The 2022 Seasonal Restoration Crew. Photo by Jackson Brooke.
February 15, 2022
By Jackson Brooke, Restoration Manager
In 2019, the Conservancy launched its Grasslands Initiative after a rigorous assessment of the ecological health of The Preserve identified the 5,275 acres of grasslands as both an incredibly significant ecological asset and in dire need of restoration. The goals of the Initiative are to target the build up of thatch, manage encroaching weeds and brush, improve walter filtration, reduce wildfire risk, and recover grassland dependent indicator species.
In addition to our Conservation Grazing Program, we welcome a Seasonal Restoration Crew each year to help accomplish these objectives. They travel across The Preserve, field to field, removing invasive weeds so that natives can return in greater abundance. Primarily focusing on French broom, teasel, mustard, stinkwort, poison hemlock, thistles, and other species on our Zero Tolerance List, they will be able to see the direct impact of their work over the season.
Without further ado, meet our new Seasonal Restoration Crew!
Ellie Stoermer, Seasonal Restoration Crew Lead
Ellie grew up in the Pacific Northwest and received a B.S. in Terrestrial Ecology and a minor in GIS from Western Washington University. Between then and now, they’ve worked all over. They have interned with Audubon Dakota, serving coast to coast in two AmeriCorps terms doing fuels reduction in the west and river monitoring in the east, and most recently worked as a volunteer Biology Technician on Midway Atoll in the Pacific doing wildlife monitoring and habitat restoration. Ellie loves getting to know new places through their landscapes and plant communities and then taking what she learns with her. This season she’ll be leading the restoration crew in the field as they work to manage invasives on The Preserve.
Evany Wang, Seasonal Restoration Crew Member
Born and raised in sunny California, Evany developed a deep appreciation for all things natural, from the mountain tops to the ocean floor. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but has felt that her talents and passion lie more in conservation and engaging others to enjoy the natural environment with her. After graduating, Evany became a certified dog groomer before completing two AmeriCorps terms along the West Coast. There, she learned restoration methods and plant identification, as well as community engagement and environmental education. Now, Evany is back in California to start the field season with the Santa Lucia Conservancy’s restoration crew! Her hobbies include tabletop games, scuba diving, and camping.
Jane Weichert, Seasonal Restoration Crew Member
While earning a BS in Ecology and Evolution and a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Jane worked in a coastal prairie soil lab studying how droughts affected invasive species survival. Now that she has joined the Santa Lucia Conservancy Restoration Crew, Jane is excited to help remove and manage invasive species on the Preserve. In her free time she enjoys backpacking, reading, and exploring.
Sophie Heny, Seasonal Restoration Crew Member
Born and raised on a small farm in Charlottesville, Virginia, Sophie has been deeply invested in conservation from an early age. She has carried this passion far and wide: from Vermont, where she received a BS in Environmental Science with a concentration in Conservation Biology and worked with invasive pests in an Agroecology and Evolution lab, to Mongolia, where she studied and published work on Daurian Pika rangeland interactions. Now in California, she is excited to dive headlong into the field season. In her free time, Sophie enjoys hiking for months and months, reading, and writing poetry.