All of us at Eastern Sierra Land Trust are excited to welcome Ryan Delaney to our team. For the next 11 months, Ryan will be serving our Sierra communities as our 2017/2018 Education Coordinator & AmeriCorps member.

Ryan comes to us throughtheSierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) a selective program organized by the Sierra Nevada Alliance thatplaces28 young leaders into conservation agencies and organizations throughout the Sierra Nevada each year. SNAP members like Ryan have been working with ESLT ever since the SNAP program began in 2009.

By focusingonwatershed restoration and monitoring, education, and volunteer support, Ryan will play an important role in connecting our community to the conservation work that you make possible.

Wondering about the path that brought Ryan to the Eastern Sierra? Here’s his story!

Only afew years ago, I was living in my home state of Montana, finishing up a B.S. degree in Resource Conservation. With my educational goals fulfilled, I knew I had to confront that looming question everyone had been asking: what will I do now? After 16 years of schooling, this was by far the toughest question to answer. Do I stay here, or do I leave everything I know behind?

While poring over my pros and cons list, I remembered my mother’s warning: if I don’t leave this town now, I’ll probably wind up here for good. Deciding I had much more exploring to do, I heeded her words and made plans for California.

Before moving from Montana, I served a summer AmeriCorps service term in Missoula with the Watershed Education Network. It was clear to me that education was something I was passionate about, so when I moved to Northern California, I began working as a natural science instructor for grade-schoolers. I loved every minute singing songs, playing games, and teaching about the local ecology. When the season came to an end, I knew I wanted to continue down this path of education.

Searching for my next teaching adventure, I landed a job in Lake Tahoe as the ski school coordinator at Homewood Ski Resort. I spent the winter making sureinstructors didn’t let their students “french fry” when they should be doing “pizza”. When the snow melted, I found myself serving a second AmeriCorps term of service with the American River Conservancy in Coloma, organizingmy very own field trips and nature camps for students.

With a few years of California living under my belt, I decided I was ready for another big change. Ever since I had left home, I had been hearing all kinds of stories about the Eastern Sierra. I heard of adventures through the sun-streaked mountains and purple skies. I heard rumors of wide-open country stretching for miles. And I heard tales of boulders bigger than the imagination. I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be.

After some serious job-hunting, I was fortunate to find Eastern Sierra Land Trust right here in Bishop, and am excited to join them as their new Education Coordinator. I feel incredibly lucky to have found such a wonderful organization in an awe-inspiring part of the country.

As my 11-month service term begins with ESLT, I look forward to sharing my passion for the natural world with the local community. When I’m not teaching kids about nature, I hope to be busy playing Spanish guitar, studying plants, and exploring this incredible landscape I now get to call home.

If you see Ryan around town or on the trails, please say hello and welcome him to the Eastside!