SOLVE’s Green Teams had an awesome year with Gina and Charlie. We are sad to see them go, but thrilled that they are continuing to instill love for the environment in our future generations at the Teton Science School in Wyoming. Your creativity, energy, enthusiasm and heart will be remembered. The students and native plants say thank you for your hard work and vision! As Dr. Seuss wrote:
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!
On that note, we’d like to welcome the new faces of Green Team serving with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, Lauren McKenna and Nicole Poletto!!! They are pumped to get to know all the Green Teams and work toward restoring the Oregon’s natural habitat (invasives, you’re going down!). Below they’ve each shared their journey to SOLVE. Welcome aboard!
Thanks, Portland, for welcoming me with sunny skies and 100 degree weather! I hail from the (almost) equally warm and sunny Claremont in southern California, the “City of Trees and Ph.D.’s”. I grew up along the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, only to find myself by the beach at Loyola Marymount University where I studied Environmental Science and Studio Arts. While there, I interned with the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, doing baseline surveys in the degraded Ballona Wetlands. Being near the ocean also meant lots of beach cleanups and lots of time to reflect on how marine debris is a representation of our consumerist society. Which is what organizations like SOLVE are trying to change! After graduating in 2011, I headed to the lovely Tacoma, Washington, for my first year of Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. There, I built relationships and celebrated life with adults with developmental disabilities at a beautiful community called L’Arche. I love the Northwest and its natural heritage, clouds, photography, being silly, hugs, art, dogs, live music, hiking, trees, kayaking, rain… and I am stoked to meet and spend time with the Westside Green Teams, learning about and restoring our sacred waterways!
I am from San Diego, California, born and raised, and am incredibly excited to be working with SOLVE as a Jesuit Volunteer! This is my first time in the Northwest and I continue to be astounded by its beauty and greenery every day. Growing up as a competitive ice skater and living near the beach, I was surrounded by water in all of its states. I developed a passion for all types of waterways and honed my interests at Villanova University, outside of Philadelphia, where I graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in Environmental Science, a Concentration in Peace and Justice, and a minor in German. At Villanova, I was the Medallion Recipient for Academic Excellence in the Environment and worked as a Teacher’s Assistant for the Department of Geography and the Environment. Through the Service Break Experience program I traveled to Costa Rica to restore local mangrove forests and protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtle. I had an amazing opportunity to intern with WWF: World Wildlife Fund in Vienna, Austria and also completed an REU at the University of North Carolina: Institute of Marine Sciences. I spent my senior year creating a heavy metal pollution history of the Delaware River Estuary for my senior research thesis to determine direct anthropogenic effects on our waterways. I love being outdoors, sticking my toes in the sand and watching the sunset. I am especially excited to roll up my sleeves and continue to improve the health of streams everywhere (but specifically the streams on the East Side of the Willamette)!