2015-16 SNAP Members
With family history in the Sierra Nevada extending over 150 years, Sarah is excited to be cultivate her passions and connections into professional experience. Having grown up in the foothills of the Sierra, she will be to protecting her home through the SNAP program at Sierra Streams Institute. Sarah’s diverse work experience makes her well-prepared for her position at Education Coordinator. While obtaining her undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz, she interned for the UC natural reserves before becoming a campaign coordinator for a water conservation project. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies, she worked for a summer as an Interpreter for the California State Parks, then made her way back to the foothills working as a Naturalist intern at a residential outdoor school in Sonora. Finally, this summer, she worked for her first non-profit at the Mono Lake Committee over on the east side. Sarah is not only looking forward to teaching and helping to positively impact her environment, but she can’t wait to hike, bike, and explore all that her new home in Nevada City has to offer!
Alec is a recently graduated Terp who loves adventure and the outdoors! He grew up in a small town in New Jersey, exploring the woods behind his home and spending summers playing in the stream. At a young age, he developed a fondness for biking, skiing and tennis.
Alec then headed down to the University of Maryland, where he wandered through a variety of majors and clubs before finding his niche in the environmental science department with another focus in GIS. Time spent in The Wildlife Society, Phi Sigma Pi and the Maryland Adventure Program also greatly shaped Alec’s college life. Upon graduating, Alec decided he wanted to see more of the country and journeyed to Yosemite National Park to study forest fire dynamics. Afterwards, he went to work for the National Park Service in San Francisco, monitoring and collecting data amidst the streams and estuaries along the coast.
Alec is eager to head back to the mountains to examine the effects of mining and become part of a research team. He hopes to gain a more extensive understanding of the Sierra Nevada’s unique ecosystem and develop skills that will prepare him for graduate school.
Cynthia grew up exploring the southern Sierra foothills she called home until the age of 7, when her family moved to Tucson, AZ. Growing up she enjoyed taking road trips with her family to national parks all over the western U.S. She attended Santa Clara University and received a B.S.in Environmental Science with an emphasis in applied ecology. While in school she worked for a local non profit with a focus on improving indoor air quality in the San Jose area and as a GIS technician, collecting and mapping utility data for the town of Hillsborough, CA. Through her studies, she has always been drawn to interdisciplinary study and is looking for opportunities to integrate these critical thinking skills into her SNAP placement. She is passionate about environmental science, loves to backpack, hike, camp, and is excited to be finally returning home to the Sierra foothills.
Originally from South Africa, Leah moved around as a kid, spending most of her childhood in Rhode Island. However, since her family moved to the Bay Area six years ago, she has called California home. Two years at an international school in Wales, with a focus on sustainability and human rights, inspired Leah’s passion for travel, community service, and protecting fragile natural resources and the communities that depend on them. She went on to major in Geosciences at Yale, graduating in May 2015 with a focus in Environmental Science, in order to ground her interest in the relationship between the environment and people with a strong technical background. During college she was able to pursue fieldwork in Peru, Canada and Barbados and spend a semester studying abroad in New Zealand. Following graduation, she trekked north to rural Alaska to do fisheries and limnology research with the University of Washington. These experiences made her increasingly interested in water and the complexities inherent in sustainable water management in the face of climate change, the need for food and energy security, and socioeconomic inequality. She looks forward to working on some of these issues this year at a community level with the Sierra Streams Institute. In her spare time, Leah is a lover of books and movies, cozy coffee shops and all things outdoors!
Cordi 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.
Seaming together a series of serendipitous yet intertwining sagas while maintaining a forward lean, Vincent has navigated a sinewed path with a boundless sense of discovery. He has gazed upon peaks of an almost unimaginable bounty of splendor while lightly treading in a disparate and solemn summer stream.
Drawing from experiences in agriculture, carpentry, and an ever-evolving artistic practice, Vincent continues his pursuit of determined personal renewal and communal fulfillment by focusing his energy toward positive interactions and fostering a lattice of knowledge.
