled to be working with the Alpine Watershed Group and looks forward to exploring Alpine County. When not working, Nicole will be snowboarding, hiking with the dogs, observing plants, swimming, reading, mountain biking, or cooking.

Tiffany Mikamo, Wetlands Restoration Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Bishop Paiute Tribe

TiffanyTiffany was born and raised in a suburb in Los Angeles county. Attending the University of California, Davis got her out of her Southern California bubble as she moved up to Northern California. There, she received a B.S.in Environmental Science and Management. Personal favorite courses she has taken include courses about wetland ecology, soil science, and the California Environmental Quality Act. Being placed in Davis allowed her to visit beautiful wetlands and organic farms, and go on some gorgeous hikes. She also had the opportunity to intern with Davis Farm to School. This allowed Tiffany to gain a wider perspective of the impact of environmental education, especially at a young age. She was amazed how children in elementary school were learning concepts she learned much later! This gave her a desire to see more children go outdoors and make a connection with nature.
Tiffany is very excited to begin service with the Bishop Paiute Tribe as the Wetlands Restoration Coordinator. She can’t wait to learn more and take part in the conservation projects.


Carley O’Connell, Education Program Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center

CarleyCarley grew up in Truckee, CA where she learned to love the outdoors, the environment, and all it has to offer. She loves skiing, horseback riding, hiking, climbing, kayaking, swimming, and basically anything you can do outside. In May of 2014, Carley graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Sciences, with an emphasis in Biological Sciences. After graduating, she moved back to Truckee where she currently resides. She is looking forward to working with the Tahoe Environmental Research Center as an AmeriCorps member this year and is excited for what the future holds.






Max Odland, River Restoration & Outreach Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: American Rivers – Nevada City Office

MaxMax grew up exploring the forests, mountains (or hills), and waterways of New York’s Hudson Valley. After years immersed in that landscape, he studied conservation biology at Middlebury College in Vermont. There, he mapped natural communities in the Green Mountains and helped run the school’s student farm. These experiences fueled a growing interest in the interactions between humans and our environment. After graduating in 2012, Max transplanted himself to the west coast, where he worked on an organic farm in Washington, and taught ecology and glaciology to school kids at Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. He most recently served as conservation associate at the Shasta Land Trust in Redding, CA, managing their conservation easement monitoring program and volunteer activities.
When he isn’t romping through the countryside, Max likes music, dancing, food, and generally having a grand time. He is excited to join SNAP again and protect rivers, streams, and meadows with American Rivers this year.


Karl Ronning, River Monitoring Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: South Yuba River Citizens League

KarlKarl is serving as the River Monitoring Coordinator with the South Yuba River Citizens League. The job entails spending his days managing over 75 volunteer water quality monitors to collect data used to keep the Yuba Watershed healthy and beautiful. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri but preferred spending his time on lakes and rivers of Minnesota and Missouri. In 2012, he earned his BS in Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to joining the SNAP program, he worked alongside the National Weather Service studying fire weather and working with La Grande Weather Service forecasting weather for ski resorts in Oregon. Karl is excited to start working for his second year of service after completing various environmental and water conservation projects for AmeriCorps NCCC throughout California and Hawaii. He is very interested in water conservation and managing fresh water as a sustainable resource to protect the water environment to meet current and future human demand. When he isn’t working, you will find him hanging out with friends, hiking, disc golfing, water skiing, running, and cooking.


Savannah Rudroff, Natural Resources Associate
SNAP Partner Site: The League to Save Lake Tahoe

SavannahSavannah was raised in Southern California. Travelling, camping, and hiking with her family was very prevalent during her childhood. Her father’s knowledge of the natural world inspired her to want to learn more. She had been dreaming of many different degrees and universities since she was ten years old. At fourteen, she decided to start volunteering at aquariums to get a feel for marine biology. Through volunteering at a few different aquariums, she was able to learn about the interconnectedness of the world and the importance of conservation. In 2010, she began attending UC Santa Cruz in pursuit of a degree in Marine Biology. Along the way she gained knowledge of Freshwater Ecology, Invertebrate Zoology, Marine Ecology, Microbial Ecology, Marine Botany and Environmental Interpretation through her classes. During her free time she worked in a variety of offices on campus as an events coordinator. She had the privilege to organize many events which focused on educating attendees about certain themes, such as environmental stewardship, racial and gender inequalities, and body positive/self love. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2014 and took the opportunity to backpack around Europe before starting with Americorps at The League to Save Lake Tahoe.

