Natural Resource Education and Recreation Intern
Luis, a Southern California native, is currently an undergraduate studying Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard University. Most recently, he worked with the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center to study environmental and climate effects on willow growth patterns in Yellowstone National Park’s northern range. Luis has also worked with a summer camp in Japan (HLAB) to develop and teach a sustainable development-based curriculum to high school students. Ultimately, he hopes to help the Sierra Institute build environmentally minded communities in California and beyond, while taking advantage of stellar outdoor recreation opportunities and reading time to expand his worldview.
Natural Resource Education and Recreation Intern
A native of California, Daniel was born and raised in Lincoln. He graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.S. in botany. He has worked in with the Forest Service on projects ranging from forest health research to rare plant surveys. In his most recent position he worked with 5th and 6th graders teaching science at an outdoor science camp. In his free time Daniel enjoys hiking and camping and is looking forward to his time in Taylorsville. Email Daniel
2015 Social Science Intern
Erica is a Bay Area native who grew up backpacking and skiing in the beautiful Sierras. She recently completed a Master’s Degree in Geography at Penn State University, focused on issues of community-based conservation and tourism in Northern Botswana. Erica loves spending time outdoors, especially on trail runs and long bike rides. She is looking forward to getting to know the landscapes and communities of Plumas County!
2015 Recreation and Natural Resource Education Intern
Jess Forbes is from Burlington, Vermont where she loves to ski, garden and hike in the Green Mountains! She graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a B.S. in Natural Science Biology and has spent the last few years working as a wilderness trip leader and outdoor educator in North Carolina and Alaska. Most recently, Jess worked for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry as a field educator, and as an Assistant Field Crew Lead for P-CREW. Jess loves spending her time out of doors and is looking forward to sharing her passion for conservation and learning about our natural world with local youth.
2015 Event Planning and Administrative Intern
Alex is a life-long resident of Indian Valley and comes to the Sierra Institute as a summer intern, helping plan and organize the Round Valley Run as well as with general tasks around the office. She is entering her senior year at Greenville High School, and plans to study outdoor recreation leadership and psychology in college. Alex is an avid runner and has gone on most Greenville Outdoor Adventure Learning (GOAL) trips as a participant. She was excited to work for the organization that has provided her with so many outdoor and educational opportunities, through GOAL, the Natural Resources Program, and Friday Night for Teens.
Kelsey Gunderson was born and raised in Reno, Nevada and spent her summers in Quincy, California at her family’s cabin. During this time she fell in love with nature and the picturesque beauty of area and this inspired her future focus on Environmental Studies. She enjoys playing sports, hiking and being outdoors. Kelsey received her BA in Environmental Studies from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and is excited to come back to her roots and work with the Sierra Institute.
James Ray, 2012 AmeriCorps Member
After migrating north from San Diego, California to Tacoma, Washington, and earning a degree in Natural Science with minors in Biology and Environmental Policy from the University of Puget Sound, James decided to continue his journey northward and work as a Naturalist in Juneau, Alaska. An extremely wet summer in Juneau made him realize that something was missing from his life; sunlight!
This is one of the many reasons James is excited to be back in his home state of California as a SNAP member with Sierra Institute and have the opportunity to bring about positive change for both the rural communities and environment within the Upper Feather River Watershed.
Kacy Peek – Summer of 2012 Intern
Kacy was born and raised in central and east Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she studied liberal arts in the Plan II Honors program, Classics, and pre-medicine. Kacy also walked on to the university rowing team and spent her four years at UT as a student-athlete. After graduating from UT, she moved to New York City with her husband, Chris, while he attended law school. There, she worked various odd jobs in retail, tutoring, and coaching. Kacy also spent time volunteering in Mexico, helping provide health care and provisions to families in rural communities. In 2011, Kacy was accepted to the University of California, Berkley-University of California, San Francisco Joint Medical Program, where she is now working towards her MD and MS in Health and Medical Sciences. There, she volunteers with homeless youth and is conducting an outreach program for uninsured people with diabetes in rural communities. Kacy worked as an intern with the Sierra Institute, working on a community-academic partnership to address teen tobacco use as well as working with Friday Night For Teens.
Rachel McDowell – 2011-2012 Intern
As an Indian Valley native, Rachel graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she studied Animal Science and Spanish. Rachel began her career at Cal Poly in pursuit of Veterinary Medicine, but soon realized her passion for improving the lives of people which then motivated her to pursue a career in the field of Public Health. Rachel felt blessed to be able to return to beautiful Indian Valley and be directly involved in projects that benefit her home community while simultaneously gaining invaluable experience. “I have had the opportunity to observe the health care systems in the county from the perspective of a community member and am looking forward to learning more from a professional view.” In a direct partnership agreement with the Plumas County Department of Public Health, Rachel worked on the community-wide health assessment, assisting with the Health Summit focusing on adolescent health, and compiling local resources for local youth. She was also involved in the Friday Night for Teens at the Greenville Community Recreation Center and the Teen PhotoVoice project. Rachel remains in Indian Valley as she continues her studies.
Erik Horngren – Summer 2011 Intern
On May 2011, Erik graduated Magna Cum Laude from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies.