Immersed in a West Coast state of mind and operating in a burgeoning open-air classroom, he hopes to restore wholesome, practical relationships between the land and its people. Look for him between the spine of your yellowed notebook pages and at the top of the stone breeding grounds of symbiosis.
Being a newbie in the Sierra Nevada, Hannah is excited to begin exploring this breathtaking landscape while serving for the Alpine Watershed Group. Hannah grew up in Maine, where she developed a deep appreciation for the beautiful outdoors and also developed a need to be in and around water. Since then, she has continued to seek experiential learning opportunities to help build a stronger understanding of the natural world.
While earning her BS in Geology from St. Lawrence University, she spent time engaging in sustainable agriculture and alternative lifestyles. She was also lucky enough to work with a study on the effects of oil drilling on shelled, marine animals with the University of Vienna. Hannah’s love for fly-fishing and paddling has recently shifted her goals and interests towards watershed restoration, and she looks forward to becoming an ambassador of positive changes for our delicate water system.
Emily grew up in a small town in Northern Humboldt County, California. With the majestic redwood forests and beautiful Pacific Ocean as her backyard, she explored nature from an early age via tide pooling, hiking trips and camping trips. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2015. UC Santa Barbara’s beachfront campus provided great opportunities for her to learn about marine biology first hand, among other fields such as plants, invertebrate zoology and stream ecology. After graduating, she moved to Truckee, to begin working for the California State Parks as a Plant Science Technician, where she learned valuable information about the Tahoe region. She is very excited to join the team at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center and spread knowledge about Lake Tahoe while continuing to explore her new home!
Grant Harrison, Conservation Assistant at El Dorado County & Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts
Grant grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to Santa Cruz in his teens where he was spoiled by immaculate waves, rich coastal geography, and superb human beings who introduced him to radically new ways of looking at and fitting into the natural world. His first foray into the world of environmental action was in his tenure at the Cabrillo College Sustainability Council, and he has since been inspired to seek a career and lifestyle that allow him to walk the talk of environmental stewardship. He was fortunate enough to grow up with a surfer for a dad and a skier for a mom, so he was given the opportunity to experience the wonder of both the coast and the mountains of California as a youth. Grant attended UC Berkeley, graduating in 2015 with a BA in American Studies, with an emphasis in Environmental Policy. The American Studies department at UC Berkeley is one of the few interdisciplinary majors on campus, and it allows students who desire to draw material from various subject fields within the institution to design their own tailored course of study. Grant’s course of study primarily consisted of Cultural Geography, ESPM (Environmental Science, Policy, and Management), and History. Grant is eager to translate the theory and knowledge that he has garnered in the academic setting into meaningful and pragmatic action, and the position with El Dorado and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts is the ideal place to do so.
Courtney Hudson grew up in the mountains of North Idaho where she spent her childhood fishing, swimming, attending free public library programs, and poorly imitating Lion King characters with her brother and neighbor friends. After high school she received the Congress-Bundestag scholarship and spent a year studying abroad in Germany where she was astonished by Germany’s sophisticated recycling program and her host grandparents insistence on putting solar panels on their 170 year-old barn. After being accepted into Eastern Washington University Courtney combined her passions for social and environmental justice by pursuing a B.A. in Anthropology with an emphasis in Cultural Ecology.
In 2014 Courtney relocated to California with her husband Alex and their two well-behaved yet incredibly spoiled dogs. Following stints as a canvasser and a utility forester, Courtney had the honor to be accepted into the 2015-16 SNAP program. Courtney is thrilled to be working as a Stewardship Coordinator for the SYRCL and is excited to get to know the South Yuba River as well as the community of Nevada City.
Timmy grew up on the edge of the Sierra Nevada Foothills in Folsom, California spending many hours skiing, hiking, and camping in the Sierra Nevada. He then went to college at the University of California, Santa Barbara graduating with a double major in Geography and Environmental Studies. During his studies Timmy developed a passion for ecological restoration, sustainable agriculture, green building, and surfing. While at school he worked for the Cheadle Center of Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration on native wetland and grassland restoration.
