It’s not often that an organizationgets the chance to welcome someone back to the team – which makes it all the more exciting to announce to you thisgreatnews: Heather Freemanhas returned to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust staff as our new Philanthropy Manager!

Heather with her dogs

Heather in the Tungsten Hills with her two dogs.

Those of you who have been with us for many years will likely remember Heather from her original position as our Membership & Office Coordinator, a roleshe filled from 2009-2012.She left ESLTto further develop her marketing and design skills, as well as start her own company, Wild Onion Creations– where she handcrafts tote bags, scarves, and other accessories printed with beautiful Eastern Sierra images.

Now that her product lines are up and running, she has returned to the ESLT team part-time to assist with important membership, fundraising, and community outreachevents.
I recently spoke withHeather to get to know her betterand learn more about her background.
Where are your roots?

I’m from Ventura County in southern California. Other than going to college in Arizona, California has always been my home.

So what brought you to the Eastern Sierra?

My husband and I were spending more and more weekends driving up to enjoy the Eastern Sierra, so we finally decided to move here to spend less time driving and more time enjoying all the great outdoor recreation opportunities this area offers. His grandparents brought him camping in this area during the summers when he was young, and so he had a strong connection to the area – which he then shared with me, as we visited many of those same places together. We’ve lived in Bishop for almost 10 years now.

What do you love most about living in this area?

The wide open spaces to explore in many different forms, whether it be on foot, off-roading, biking, or snowboarding. Enjoying four real seasons and all the changes that go along with them is quite a treat, coming from southern California. And after this hot summer, I’m really looking forward to some cooler weather the fall will soon usher in!

Do you have a favorite spot on the Eastside?

I spend quite a bit of time up Bishop Creek Canyon walking my dogs or exploring for great photo ops. Bodie ghost town is also a favorite place of mine. I’m fascinated with imagining what life must have beenlike back in its heydey, and try to keep that in mind when I’m cold in the winter or cleaning all the dust out of my house!

Where does your interest in conservation stem from?

Growing up in Ventura County, I’ve watched a lot of prime agricultural land be developed and it is something that makes me sad every time I return tothe area. I think the loss of connecting people with where our food comes from has possibly allowed that to happen – and I now realize how important it is to our communities to keep our fertile fields producing healthy foods and maintain access to wide open, natural landscapes. Enjoying those places has been really integral to my lifestyle, and I’m excited to return to ESLT to help strengthen the great programs in place thatconserve these incredible wild and working lands. I feel it is important to make sure that future generations get access to those same experiences.

As Philanthropy Manager, you’ll be focusing onadvancing ESLT’s donordevelopment programs and keeping in touchwith our members. What do you look forward to most about this role?

Working with all the great people that ESLT attracts! Members, staff, board members, volunteers, landowners, partners it has been a pleasure to get to know and work with all the people involved with ESLT’s missiontoconserve land and ways of life in this region. I most look forward to continuing those relationships and developing new ones as we work together to fund and grow the important programs in place. I hope you’ll stop by the office and say ‚Äòhi’ or attend an upcoming event to give us the chance to get reacquainted, and so that I canmeet those of you I haven’t had the chance to get to knowyet!

Heather and Wild Onion

Heather manning her Wild Onion Creations booth at Bodie Day.