I am thrilled to join this cohort of Clark County AmeriCorps members as the Green Schools Outreach Coordinator – my first position out of college! I graduated in May 2023, honoring my path to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science as a first-generation college student. During my time at Washington State University Vancouver, I worked primarily in the Outdoor Recreation Program, leading students on outdoor excursions while teaching about the environment. My favorite event was our Earth Day Celebration where I made a "Quick History of Earth Day" presentation and partnered with the Clark County Adopt-A-Park program for invasive species removal at LeRoy Haagen Park. I also had a life-changing experience during my summer internship with the Port of Vancouver while in the Future Leaders Program, where I discovered how to integrate my authentic self into an executive environment. Lastly, I was able to get field experience assisting in research studying the elusive Van Dyke Salamander (Plethodon Vandykei). Given where I grew up, my journey to environmental work was not as straightforward as you would expect. In the small mountain community of Frazier Park, California, my weekends consisted of many spontaneous hikes, long drives on endless forest dirt roads, and marveling at the starry night sky right from my backyard. After moving to Bakersfield, California for community college, I realized I took my hometown environment for granted. I began to be bombarded with climate change facts, news, and studies that were all very new to me. I felt so much anguish seeing how we were treating our world and how blind I was to it living in my small town. I had a long bumpy path to reach where I am today, but one thing I was highly privileged with was my access to clean air, filtered water, abundant green spaces, and unhindered access to the awe of nature. Therein sparking my journey to environmental science and environmental justice.
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