After graduating he went on a brief foray through Europe and then returned home. Although he will miss the ocean, Timmy is excited to return home and work on ecological restoration and implementing community gardens. When he isn’t working Timmy will probably be skiing, running, biking, or playing tennis.
Although Kara grew up a wild and curious child of Southern California, she truly longed for yearly Sierra Summers exploring Bodie and fishing the Owens with her parents who are still recounting their younger years roaming high altitudes in a sketchy VW bus with a rowdy Collie. Many years later she was drawn back to the North to Sonoma County where she received her BS in Environmental Studies and Planning from Sonoma State University. Kara finds nothing more captivating than the way we use, commodify, transport, treat, admire, think about and protect water resources. Through the power of conversation and community building she hopes to continue to explore all things water and to develop a deeper understanding of the ways our natural systems can inspire life long learning and healing. In her spare time, Kara likes to bike, chase frisbees and play the thumb piano in a never-serious band named Hot Whiskey.
Bree was born and raised in a small town in New Hampshire to parents 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. Next she 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. She then did a half term with SNAP down in Visalia as a Conservation Technician at Sequoia Riverlands Trust. She is excited to serve another year with AmeriCorps in Incline Village at Tahoe Environmental Research Center!
I grew up in the Bay Area in Palo Alto, CA, and received my undergraduate degree in Biology from Pomona College in Claremont, CA in 2014. I focused much of my time at Pomona on investigating anthropogenic impacts on wildlife and ecosystems, and spent a summer on the big island of Hawaii doing rainforest restoration research. I am looking forward to another year of service with Americorps, after finishing a term with the Center for Natural Lands Management in Olympia, WA doing prairie restoration research. I couldn’t be more excited to join the Sierra Streams Institute as a River Scientist, where I plan to continue studying how wildlife responds to human-induced environmental change. When I’m not counting plants or catching frogs at work, I enjoy swimming, water polo, hiking, baking, reading, and cliff jumping.
Mo is the River Monitoring Coordinator with the South Yuba River Citizens League. She recently moved here from East Tennessee where she graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and GIS concentration. There she spent two years with the Cumberland Trail Conference as an intern developing and maintaining trails. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast that has been employed in fields of white water, snow skiing, and rock climbing from coast to coast in the United States, including Asheville, NC; Missoula, MT and Truckee, CA. Mo is eager to begin a lifelong career in watershed stewardship.
Bronti joins SNAP with a background in Environmental Studies from UCSC. She is a fourth generation Californian with an immense amount of pride and love for her state. Bronti became interested in the preservation and conservation of ecosystems at an early age when her and her father would test the water quality at local surf spots in Southern California for the state Science Fair. Since then she has focused her studies and career goals towards protecting the natural world for future generations to appreciate. Outside of work, Bronti enjoys traveling, backpacking, concerts, playing tennis, and everything else under the sun.
Evan has his roots in Southern California and was captivated by the outdoors at an early age. He was fortunate to take camping/adventure trips to Yellowstone, Great Basin, Yosemite, Denali and many other national parks as a child. His sense of adventure never wavered even after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences. He took up field research in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Colorado, and New Mexico –with a stint at a national laboratory in Tennessee. Evan soon realized that field science is most fun when shared with others, so he started teaching as an outdoor educator in California and Montana. Outside of science, Evan is a dedicated air-cooled VW owner and loves to backpack and adventure! He remains passionate about research and education, and is ecstatic to combine research, education, and outreach as a SNAP member.
Jacob is from the small town of Banning, California, which is situated between the two tallest mountains in Southern California—Mt. San Gorgonio and Mt. San Jacinto. Having grown up under the patient care of these mountains and seeing the beauty of the Western United States on family vacations, he developed a love for Nature. He attended college at Humboldt State University in far northern California where he studied Environmental Science and Ecological Restoration to learn more about Nature, the issues it faces, and what we can do to repair the harm we’ve done to it. Aside from school, Jacob has done some volunteer work for programs in Humboldt County that provide children with recreation, leadership, and environmental education opportunities. He has also been lucky enough to work during his summers for a trail crew in the mountains of Eastern Nevada and for the U.S. Forest Service as a Wilderness Patrol/Ranger in the Trinity Alps Wilderness in Northern California and the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses in the Central Sierra’s. Jacob looks forward to working in the mighty Sierra Nevada’s for a year, putting his restoration knowledge to good use assisting with restoration efforts in the El Dorado National Forest.
