What forces, events, or inﬂuences in your life inspired you to become a conservationist: As a kid, my grandparents used to take me in their trailer to Texas state parks. I grew up in the drier central part of the state and especially relished the times they would take me to the pine-forested eastern part. It was fun to explore that foreign landscape. Fast-forward many years later after a high school and college career spent mostly indoors. I was applying for jobs post-college hoping to promote democracy around the world or something. But I couldn’t buy a job. Meanwhile, in the back of my mind was a lecture given to me by an anthropology professor several semesters before. He basically laid out the problem of global warming. At the end, he said something like “When you come to realize how major the problem is, you’ll know what to do.” This inspired me to try and change my life in a way that was less environmentally harmful. My plan b after college was to join an environmental Americorps position merely to learn more about the issues since I knew so little. Without any job prospects, I enrolled in the now-defunct Northwest Service Academy in Portland, OR. It started out as a drudgery - hacking brambly plants out of the ground. Somewhere along the way, though, I had my first backpacking trip and changed forever. I visited beautiful, lush places in the midst of snow-capped volcanoes. With that position over, I knew I wanted to extend my outdoor service, but in the service of people. So I joined the Montana Conservation Corps as a Youth Crew Leader. That was a different challenge altogether, but the mixture of epic landscapes (and wildlife) and connection with others made for an invaluable experience. Since then, I’ve had a mission to expose others to the transformative power of nature.