The Nature Conservancy stewardship manager for Washington got her start in an AmeriCorps program.

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Randi Shaw

What do you do? I am the stewardship manager for The Nature Conservancy in Washington — also known as my dream job. I work with a team of field staff around the state to protect The Conservancy’s preserves: a range of amazing places including shrub steppe, estuaries, prairies, islands and forests.

How did you get started in that field? I started off in an AmeriCorps program, working outside on habitat restoration projects in communities around Puget Sound. The thrill of getting to do something with my hands to improve our natural world and work with people to do it was irresistible, so I kept “trying it out” — for the next 15 years!

In that time, I managed restoration projects, ran a conservation corps and eventually went to graduate school for forestry and sustainable resource management. All of these experiences have come to be extremely useful for my current work with nature and people across the state.

(Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy)
(Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy)

What’s a typical day like? My day can take me deep into our preserves or deep into my email … a lot of what I do is make it possible for our staff in the field to get their hard work done. This can mean developing strategy, coordinating with our partners, meeting with people in the communities around our lands … I find, though, that I can always find a reason to be outside, and I love that we have so many places I can choose from to get out to.

What surprises people about what you do? Sometimes I think it surprises people that I am the one doing it! I’m proud to be a woman of color working in field-related environmental work at a leadership level. Really, all kinds of people and perspectives are crucial to our work out on the land, and it’s the coolest thing ever to work at a place that believes this, too.

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