Juliet Ryan-Davis, Education Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Sierra Streams Institute

JulietJuliet grew up in New England, spending her childhood mostly in a suburb of Boston with many escapes to the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. She graduated in 2013 from Middlebury College in Vermont, where she majored in Geology and minored in Education Studies. Her time at Middlebury guided her to connect with her surroundings while learning and playing in the rolling Green Mountains.
After graduating, Juliet spent four months living in Mammoth Lakes, California where she worked as a Student Conservation Association intern with the National Park Service at Devils Postpile National Monument. It was then that Juliet fell in love with the Range of Light, the Sierra Nevada Mountains!
This past year, Juliet worked in the Los Angeles area as a Post-Baccalaureate Geology Researcher for a professor at Pomona College, exploring the Mojave Desert and the Sierra through fieldwork and scientific research. She is thrilled to have returned to a mountain lifestyle in Nevada City this year, where she is able to share her enthusiasm for science, research, and the outdoors with students in the region as the Education Coordinator at SSI.

Tanya Trowbridge, Education Programs & Field Trips Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Sequioa Riverlands Trust

TanyaHey All, my name is Tanya Trowbridge and I am serving as the Education Programs and Field Trip Coordinator for the Sequoia Riverlands Trust in the bustling town of Visalia, in the central part of CA. Before this, I was in Oregon, going to Pacific University, about 30 miles west of Portland. While at Pacific, I studied Environmental Studies, with a double minor in Outdoor leadership and Peace and Social Justice. During college, I worked at the The Center for Civic Engagement organizing volunteer events and placements, and I volunteered at the student-run organic farm. I also led pre-orientation backcountry trips for incoming freshmen. I am originally from the East Bay, and still consider that home. I love being outdoors, hiking, backpacking, camping, and the SF Giants! In my spare time, I knitting and I dabble in quilting and rock climbing. In this upcoming year I am looking forward to learning more about restoration work and watersheds, as well as getting to work with juvenile delinquents in helping set up a garden! Blessed be everybody.


Svetlana Vasilchenko, Restoration Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: South Yuba River Citizens League

SvetlanaSvetlana recently relocated to Nevada City from Boise, Idaho. She comes from a large immigrant family from Russia—number 11 of 12 siblings (yes—all biological!). Growing up in a large family inevitably resulted in many shenanigans and with 8 older brothers to annoy, she learned to run fast and dodge punches! Eventually, she came to appreciate the art of running, completing her first 26.2 in Portland, OR. Besides running, other activities she enjoys are exploring, fishing, reading and spending time with her family.
Most of her life was spent in Boise where she eventually attended Boise State University. She is proud to be the second of two people in her family to earn a college degree. She has always had an interest in nature and how things work so it was not surprising when she chose to study Biology. She, however, was inspired to emphasize in Ecology when she took an introductory Ecology course. Learning how all the pieces of Mother Nature’s mysterious puzzle come together fascinated her and only furthered her curiosity, inspiring her to conduct an independent research project. She studied the effect of nutrient cycling in the Sagebrush Steppe on dietary choices of Pygmy Rabbits. This experience sparked a strong interest to work with endangered/at-risk species and is one major reason why she is excited to join the South Yuba River Citizen’s League as their newest Restoration Coordinator. Svetlana brings her experience and love of nature and is looking forward to doing her part in restoring the natural systems in the Greater Nevada City area.

Kelsey Westfall, Community Outreach Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: The Sierra Fund

KelseyKelsey was raised in the beautiful Sierra Foothills by parents with an affinity for nature and exploration. Her childhood was spent swimming, climbing trees and eating fresh fruits and veggies from the thriving backyard garden, hobbies that eventually paved the way for her travels across Europe and New Zealand with organic gardening and work exchange programs. Kelsey then transferred to San Francisco State University where she became a member of the student environmental organization Fossil Free SFSU and assisted in coordinating the 2nd Annual International Divestment Convergence Conference in April, 2014. Concurrently, Kelsey was an intern with 5 Gyres Institute, where she conducted plastic pollution research on local San Francisco beaches and processed samples collected from sea voyages abroad. Kelsey graduated from San Francisco State University in May, 2014 and was presented the Environmental Studies Departmental Honoree Award, delivering a speech a graduation. She is excited to start a year of service with The Sierra Fund, where she will be able to pursue environmental advocacy in a vibrant community nestled in the mountains she considers home.

Ben Wickham, Watersheds Program Coordinator
SNAP Partner Site: Friends of the Inyo

Ben Wickham


I grew up in Idaho and received an undergraduate degree in history and a graduate degree in Natural Resources with an Environmental Education Emphasis from the University of Idaho. I’ve worked in the tourism for industry for years, including two summers at Merced Lake High Sierra Camp in Yosemite National Park and a few years at Rock Creek Lodge in the Eastern Sierra. Most recently I worked as a ski and hiking guide in Yosemite and I am excited to be back on the eastside of the Sierra for the summer.