2022 Crew Leaders
Daisy Torres (she/her) grew up in the town of Lakeville, Connecticut, where she enjoyed spending her free time hiking and exploring the area’s lakes, rivers and forests. Her love of nature inspired her to pursue a degree in Environmental Science & Policy at Chapman University. Daisy’s interest in habitat restoration stemmed from volunteering with local organizations and doing independent research on mangrove habitats while studying abroad in Costa Rica. Throughout college, she led volunteer events focused on restoring the Upper Newport Bay, one of the last remaining coastal wetlands in southern California. After graduating in 2020, Daisy moved to Seattle and joined EarthCorps as a Crew Member in 2021.
“I decided I wanted to pursue jobs in habitat restoration because I can’t imagine doing anything else. Now, more than ever, we are surrounded by hard truths concerning the negative impacts humans have on the natural world, and my desire to reduce those impacts has become a dominant force in my life. Working for EarthCorps has allowed me to get my hands dirty and do the work that I not only enjoy, but believe in, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to see just how much a few people can accomplish after a day of restoration work. This year, I’m looking forward to enhancing my understanding of Pacific Northwest ecology, and I am especially excited to learn more about the various plant communities that we work in.”
Emma Gousset (she/her) calls Tupelo, Mississippi home. Growing up, she spent most of her time outdoors climbing trees and playing in the woods. Connecting with nature has always been an escape for her, and over the years she has developed a love for hiking, kayaking, and camping. Though she graduated with a degree in healthcare, she decided to pursue her passion for environmentalism and dedicate herself to learning more about the natural world and the role humans play in protecting it.
“In times of uncertainty and hardship, I always find myself being drawn to nature to see what it can teach me about my own life—I think that is why restoration is so appealing to me. I can’t wait to bond with the amazing community at EarthCorps and build new memories together.”
Kenna Ryan (she/her) calls the land of sky blue waters, Minnesota, home. Her background in environmental work has been focused around plant ecology, restoration, and community engagement. She most recently interned for Joshua Tree National Park in their Science and Resource Stewardship branch. She has previously interned working with plants in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, been a research assistant in an organic horticulture lab working with fruit flies and berries, and worked as a naturalist at an environmental learning center leading hikes and classes related to environmental themes for youth.
“My interest in working in the environmental field stems from being deeply curious about the world around me and realizing that I love working outdoors and with my hands. I came to EarthCorps to be a part of a community of people involved in land stewardship. I’m excited to build community and learn alongside others.”
Madeleine Nawrocki (she/her) considers Erie, PA home. She grew up as a very much “outside kid” which led her to a 3-year stint as a summer camp counselor and then pursuing a degree in Environmental Science.
“I have always loved playing in the dirt and learning about natural/ecological systems – paired with my desire to work in restoration. EarthCorps felt like the perfect fit. I am so excited to grow, learn, and change as a person in this beautiful community.”
Maya Bernstein (she/her) grew up in the suburbs of St. Paul, MN where the many public greenspaces and lakes sparked her interest in nature. Maya graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2020 with a dual degree in Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies. After completing her degree, she moved back to the land of 10,000 lakes where she served as a Crew Lead for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota’s Youth Outdoors program. As a crew leader, she led both fellow young adults and youth in restoration work for the city of St. Paul’s Parks and Rec Department. There she learned her love of working outdoors, even when getting chainsaw training in below single digit temperatures.
“I first became interested in the environment growing up playing in the woods in my backyard and exploring my grandparents 80 acres farm in the driftless area of Southern Minnesota. I am most excited about learning more about native plants and animals of the PNW. I am also looking forward to building connections with other people who are interested in protecting natural resources and green spaces both in EarthCorps and the communities they serve.”
Sabrina Brittain (she/her) calls Royersford, Pennsylvania her home. With a background in art, Sabrina often looks to the beauty of nature as her subject matter. She enjoys spending time outdoors, from hiking mountains to growing a vegetable garden.
“We’re constantly witnessing the harsh effects of climate change and human impact on the world’s ecosystems. I joined EarthCorps so I could gain the knowledge and skills needed to improve and restore environmental resilience. I hope to become more connected with the land while helping it thrive so that its beauty can be experienced by future generations.”
