By the end of the month, I will no longer be an employee of Save Mount Diablo.
It is difficult to express in words how much I have appreciated working with and learning from this particular group of volunteers. Half of my ten year stint as a practitioner of land management disciplines and public outreach efforts have been with Save Mount Diablo and it is still surreal that I will no longer be managing SMD’s properties with you wonderful individuals. Coming from a field grunt position with the National Park Service to the nonprofit sector was eye opening, and really gave me the freedom to pursue what I was most interested in and passionate about. I can’t thank Save Mount Diablo enough for that as well as all of the volunteers who worked with me on that journey. You have shared so much knowledge and I have grown so much as an environmental professional and more importantly, as an individual because of our time together. I will miss you dearly.
During our time together, I might have shared this with some but before landing my first internship with the National Park Service, one that would set me down the path of land management and the environmental field in general, I was planning on becoming a public school teacher. I grew up around teachers and have endless respect for the role they play in our society; I would argue they are some of the most important public figures in any city, county, or state. Over the years, I was lucky enough to work in areas that parallel education such as interpretation during workdays and hikes, public outreach, working with interns who were just starting their career, and more recently, our Conservation Collaboration Agreement program, an environmental education initiative that our Executive Director, Ted Clement, kick-started with the organization. This program has been particularly inspiring to me and helped crystallize what direction I would like to go in my career.
So, I am realigning my professional trajectory to pursue a teaching credential. In the meantime, I will be working for an environmental education program with a school in Alameda, substitute teaching in other East Bay communities, and applying to local universities. Education and connecting students to the out-of-doors and the environmental field is crucial at this point, nationally I would argue, and I want to be an advocate and practitioner of this idea.
Again, it is difficult for me to say goodbye and truly express how much you have meant to me during my time here. I am leaving our programs in good hands—Roxana has been an asset for the past two years, supporting me every step of the way and learning a ton, our caretakers, Vinny and Alyxa, have also been great additions to the team and of course, Meredith keeps the wheels on the bus. I believe there is a great amount of talent in the Bay Area when it comes to the environmental field, and Save Mount Diablo will hire someone with their own particular experience and expertise that will make the organization that much stronger.
I will keep an eye on the organization and crop up at a workday or two in the future.
All the very best,