Growing up on the East Coast made me relatively unaware of the power and beauty of the Sierra Nevada Region. Life in a suburb outside of New York City felt relatively disconnected from ‘the great outdoors” and the issues associated with living among the mountains. Despite this bubble-effect, I had a love for nature and adventures any small child might relish. When not in school or playing summer sports, I would explore nature – whether it be camping with family and friends or searching for small critters in my town’s local reservation. I was fascinated with almost all animals and I loved having pets – from turtles to tree frogs, a dog and geckos. But as I grew up, I found myself not having the time for those interests. High school, sports, and jobs assumed priority as I started to focus on what kind of career and social networks I would pursue.
After graduating college, I moved to New York City to work as a paralegal, the first step of a seemingly long, successful legal career. A few years in, I started to feel disconnected from my values and unfulfilled in my duties. I felt that I wasn’t doing enough for the greater good so I began to look elsewhere for public service work. At about this time, wildfire coverage permeated East coast news outlets and I immediately felt a new calling. I would ditch the dress shoes and legal filings for logging boots and hand tools. Working for the US Forest Service to fight wildfires appeared like an adventurous way to unite my love for nature and this rekindled desire to serve.