Benjamin Kihlman (he/him) calls Everett, WA home, he has not worked in Restoration before, but is excited for his first role in the field.
“What sparked my interest in the environment is going on hikes and taking my stepdaughter into nature and exploring our state.”
Blake Hudacek (he/him) grew up and still resides in Washington where he grew up in Seattle and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Education at Western Washington University. He has studied in the Channel Islands about wildlife ecology, learning about the various conservation efforts done to the flora and fauna of the Island of Santa Cruz. Blake also is an avid backpacker, snowboarder, backcountry skier, climber and downhill mountain biker. Most recently, he worked as a camp counselor for Heartwood Nature Camp conducting plant and animal identification classes with youth.
“Growing up with Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedar in my backyard, I have built a strong connection to the land, its history, and the endless opportunities we are so grateful to call home. Since I was a child, I have explored much of the forest around my cabin here in the Pacific Northwest. Building extravagant tree forts, trails, and stumbling upon the remnants of old-growth trees. The size of these decaying trunks were immense. I remember crawling inside of the hollowed out wood and climbing to the top of such massive stumps. These memories give me both an awakening reality of our history as well as a deeply rooted passion for natures’ beauty.”
Blake Slattengren (he/him) grew up in Kenmore, WA where he spent ample time running around the nearby trails of Saint Edwards State Park. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College, he spent time traveling and living abroad in New Zealand. Back in the Seattle area, Blake is excited to give back to the area that he grew up in.
“Growing up in the Seattle area, I think it’s easy to become excited about our natural environment with all the amazing parks, mountains, and green spaces nearby. I decided to come to Earth Corps because I wanted to learn restoration practices that I can take with me through my whole life and also wanted to give back to the area I grew up in. I am most excited about spending time outside and learning more about ecology in the Pacific Northwest.”
Cesar Villanueva (he/they) was born and raised in Homestead, Florida. They often visited the beautiful countryside of Guanajuato, Mexico, and fell in love with the agricultural lifestyle.
“I believe if you equip a community with the right skills and knowledge in environmental/agricultural preservation, we can foster community outreach and neighborhood resilience that will help us become more united. I have always been interested in how cities disrupt natural spaces and I knew I wanted to join EarthCorps when I read their mission statements on preserving the beautiful nature in Washington. During my year of service, I hope can develop life-changing leadership skills that will bring me closer to my goals of developing a program that will guide at-risk children towards supportive relationships with their community as they assume responsibility for their own futures.”
Emi Cramer (she/her) grew up in Utah where she fell in love with the mountains near her home and developed an appreciation for the great outdoors. After moving to Florida, she was able to work outdoors during summer camps and share her gratitude for the planet and marine wildlife. Emi calls Arizona her home now; she spends her time admiring the red rocks of Sedona when she is not in Seattle dedicating her time to EarthCorps.
“I have always been passionate about environmental conservation, even when I was in elementary school, I would dig the plastic water bottles out of the little school trash bins and put them in the recycle bin. EarthCorps is a great opportunity to get my hands in the dirt, and I am excited to be on the front lines of the restoration effort here in Seattle.”
Julia Michienzi (she/her) grew up in Minnesota where she took advantage of the many lakes in the summer and frequently frolicked through the heavy snows in the winter. She graduated in December 2021 from Purdue University with a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science focusing on water quality and environmental policy. Her recent involvement in volunteer work with wetlands and restoration projects has inspired her to move out to the PNW to learn more!
“I have always had a love for all things environment and I am especially passionate about how people and the planet can work and thrive together. I am so excited to be able to spend this next year working and learning from so many cool people who share a similar interest, and I hope to gain a more holistic approach to restoration work and environmentalism!”
Karina Fiscal (she/her) was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. After completing community college, she moved to Northern California to attend the University of California, Davis where she was majoring in Sociology-Organizational Studies. With no prior involvement in environmental work, her interest in ecological restoration occurred after speaking with an Earth Corps-alumni who spoke highly of the program. She was inspired by the work and goals the organization sets out and can’t wait to do her part to support the Puget Sound ecosystem’s health.
