Just shy of her one-year anniversary with Cottonwood Institute, Program Director Katie Vega has already made her mark on this organization, spearheading the creation of multiple new programs and constantly evaluating the ways we can address the needs of the communities we serve. Get to know Katie (and her constant companion/relentless Zoombomber Penny) in our latest CI Staff Profile!
You can read the rest of our staff and board profiles here.
Why is environmental education important to you?
To me, EE is a combination of the sciences I learned in school and my experiences relating to the world (people, places, and animals). EE in school helped me understand the scale and complexity of life and how I’m part of something much greater than myself. EE from a Native perspective is urging me to learn how to be in right relationship with the world. It’s so important to learn how our world works and how our individual lives are intertwined with all life on this planet. EE helps us realize that we have the power to destroy or protect our world. If we start thinking and acting as part of a collective, we can change the trajectory of our future for the better.
Do you have a formative memory of when you learned to love the outdoors?
I can remember being at the park all the time as a kid. I was lucky enough to live right across the street from Lincoln Park in LA so my parents would take me to the playground, we’d feed the ducks (and run from the geese), I’d ride my bike, we’d race on the grass, and we’d go swimming at the pool in the summer. There wasn’t a single day I’d come back home without scraped knees.
How have you been staying connected to the outdoors during COVID?
My daily dose of the outdoors comes from my neighborhood walks with my boxer Penny. She has a way of literally sitting on me to ask to go outside. When I have a bit more free time, I hike at Golden Gate Canyon Park, camp in BV, and take Penny to Cherry Creek Dog Park to get her zoomies out. If you couldn’t tell, my life kinda revolves around Penny ????
What’s an unusual skill people might not know you have?
I know how to strip roses and wire orchids to make boutonnieres and corsages!
What’s your favorite snack to eat in the woods?
Ooo it’s a tie between wasabi almonds and Rocky Mountain Provisions Indulgent Bliss Trail Mix.
If you didn’t work for Cottonwood, what do you think you’d be doing?
Hm, I’d probably be an entrepreneur working remote from Bermuda, Costa Rica, and/or Vietnam.
Thanks to Katie for her contributions!
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