His passion and motivation about environmental issues led Erik to Sierra Institute. and while here, Erik did extensive work in the wonderful world of biomass. His accomplishments included authoring a report on biomass heating for small-scale facilities for Eastern Plumas Health District, preparing a list of indicators for sustainability related to biomass utilization, and developing an informational brochure to help teach the public more about biomass.
In the summer of 2011, Erik traveled across the western United States, and earned his Wilderness First Responder certification and Master Educator status from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.Erik is an avid hiker, biker, and snowboarder who loves being outdoors. He also spends his time volunteering for various organizations including the Sisters of the Road Cafe in Portland, Oregon; a cafe for the homeless and those on low income.
Beth Macinko – Summer/Fall 2011 Intern
Beth came to us from Connecticut, a recent Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She was continuing her interest in rural communities and in the environment by helping with the Westwood Community Survey and the Greenville High School Natural Resource Academy.
For the Westwood Survey, Beth spent many days and evenings canvasing the community with the survey questionnaire and dog biscuits-to placate the many dogs she ran across! After several weeks, data was collected and compiled. While Beth was living in Taylorsville, she enjoyed the many hiking trails, hot springs, and making new friends.
After spending a summer in Rhode Island life guarding, Beth traveled to Eleuthera to take a WFR courseand prep for the new semester where she was to team-teach the Histories class, which draws on cultural anthropology to look at local history. Interviewing in nearby settlements brought Beth back to the ‘interviewing’ days in Westwood. Beth started the semester out with Hurricane Irene, which made for an exciting and intense semester from the beginning! After spending the holidays in the States with family, she will be returning back to Eleuthera for another semester of teaching.
Jennifer Kaufmann – 2009 AmeriCorp Member / 2010 Intern
Originally from Arizona, Jennifer ran the Center of Forestry outdoor educational tours for the public while also working to establish the Greenville High School Natural Resources field component. She planned, coordinated, and carried-out twelve to fourteen tours with approximately 25 to 30 participants. While working with the Greenville High School Natural Resource Academy, she accompanied the students and their teachers on many field trips to the Moonlight Fire area to do monitoring, and also to the Crescent Mills Wetland Mitigation area. Jennifer worked at Sierra Institute for two (2) years; 1-year as an Intern and 1-year as an AmeriCorp Member.
Today, Jennifer is living locally in Quincy and loving it! She is still enjoying the beauty and community of Plumas County that kept her in this area initially. She spends lots of her time outdoors hiking and enjoying new places to explore. She’s associated with the Forest Foundation and presents to 3rd through 6th graders a program called Talk About Trees. Additionally, she runs an after-school program for girls with Women’s Mountain Passages, and an exercise and games program with the APOLLOafter-school project in Greenville. Jennifer also keeps busy being a substitute teacher throughout Plumas County.
Kelly Weintraub – 2006 Watershed Intern (ABWAC Staff)
Kelly is a currently studying at Humboldt State in the Wildlife Graduate Student Society, writing her thesis topic on the nesting biology of tri-colored blackbirds in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
“My love of wildlife and wild places stems from a childhood filled with camping, hiking, and studying nature up close in the Sierra Nevada”, says Kelly. “I’m very excited to be pursuing a masters degree here at Humbolt State.”
As the Watershed Intern at Sierra Institute, Kelly was very instrumental in working with the ABWAC group in Chester, including creating and running the annual Lake Almanor Clean-Up.
Kelly has a BS in Environmental Studies-Biology from Southern Oregon University, Ashland, Oregon.
Beth Rose Middleton – 2001 Research Associate
Working as a research associate with Dr. Kusel before and during her graduate career allowed Ms. Middleton to investigate rural and environmental justice issues, particularly the impacts of transitioning from resource-related economies in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, Beth Rose compiled a Rural Environmental Justice Sourcebook, a project she is still working on. The book is intended to raise awareness of rural environmental justice issues and includes information on issues such as the contamination remaining from the gold rush, non-point pollution sources, impacts of dams, pesticide use in mountain and wood gathering communities, and non-native fish kills.
Dr. Middleton says, “Growing up in a rural area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I spent a lot of time outside and my parents encouraged it…I was always walking the hills, always had a garden, and always watched the animals. Spending a lot of time outdoors also exposed me to many of the negative impacts, both environmentally and culturally, of activities such as rapid growth of land use and conversion, unplanned development, mill closings, and gold mining. These early experiences gave me a passion for the environmental field and influenced my future career choices.”
Bobby Cochran – 2000 Summer Intern
Currently, Bobby Cochran is associated with the Willamette Partnership in Hillsboro, Oregon. Willamette Partnership is a coalition of diverse leaders working to shift the way people value, manage, and regulate our environment. As Executive Director, Bobby is specializing in developing collaborative policy tools and approaches at the intersection between economics, technology, and the environment. He’s sometimes accused of wearing ‘rose-colored’ glasses, but he’s still convinced those are cool. Bobby holds a PhD / MA from Portland State University.
If you were an intern at Sierra Institute and would like to update your file with us, please contact us at (530) 284.1022 or Info@SierraInstitute.us.