A Sit Down with The National Wildlife Federation: Kristy Jones and Liz Soper

The Town Haul


Everyone and welcome to another episode of the town hall as all move forward we have been stuck for like two and a half months now and it's really weird time in history but the town hall is staying dedicated to telling really important sustainability stories. And we're lucky. We get some really massive brands. This episode is one of those lucky ones. Today I'm actually joined by two guests. Jones enlisted were from National Wildlife Federation earlier in the year. Rubicon was named the official sustainability and tech partner for recycle mania of the competition under the management of the NWF but will get into all of that and enlists. Thank you both so much for being here today I've only done multiple jest episodes like once or twice so let's just establish a little bit of water for answering some of the questions. Honest truth besides my husband and my dog youtube or the only people. I've interacted with today so I'm a little over all of us to bumble words over each other so Liz let's start with you. Tell me a bit about your role at. Nwf A little bit about your professional time line and how you can got to where you are and then in that time line or in your story what do you think sparked passion for environmental sustainability in in Christie. You're on deck and I'd love to know the same free. We'll start with this. I am the director of Pre K. To twelve education for National Wildlife Federation. I have actually end with the fedaration for most of my career. I'm going into my twenty four th year and I really started off in a regional office and did a lot of regional education work and for the last eleven years have been focusing my efforts and the national level And really pushing forward the work that we do with schools and other informal education opportunities and community My background actually. My undergraduate degree was in wildlife biology and forestry and I started off as a wildlife biologist but Kinda fun interesting fact is I found. I had a lot more fun topping and and I feel like I made a bigger impact talking with people within the community that I was doing my research in collecting data. You know like the nighttime Barstool chat where we were talking about. Grizzly Bear Habitat. And what it meant to you know Maintain and keep that habitat healthy and the ways people get involved so that that's somewhat how I moved from that into education and got my masters in education at in Oregon And then pretty much. Except for one other job with The Lake Champlain Basin Program doing watershed education. I've been working for WF And you know my my passion for this work. I I think really stems back from my childhood. I was lucky enough to spend every single summer and a place called a Greensboro Vermont which is in North East Kingdom of Vermont on Kathy Lake. It was my grandparents Cabin and my parents would just throw out the door every morning We'd be gone all day with the catching crayfish and swimming at night. We'd be catching lightning bugs and watching a shooting stars with my grandparents and it just it set the stage for my wanting to be able to pass this Passion for Nature and the environment and to also protect loved that Christie Europe. Sure yeah so I have been with National Wildlife Federation for several years as well. I think I'm going on. I started in two thousand three at National Wildlife Federation. So I guess I'm going on my sixteenth seventeenth year. I've worked in higher education program so I manage higher education programmes at National Wildlife Federation working with colleges and universities working with them to help them advance their efforts on campus Sustainability Renewable Energy Waste Reduction Habitat Restoration Green purchasing that sort of thing. And I've I've done that since the entire time I've been at NWS We also in our program here. We also help college students. Young professionals develop leadership skills and also learn more about career opportunity so career development to learn what their opportunities are in conservation field or their opportunities are in learning about sustainability and sustainability skill. So they can bring that to whatever a career field sector. They choose to go into after they finish school. So I believe you know similar to Liz. I grew up outdoors playing all the time spending all day in the summertime that we would be out as soon as the sun was up and become home. You know. As soon as it was starting to get dark I grew up camping. You know we would go to the closest national park to win where we grew up was Shenandoah National Park here in Virginia and I still live in this area in that area. So we we go to the park all the time. It's beautiful and so I take my little girl there as well So just growing up. We spent a Lotta time outdoors. I really enjoyed seeing wildlife and spending time and hiking and going to the beach and searching for seashells and that sort of thing when I graduated college. Actually a little bit. Before I graduated college I went on a trip to Andros Island. The Bahamas in it's a family island in the Bahamas and I went to a field station their biological field station and that is where I spent the next six years of my life. After College I worked at the field station. I worked with college. Students and high school high school students helping down learn about ecology and learning field skills in that type of thing and that really helped me really understand value of hands on learning. So you know whenever you education as you know there's sitting in the classroom and learning there is value to that there's also value to being out in the field learning skills. You know the experiential part of that and so. When after that after I left the field station I worked for nonprofit for a little bit in the environmental security sector and that really looked at conflict around natural resources so water timber diamonds was another example and that that was looking at conflicts most likely outside the US. And then. When I started looking for a new opportunity I was really attracted to. Nwf's education programs. We have a very large education program. National Wildlife Federation engaging. Little kids all the way up through adults and so that is kind of what got me hooked at. Nwf and applied for a job on the campus sustainability team. And so I've been here since two thousand three. That's awesome okay so I will let you guys now kind of feel these answer. You know whoever wants to answer white and build upon each other's responses in we're going to focus a lot on education recycle mania but you know the. Nwf Is a massive umbrella brand for a lot of different environmental conservation causes. So I did want to do a little bit of background about the mission. You know the strategic plan the six pillars of what makes the NWF and then we can get into the specs of the educational programs so whoever wants to field kind of the overall NWF mission answer can A. I'll go again and you know the midst of NWF is really to unite ensure that wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world and There's no doubt in all of our minds and these days that our world is rapidly changing whether it's with this pandemic Like we're facing right now or the pack that more than one third of Americans. Fish and wildlife are at risk for extinction or the climate crisis. And of course all of these impacts what the impacts are on any of our marginalized communities so you recently. I just wanted to mention this because I think it's really important and it really sets the stage who I believe. Nwf is particularly right now and our it was CEO Calling Amarah who recently said that we need to be leading this charged with compassion. You know during this time because this pandemic is clearly showing that men. There are many structural inequalities in our societies such as access to clean water food healthcare or the

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