Martin Dale Purdy (Marty), first of his name, was born into the arid chaparral ecosystems of Southern California. Desiccating in the desert, Marty moved north in search of wetter, colder, and more nourishing climates for university ultimately attending UC Santa Cruz. He graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution and a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Since graduation Marty has worked as a science and maritime history instructor for the Ocean Institute and more recently as a trail worker in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area. Coming off of a five month stint in the mountains of Northern California, he can think of no place better to spend the next year than sandwiched between the Eastern Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains in Bishop, CA. Marty is passionate about teaching, hiking, native plants, fungi, and corduroy.
Bonnie Ricord is a 2015 graduate from the University of Vermont, where she majored in Natural Resource Ecology. Growing up in Ohio, Bonnie learned to love being outdoors through hikes and bike rides with her family. Eventually a week-long family vacation in Northern Michigan turned to several weeks, and Bonnie’s family moved full time to their beloved outdoor playground in 2007. She was lucky enough to cross country ski, run, bike, hike, swim, and kayak while she was in high school, and spent several summers working for the NPS. She spent a semester studying environmental stewardship in northern Wisconsin, and this experience convinced her to continue to explore the curiosities of nature in college. In Vermont, she spent her time taking as many outdoor, lab-based field courses as possible, taking a particular interest in landscape natural history. Pursuing her interest in wilderness, she worked and studied in Montana and central Idaho. Most recently, she worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska, conducting field work to help research overwintering habits and habitats of juvenile Coho salmon. Bonnie enjoys hiking, writing letters, reading, and swimming, and is wildly motivated by spending time outside. She is looking forward to her position as the River Assessment and Restoration Assistant for American Rivers, and is eager to explore the Sierras!
Katie Rodriguez is the new Watershed Program Coordinator for the Friends of the Inyo. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and at a young age had a love for the mountains and animals. Growing up, her family went on many camping trips to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, and these places inspired her to want to work in Conservation Biology. She obtained a B.S. in Organismal and Conservation Biology with an emphasis in Zoology from San Jose State University and after trying many different jobs (zoo keeper, wildlife rehabilitator, veterinary tech assistant, etc.) she decided to go back to graduate school. After completing her coursework for a Master’s of Science degree in Conservation Biology and Ecology at San Jose State University, she took a position on the Bear Management team with the National Park Service and found her passion: living and working in the Sierra Nevada. She has worked for the National Park Service since 2010 in various programs in the Wildlife Management branch. She completed her graduate thesis project , “Modeling black bear-vehicle collision zones in Yosemite National Park” and graduated in Spring 2015. Conservation of important habitat, wilderness, and recreational areas is her passion and she is excited to continue this work with Friends of the Inyo in the beautiful eastern Sierras. She lives in Bishop with her boyfriend and their two dogs (Sage and Tala), and they get out into the mountains as often as possible to hike, climb, mountain bike, backpack, and explore new places.
Sam grew up in the Bay Area in the “small” town of Sunnyvale, CA. Thanks to his parents he spent many summers travelling up to the Sierras (especially around Lake Tahoe) to camp and explore. Realizing that one could get a career in the outdoors, relatively speaking, Sam attended Colorado State University (CSU) and got his bachelors in Natural Resources Management and Fishery Biology. While at CSU Sam could be found in class, but it was more likely to find him chasing trout in the numerous streams that dotted the Colorado and Wyoming landscape. Sam’s life experiences and numerous seasonal jobs working with environmental education and fish crews have led him to his position in California as Trout Unlimited’s Sierra Cascades Field Organizer, located conveniently in the Tahoe area. Sam believes wholeheartedly in Trout Unlimited and is excited to help foster opportunities for others to experience and protect the amazing coldwater fisheries in California.
