Spending time in the country with my aunt and uncle in a cabin with no electricity or running water was one of my most memorable parts of my childhood summers. Following the creeks through the oak woodlands, milking goats, gardening, and autonomous exploration were part of that experience that helped shape my passion for the outdoors and nature.
My passion for science and the outdoors manifested itself in a degree in zoology/ pre-veterinary sciences from Arizona StateUniversity, and then onto graduate school at Washington State University. But my work with animals had grown into a love of the outdoors and studying wildlife populations- in particular endangered species.
Moving to the Methow Valley in 1998 became my full circle: wildlife and the diverse habitat in which we are all a part of, gardening, raising a family, and learning from a beautiful community of people. Over the last 19 years, I've had the opportunity to work as the Wildlife Area Manager for WA State Fish and Wildlife, grow the North Cascades Basecamp and Ecology Center programs as a business with my husband, and work as a research biologist with Pacific Biodiversity Institute.
Together these experiences remind me of our interconnectedness to the earth, our community, and our children!
As a child, I rose early and would visit my 80 year old neighbor who taught me about morning dew and rutabagas. Growing up in New Jersey, the Garden State, my Dad always grew a big garden which I helped in. I have always felt at peace in the garden.
Getting my BA at The Evergreen State College I studied art but also attended the California School of Herbal Studies for 6 months. After a sojourn to the San Juan Islands monitoring Peregrine Falcons my husband and I found our way to the Methow in 1991. We lived 12 miles up the Twisp River working full time with two master gardeners on their market garden for four years.
Since then I have had my own large gardens, raised three children and grown garlic commercially. I also started the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery and I am a studio potter. I volunteer at Red Shed and have volunteered at Classroom in Bloom for the last year. It is a real joy for me to work with children in the garden, to see them connect with nature, with the food they eat and see how proud and excited they are when they harvest and share food with their peers!
I am excited to continue to be a part of Classroom In Bloom and to help remind humanity of our connection to the Earth we live in and how it sustains us in a beautiful way.
My love for the outdoors was swiftly cultivated by my Czech parents who, having been in America only five years by the time I came around and eager to explore their new home, swaddled me up in a blanket, fired up the old Chevy Nova, and adventured with me and my young brothers all around the backroads of northern California. Those early days of camping, hiking, swimming, and elsewise running amuck in nature took root in my wee soul and I knew early on that a life without nature is no life at all.
After a profoundly inspiring experience at Outdoor Ed in the fifth grade, I was driven to pursue education as a means of enticing people to care about the natural world. I majored in Environmental Education at UC Santa Cruz and I think I am in the minority when I say that I still use my undergrad degree to this day. Upon graduation, my twenties were filled with all sorts of experiences working and living in the wilderness and on farms, overseas exploring my parents' homeland, and back to the redwood forest working as a naturalist at the outdoor school where it all began. Those travels cultivated many a skill in me and while I am proud of my degree I am equally proud of the fact that I can shear sheep, talk your ear off about cheese, make herbal medicine, milk a goat like nobody's business, and make a mean saute of curried celeriac.