Introducing our New Team Member: Climate and Energy Technician, David Jaeger!

Picture of David Jaeger

David Jaeger

Climate & Energy Technician

My first visit to the Sierra Nevada was during a family trip when I was 14 years old. After seeing my family in the Los Angeles area, my parents, my brother, and I spent a week hiking and exploring Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks. Growing up in the northeast, I was awed and inspired by the landscapes, wildlife, and the overall experience of walking among towering redwoods and past waterfalls piercing through cliffs of granite. Back home in Pennsylvania I would spend plenty of time outdoors, but I had never seen anything like what I saw in California.

My passion for wild places and concern about climate change brought me to study environmental science at the University of Vermont. I wouldn’t return to the Sierra Nevada until after I had graduated. I had become disenchanted with my first job out of college and began applying for numerous AmeriCorps positions across the country. I accepted the first response I got, and a month later I was on a plane to Reno, NV to spend a summer living and working on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Nevada. We had a couple of days before making the trek up to the Sheldon, so while I was in Reno one of the other crew members and I took a drive up the hill to Lake Tahoe. To see the lake in late May, at sunset, with the remaining snow from the previous winter reflecting bright yellow and orange, brought me back to the emotions I felt as a teenager in Yosemite Valley.

The next year I moved to Reno permanently for the outdoor access and because of the wonderful people I met in the Reno-Tahoe area (including my now Fiancée). As a skier, I felt spoiled by the proximity to world class terrain compared to the distances I had to travel for anything resembling decent skiing conditions back home. During the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic, I moved to San Luis Obispo and worked to receive my Master of City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly. I chose to go to Cal Poly because of my interest in climate action planning and environmental justice. During my graduate education I became aware of the scale of energy issues and the challenges faced both environmentally and economically as the state of California seeks to reduce carbon emission and improve air quality. In addition to my education, I gained firsthand experience with these issues as a Graduate Research Fellow on a microgrid energy project and through my internship work as a City Planner.

After moving back to Reno and spending over a year working as an Environmental Planner at a national consulting firm, I am thrilled to be focusing on local issues here at Sierra Business Council as part of the Climate and Energy team. I believe this work is incredibly important both for the safety and sustainability of the region’s communities, but also for its economic vitality. In rural California, environmental and economic issues are intertwined even more so than in urban areas. Many of the resources and industries that California and its economy depend on are fueled by the natural processes that occur in this iconic mountain range. I am beyond excited to be working to protect the Sierra Nevada region and support our communities to be more resilient in an uncertain world. 

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