From Redwoods to Mesquite, Dr. Rodrigo Sierra Corona Returns to the Desert

Dr. Rodrigo Sierra Corona with cattle on The Preserve. Photo by Serena Lasko. 

Dear residents, members, and colleagues,

During the last five years, we built a top-of-the-line Ecological Management Department, which redefined the Conservancy’s identity and solidified our value in the conservation community. This was the result of a collective effort, countless long days in the field and the office, and hard days under the sun, rain, and smoke. Most importantly, it was thanks to SLC’s resolute commitment to the maintenance and improvement of the Preserve’s ecological processes for years to come. February 10th will be my last day working for the Conservancy, and it has been a blast!

Thank you to the Preserve community for the good times, the hikes, the dinners, and of course, working with us to overcome the obstacles that inevitably arise when humans unite to lead a conservation project of this scale. Coming from the Chihuahuan Desert’s arid grasslands, I worked to understand our Central Coast ecosystems, their challenges, and how we navigate the present and future concerns posed by climate change. Our current Ecological Management Department is composed of passionate professionals who learn from one another and build on each other’s experience to produce the best possible outcomes for the land. The Conservancy’s dedicated staff is its most valuable component (yes, cows and Rue included), and without them, this wouldn’t be possible.

There are two people who profoundly influenced my journey here at the Conservancy. I’d like to recognize former Executive Director Christy Fischer for trusting me to help realize her vision of a Preserve-wide land management program, and Leslie Dorrance, a conservation rancher whose knowledge and passion for the land were inspirational. Working alongside people that wake up every morning thinking about how they can do better for the Earth than the previous day is truly uplifting. 

To our partners, from prescribed fire professionals to local ranchers and academic institutions, it has been a pleasure to collaborate and learn from you how to improve land management across ecosystems, man-made boundaries, and time scales longer than our own lives. 

I am leaving the redwoods to move to Tucson, Arizona, where I will be the Executive Director of Borderlands Restoration Network, a passion-driven conservation nonprofit working to restore the land, connect wildlife corridors, and improve local economies in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands. If you find yourself in the Southwest and want to go for a hike or bike ride, please reach out.

Sincerely,

Dr. Rodrigo Sierra Corona, Director of Ecological Management