For our June Volunteer spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to a volunteer who’s seen all of our preserves… but hasn’t necessarily visited all of them in person! Susan Bernstein has been volunteering every Tuesday with our Marketing team on photo management for over a year.
Read below to learn more about how she supports our visual story-telling and why she volunteers!
The Nature Conservancy: What is your volunteer role? Do you volunteer anywhere else?
Susan Bernstein: For over a year now I’ve been helping to move the Washington chapter’s image archive to a cloud-based service (the Photo Vault). The goal is to make a curated collection of interesting and useful photos, mostly taken for The Conservancy by professional and volunteer photographers, available to and easily searchable by staff.
Over the years I’ve volunteered with other Nature Conservancy groups, including Eastern Conservation Science and the Global Marine Team.
TNC: Where are you from? How long have you been living in Seattle?
SB: I’m from Montreal, and have dual Canadian and American citizenship. My husband and I moved to Seattle from the Boston area in 2005 in order to live in the west, where we had always loved to travel. What a great move!
TNC: Anything about your career or schooling you would like to share?
SB: For many years I enjoyed a stimulating career with one of the Internet’s originators in Cambridge, Massachusetts, doing programming, product development, and consulting in network and educational technologies. My undergraduate days were spent at McGill University, graduate years at Columbia. I began my professional life as an educational research psychologist.
TNC: What inspired you to start volunteering with The Nature Conservancy?
SB: Originally, I was seduced by the beautiful ecoregional maps made by the science team back east, and volunteered to help. At the time I was really interested in land conservation. As I learned more about biodiversity, freshwater, and oceans, I continued to find ways to work with The Conservancy. Here in Seattle, being able to focus on Washington State interests me.
TNC: What's your favorite thing to do when you're not volunteering?
SB: My husband and I like to take road trips. When we moved here, we decided that we’d visit every one of Washington’s 39 counties, which I think we’ve finally accomplished. We hike, discover geological features, visit wineries and power generators and university campuses, learn a lot, have fun.
TNC: How does volunteering make you feel?
SB: Useful. I really appreciate opportunities to use and extend my skills and knowledge to support conservation. Interacting with folks in the Seattle office is stimulating, as is learning more about Conservancy projects in Washington.
TNC: What is your favorite Nature Conservancy preserve or project?
SB: I’m not sure I could pick a favorite. Ramsey Canyon Preserve in southern Arizona is a treasure. Closer to home, I love hiking the Bluff Trail at Ebey’s Landing in any season.