Since 2008, I have been the team leader for the McKinleyville Land Trust Dow’s Prairie Educational Wetland U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Schoolyard Habitat. I am site liaison, restoration coordinator, and educational coordinator. My work is multifaceted as I
- maintain constant communication among the McKinleyville Land Trust, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and Dow’s Prairie Elementary School;
- organize invasive species removal with the Humboldt County sheriff’s office prison work crews and facilitate plant restoration;
- coordinate specialist educational guest lecturers in ecology, history, tribal cultural studies, art and more by choosing lecturers who fit within the grade level appropriate curriculum according to the Science and Core Content Standards for Public Schools;
- develop relationships within the community;
- gain support from local businesses, non-profits, county, state & federal agencies, local tribes, organizations, school & university groups, and community members;
- foster good public relations by authoring countless articles and press releases, and
- develop and maintain a budget, I have written and co-written numerous grants and funding proposals.With a team of Humboldt State University Natural Resource interns under my direction, I was the project originator and grant recipient, and I facilitated the creation of an indigenous peoples’ traditional use botanical area and a multilingual (Wiyot, Yurok & English) plant guide. The guides include local historic plants used for food, clothing, medicine and basket making by the Wiyot, Yurok, and other local tribes. During this process, I consulted with the Wiyot Cultural Directors and the Trinidad Rancheria Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Indian Education directors, local teachers, ethnobotanists, and many native plant experts in both restoration endeavors and indigenous plant use classification. This traditional plant use guide will be placed in local libraries and used by local teachers and Indian Education as the reference book for the McKinleyville Land Trust Dow’s Prairie Educational Wetland outdoor classroom…
However, with everything I have achieved and continue to accomplish at the McKinleyville Land Trust Dow’s Prairie Educational Wetland (to tell the truth) I actually did it for the ducks. With only about 5 percent of California’s original wetlands remaining, ducks and all creatures within their ecosystem need our help.
Ducks are amazing creatures. They are majestic, intelligent, sweet (and sometimes sweet and sour with orange sauce), and deadly. Ducks have killed more people than all wars combined! Ducks were responsible for the Spanish flu. Okay, maybe not their best work, but it just goes to show the impact they may have on human populations if their environments are polluted due to wetland habitat loss.
Regardless, if ducks are provided with a healthy habitat and wetlands across the planet continue to be restored, all creatures (including humans) will benefit.