By Makayla Freed, Pepperwood’s GrizzlyCorps Fellow
If we haven’t already met, my name is Makayla and I am Pepperwood’s new GrizzlyCorps fellow. What is GrizzlyCorps? You may ask… GrizzlyCorps is a new California-based AmeriCorps program that was developed at UC Berkeley. Launched in 2020, GrizzlyCorps aims to give college graduates experience with regenerative agriculture and/or forest resilience, all while benefiting communities and organizations.
After having volunteered, interned, and worked at Pepperwood for several years, I was lucky enough to be selected to join the Research & Preserve Management team as their GrizzlyCorps fellow—a position that runs from mid-September through July 2022. I am excited to use the skills I’ve gained from previous work I’ve been involved with at Pepperwood (Wildlife Picture Index cataloguing, forestry work with the Ackerly lab of UC Berkeley, etc.), to assist the team in various projects. Specifically, I’ll be taking on responsibilities associated with the phenology project, restoration work, and forest monitoring…lots and lots of forest monitoring.
Thus far, my time at Pepperwood has included a great deal of forest work (as previously mentioned), some much-appreciated data entry (a great way to give the body a break), and the occasional poison oak rash as a lovely reminder of places I’ve been. All jokes aside, I am learning a LOT and am working with some truly wonderful people who have served as excellent mentors. I am very grateful to be a part of such an exceptional team and organization. The folks at Pepperwood have been nothing but gracious and inspiring, and I continue to pinch myself to be sure this is all really happening. I first stepped foot on the preserve almost exactly five years ago and never could have imagined what the people, the experiences, and the land have come to mean to me.
Now, back to the forest I go!