Kelin Doner (she/her) calls the Seattle, WA area home, where she grew up exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest outdoors. After studying biology in Portland, she spent some time traveling abroad before returning to her home state.
“I came to Earthcorps because I wanted to further connect with and help heal the land where I grew up. I am excited to spend time in the field with the other crew members this year!”
Mac Gregory (she/her) grew up in Tampa, FL but has felt very at home in Seattle, WA for the last year. She spent some time working and living in Yellowstone National Park where she realized her love for nature and the need to preserve it.
“The first place I lived after Florida was Yellowstone National Park (which I had never even heard of a few months before) and it really opened my eyes to how beautiful and different nature could be. I then started camping a lot and that just made me feel so connected to the Earth. I am most excited to restore natural plants and habitats in my very own local community!”
Michelle Henrksen (she/her) grew up in Franklin, Massachusetts but spent the last 6 years in the Rockies. Massachusetts and Colorado equally feel like home. Michelle spent her childhood in the forests of New England where she fell in love with nature. She is a hiker, snowboarder and bird enthusiast. She has spent time working at an urban greenhouse where her desire to learn more about plants and ecology grew.
“I have always loved being outside with the sights, smells, and sounds. I was lucky enough to meet someone who spoke so highly of EarthCorps, and it felt right to leave my bartending job for this opportunity. I’m excited to be more connected with the environment and work alongside like minded people.”
Natalie Hodis (she/her) developed her sense of stewardship at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountians, growing up with privileged access to the chaparral landscapes and oak forests of the Tongya and Kizh people. At Whitman College, she conducted research projects on insect behavior and chemical synthesis. After graduating with a B.A. in Biology (major), Chemistry and Art History (minors), she did research and development at an urban hydroponic farm in Seattle before joining the 2022 cohort. Natalie’s favorite conversation topics include restoration theory, soil conservation, myrmecology, and food sovereignty.
“I joined EarthCorps because everyone has a right to native local landscapes, especially in urban spaces where ecological restoration is a solution to heat islands, stormwater pollution, and over development. I am honored to be working with the land of the Duwamish, Suquamish, Stillaguamish, and Coast Salish Tribes to build ecologically sound biological corridors.”
Peter Forte (he/him) grew up in Berkeley, CA and went to school an hour north at Sonoma State University where he studied Environmental Studies and Planning with a concentration in Conservation and Restoration Studies. While at school worked for the school as a volunteer coordinator for urban restoration projects around Sonoma County. He also worked as a Garden Steward and Trail Steward developing skills in vegetation management and plant identification. After graduating, Peter worked as a farm hand for a small scale regenerative farm called Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, CA.
“As a kid, I was lucky to have folks around me like my parents, grandparents and other relatives that imbued me with a sense of responsibility for the world as well as how to be present in my experiences. I believe these ideas to be what guided me toward the work that EarthCorps does. Working with my hands and learning about all of the intricate details that our ecosystems have to show us gets me excited to go out each day into the field. I treasure all of the relationships one can build with a place and the people who call it home.”
Shanice Snyder (she/her) was born in Arizona and moved to Washington in 1999. Currently reside on Puyallup and Coast Salish lands, Tacoma. has volunteered a few times with Earth Corps before the pandemic hit. She also has been to clean up events and trail maintenance days with the WTA.
“It was always a good time when I would join the volunteer events Earth Corps put on. So when I saw that they were hiring for the new cohort in 2022 I knew it was the perfect opportunity! I’m excited to gain all the new experiences that are going to come with working with EC.”
Sophie Stephens (she/her) is from the Northwest Arkansas region, and spend most of her younger yearsout at state parks and around the Ozarks. She’s worked for youth camps in trail work and leadership, restaurants, and in retail. She’s excited to spend her gap year with EarthCorps!
I spent most of my childhood running around barefoot and playing every sport imaginable. My mom worked for a natural science youth outreach nonprofit in the Ozarks and my dad has always been a walking field guide for birds, plants, and trees. Something just felt right about joining this program and extending myself into that same type of work. I’m really excited for all of the camping trips coming up over the next couple months!