As a child growing up in Michigan, nearly every vacation included a visit to our public lands. As a family, we visited state parks, national parks, national forests, and national lakeshores. Summer memories are a blur of lake houses, fishing, and tromping through the woods. My parents and I still plan trips together around exploring public lands.

I completed my undergraduate degree at Michigan State University, studying English. During my junior year, I went with a friend to The Ledges, a series of cliffs along the Grand River, where she taught me to rock climb. My friend encouraged me to join the Michigan State University Outdoors Club, which led to some incredible experiences exploring Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and Manistee National Forest, kayaking along the Grand River, and, of course, more rock climbing.

While at MSU, a general education course, People and the Environment, inspired me to add a Specialization in Environmental Economics and Policy. I loved learning about the economics of natural resources, and developing an understanding of responsible land planning and management. After graduating, I moved to New York City where I attended Columbia University and earned a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy. I returned to Michigan after a few years in New York to work for a nonprofit as a project manager.

I felt the pull of the American West and the mountains, so after some time in Michigan, I moved to Missoula, Montana for an AmeriCorps service term with Energy Corps at the City of Missoula. Throughout my service term, I worked on greenhouse gas emissions projects, climate resiliency work, and zero waste projects, including helping develop ZERObyFIFTY: Missoula’s Pathway to Zero Waste and helping transition community events to zero waste.

On weekends and evenings, I led hikes for Montana women through a women’s outdoor group in Lolo National Forest and the Bitterroot National Forest, and went backpacking and hiking in Glacier National Park and nearby wilderness areas.

After completing my service term, I spent six months exploring the Andean countries of South America and completed a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) semester course in Chilean Patagonia. Kayaking between the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields, backpacking through Lago Jeinimeni National Reserve and Parque Patagonia, and mountaineering in the Cerro San Lorenzo area, while learning the history of the land and current conservation efforts heightened my appreciation for access to public lands internationally.

I am so excited to be part of the team at the National Forest Foundation (NFF). My work will focus on developing small business partnerships, leading our peer-to-peer fundraisers and supporting the growing number of corporate partnerships for the NFF’s campaign to plant 50 million trees.

National Forest Foundation