Nurturing an Environmental Leader



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Eveny Mendoza is studying in the fields of sustainability and nature, because of her field trips and volunteer experiences in our science education programs.

 Back in her middle school days, Eveny Mendoza had no idea that a field trip would inspire her college path. She and her class departed on a bus from Escondido and came to visit San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve on the Pacific Coast.   

“It was the first time I had been here and I absolutely loved it,” shares Eveny. “I remember being led around the paths, seeing various bugs and animals that resided here. Those types of learning experiences are what helped me discover a love for volunteer work and nature, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

We met Eveny again when she was a student at San Pasqual High School, where she and her friend co-founded the school’s Environmental Club. For years, these passionate students have been our mentees in family programs, beach and park cleanups, and other experiences with the public. They are showing younger children how positive it can be to volunteer and inspire kids about nature’s magical ways.

This summer, Eveny is on college break, but spent time with us as a Volunteer Program Intern. She was the liaison between students at San Pasqual High School’s Environmental Club and led their participation in our Virtual Connections series this past spring and summer.

“Being in this internship and learning more about the nitty-gritty of volunteer work and how Nature Collective runs is fascinating to me, especially after researching better paths to equitable community engagement,” she adds. 

She reflects on her summer internship with us, saying “I think the best part would have to be reconnecting with the high school environmental club that my friend and I helped create. It’s been so rewarding to see how the club has grown and what they plan to do next!”

In a few weeks she’ll be heading back to begin her junior year at Dickinson College, a liberal arts school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she is double majoring in History and Environmental Studies.  

“Nature Collective has always inspired me to get closer to nature and do more for my community. I may not know what I plan to do in the future career-wise, but volunteering and interning here has only solidified my love for nature,” adds Eveny.

For all of you who invest your time, talents, and donations to Nature Collective, we share Eveny’s story as an inspiration. Your support makes a difference in the cultivation of emerging environmental leaders.  

Photo caption: Eveny Mendoza is pictured at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. 

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