[Editor’s note: Rebekah’s name was spelled incorrectly in the print version of this article. We deeply regret this error! Her name has been corrected for the online version.]
I joined the Northcoast Environmental Center when I was nearing the end of my studies at Humboldt State University. As a journalism major focusing on environmental communication, my experience at NEC not only provided an opportunity to practice environmental writing, it helped me stay committed to my passion for protecting the earth.
From January 2016 to June 2018, I helped EcoNews Editor Morgan Corviday publish EcoNews by writing stories, helping with layout, and proofreading content. While still a student, I also served as the editor of HSU’s student-run newspaper and magazine, and after graduating worked at North Coast Co-op in the
My favorite task at NEC was proofreading EcoNews content in the office on the weekends, because it gave me the opportunity to connect with volunteers who dedicated time from their busy lives to help make EcoNews as polished as it could be. It’s always fun seeing input from others, and each time I felt like I was part of something that was truly making a difference.
Another aspect of EcoNews that impressed me was how the NEC provides other environmental organizations in the area—such as Humboldt Baykeeper, Zero Waste Humboldt, and EPIC—their own pages in the paper to share their own content. I appreciated the cooperation and encouragement each organization had for one another.
This past October, I did what I never thought I would do: move out of Arcata! I relocated to Petaluma, and spent the whole drive south fretting that I would not be able to find a job for a company that cared about the environment, or at least in the non-profit sector. Thankfully, I was hired as the Communications Manager for Turtle Island Restoration Network, an ocean conservation and advocacy non-profit headquartered in Olema. In addition to protecting sea turtle nesting beaches worldwide and advocating for international marine protected areas, Turtle Island Restoration Network restores habitat for endangered Coho salmon in Marin County. A lot of the work involves raising and planting native plants, including rewilding lands that once supported forests of redwood trees.
In my current position, I recently received a letter that hundreds of organizations had signed in support of the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2018. The legislation would help protect and restore America’s native wildlife and create more resilient landscapes by establishing wildlife crossings on federal public lands, as well as provide funding for states, tribes, and other entities to enhance habitat connectivity.
When I scanned the list to ensure Turtle Island Restoration Network was included, I was excited and a little bit surprised to see the Northcoast Environmental Center had signed the letter as well. Perhaps it never occured to me while I was pouring over EcoNews pages in the NEC office that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of small, grassroots organizations all over the nation who all support the same thing: the protection of our planet. The fact that there are people and organizations all over the world that are raising awareness about our relationship to the earth, who are willing to work together toward common goals, and that have supporters who believe in the work they are doing is why I am fully committed to advocating for better protections for our environment.
No matter if I am decorating protest signs or fact-checking the latest newsletter, I will always have the NEC to thank for keeping me on the path to being a steward of the earth. If you ever get the chance to intern or spend time as a volunteer with the NEC, I can guarantee you will feel the same. Thanks, NEC!
Do you know a former NEC intern, work-study student, volunteer, or employee who continued on an environment-related path after leaving the NEC? Contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.