Catherine grew up playing in the lush grass and color changing leaves of Ann Arbor, Michigan. After high school, she moved 6 miles down the road to study Geology and Environmental Science at the University of Michigan. As a product of growing up in the same place she went to college, she sought out every opportunity to quench her travel thirsts. She has studied and conducted research in Wyoming, Brazil, Tanzania, Thailand, while rock climbing has taken her on countless road trips all over the US. She worked as a guide for an outdoor recreation company and discovered her love of working with people in both the front and backcountry. Upon graduating, she decided to hike the John Muir Trail. Three weeks later, blistered and malnourished on top of Mt. Whitney, she decided that she was not quite ready to leave the Sierras just yet. And so she was elated to be accepted into the SNAP team and moving to Bishop! If she is not trying to climb up a big rock, you can probably find her barefoot in a tree and giggling while eating sweet potato fries.
Candace has always been intrigued with the outdoors. Ever since she was little she was found outside playing in the trees or mud. In high school she had taken an environmental class that ignited her passion to pursue a career in the environmental field. Candace attended the University of La Verne with B.A. in Environmental Biology. While there, she was very involved on campus and had the ability to to intern with a Sustainability Consultant. She also had the opportunity to travel to Borneo and Thailand to assist students with their field studies. Candace’s personal research focused on the Effect of Humidity on the Metabolic Rate of Gromphadorhina portentosa. She later presented this information in an American Physiological Society Conference. Over the past six months she had been a Husbandry intern and volunteer with the Aquarium of the Pacific. Candace is very excited for this new journey and is honored to be working with the Pacific Southwest Research Station, where she will be assisting with communication on the research performed to the society.
Jonathan was born in Kansas and grew up on the other side of the border near Kansas City, MO. He later went back across the border to Baker University in Kansas, where he got a bachelor’s degree in German and biology, working in Iowa studying grassland ecology for ISU and studying abroad in Germany and Austria in the process. After that, he worked a summer for the Nature Conservancy at Fort Hood, Texas monitoring the endangered Golden-Cheeked Warbler. He then picked up sticks yet again and went to Western Illinois University for his graduate degree and completed his thesis in parasite ecology. Jonathan comes to the SNAP program from a seasonal position at the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico, home of Smokey Bear. He is elated to have the opportunity to develop his interests in ecological restoration and horticulture for the Sequoia Riverlands Trust in Visalia.
Sam was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, where he spent his free time playing sports and exploring tide pools and forests. He attended University of California Santa Barbara (go Gauchos!!!!), where received a BS in Environmental Studies, interned for Coal Oil Point Preserve and the Kids In Nature program, hiked, played intramurals, soaked up the sun, and had a generally awesome time. After college, Sam moved back to New Haven where he worked for various non-profits running afterschool programs, leading field trips and hosting summer camps. After 3 years in the non-profit sector, Sam moved to New Orleans, Louisiana to teach 5th and 7th grade science at Samuel J. Green Charter School. Despite falling in love with the city of New Orleans and learning an immeasurable amount from his students, Sam realized that his true passion was in providing hands-on, experiential, outdoor educational opportunities rather than traditional classroom teaching. Luckily, through SNAP he found a perfect place to pursue this passion: Sequoia Riverlands Trust. He is currently fulfilling his dream of making the world a happier and smarter place one child at a time.
Kelsey 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 another 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.
Kayla was born and raised in Northern California and spent her summers surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains at her family cabin near Kyburz, CA. Growing up she spent countless hours exploring creeks and wandering through the pines which led to her passion for the outdoors and desire to study the environment in school. Kayla has enjoyed travelling around the world to areas such as Switzerland, Germany, Holland, France, Alaska, and has made her way through most National Parks west of Denver. Kayla graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in the spring of 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and a minor in Ecohydrology. She is excited to begin her career with the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation to restore critical areas of the El Dorado Forest and help the public engage with and appreciate the forest in their backyard.