Hillary in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Hello! My name is Hillary Behr and I am the new AmeriCorps member for 2011. I am taking over the wonderful work that Sarah Spano did last year and am the fifth AmeriCorps member at ESLT.

I am originally from New Hampshire and drove out to Bishop in December to start my AmeriCorps training. I am very happy to be back in the Eastern Sierra, a place that I got to know in 2009 while working as an Outdoor Educator for the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining. I learned about ESLT during that time, have had this opportunity in the back of my mind ever since then, and am excited that it has finally been realized.

My interest in land conservation began with an undergraduate course while getting my B.S. in Environmental Conservation at the University of New Hampshire and grew when my family put a conservation easement on our farm and forest land in New Hampshire. The land where I grew up is close to my heart, and being able to see it preserved in perpetuity is very important to me. It puts my mind at ease to know that it will continue to be productive farmland, a source of clean water, important wildlife habitat, and beautiful scenery even as it changes hands to the next generation of my family. I look forward to being part of an organization that helps landowners in the Eastern Sierra achieve these goals with their land and to learning more about the work of this land trust.

The AmeriCorps position at ESLT appealed to me because I will get to acquire a wide range of new skills by doing a little bit of everything. I love teaching and am excited to share our office, garden, and lands with both children and adults and to help people learn about and connect to the natural world that they live in. I look forward to assisting our Lands Program Coordinator, Aaron, with annual monitoring of our conservation easements and learning more about stewardship and landowner relations. Other exciting projects on this year’s agenda are monitoring the Apache Silverspot Butterfly population found on one of our preserved lands and restoring habitat for the Owens Speckled Dace, a native fish we plan to re-introduce on one of the properties. I will also be recruiting volunteers and coordinating our volunteer program, and am excited to meet and work with our dedicated volunteers! So, as you can see, I will be very busy this year educating our community about the work of ESLT and the benefits of conserving vital lands in the Eastern Sierra.

I feel very fortunate to be able to give a year of service to Eastern Sierra Land Trust and the community and lands of the Eastern Sierra. I look forward to learning everything I can about the work of the land trust, the local community, and the wild places of the Sierra.

I look forward to meeting all of you over the phone, in the office, or hopefully out on the land!

Exploring the Sierra near Duck Pass