Alicia Watras has been heavily involved as a volunteer with The Nature Conservancy in Washington ever since she signed up in July 2014 and almost immediately joined us at our first annual Passport to Port Susan Bay event. Since then she has been actively supporting our mission in a variety of ways, including as an active member of the Conservation Ambassadors, a regular Gratitude Team caller, and by contributing to a host of office projects and work parties on our preserves.
Aside from her passion for conservation Alicia holds an MBA from the University of Washington and is an avid rock climber.
We recently asked Alicia to give us her thoughts on volunteering with The Nature Conservancy, and here's what she had to say:
The Nature Conservancy: What inspired you to start volunteering with The Nature Conservancy?
Alicia Watras: The global, science-based, and collaborative approach that TNC takes for protection of biodiversity, healthy environments for people and animal, and maintaining some wild lands inspired me to volunteer some of my energy and time to help further the cause.
Various volunteering opportunities I have enjoyed include restoration projects led by environmental scientists, spreading awareness about TNC and environmental issues through tabling at special events, and office work in the Seattle location. Examples:
- Planting cottonwood in Fisherman Slough where there was an overview of the history of the project and the objectives of our volunteer efforts
- Representing TNC and taking part in the Big Tent Event in Olympia
- Taking notes for an in-person meeting of different, international Reef Resilience TNC scientists and coordinators
I enjoy projects where I can see progress occurring or –as the progress achieved is not tangible in some cases or in early stages of enormously-scoped projects- at least see a practical efforts in action!
TNC: What's your favorite thing to do when you're not volunteering?
AW: Backpacking in National Parks.
TNC: Who is your environmental hero?
AW: One is Jane Goodall. Among others include the many TNC employees and volunteers that I have met!
TNC: Is there anything you would like to see The Nature Conservancy doing that we are not already doing?
AW: In the PNW: a monumental, organized, collaborative effort to remove English Ivy and other invasive plant species. I volunteered at Chuckanut Island removing ivy and hope to volunteer for the same event next year in the aim to eventually free the island of ivy so that indigenous plant species can recover and also support the animal life there. There are many other places in Washington where I would like to help remove ivy and help a greater variety of plant life get a chance at growing. I would love to be part of a cross-organizational, multi-decade-long, concerted effort across the PNW to control the continuing spread of ivy.