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Where I Belong.

Brian de la Cerda, Immersed in the Wild Coordinator; Wildplaces

I have this vivid memory of watching bats fly in the foreground of an incredible sun set over Jordan Peak here in Springville. The warm air was all I needed in that moment. I thought “God, this is where I belong.” I looked back down at the laptop and tapped my feet anxiously as I concluded my SNAP cover letter. It was the day before resumes were
brian1due and I had typed at least six different versions at that point. Self-doubt hovered over me until finally I thought “Well…what is it that you really want out of this opportunity?” So I wrote with every ounce of integrity and truth, not to the reader but to myself. It wasn’t until typing the very last sentence that I knew what I wanted to do, be, live, and die doing -helping myself and others understand the importance of la tierra.

Since that time I have had the opportunity to learn and grow with some of the greatest teachers I have ever known. There isn’t one AmeriCorp’s member or WildPlaces rebel who hasn’t taught me something tremendously important about the work we do. And to you all: thank you for seeing me.

My work as an Immersed in the Wild Project Coordinator for WildPlaces has allowed me to plant seeds of optimism in what is arguably the most negatively affected environment in our nation, and boy is it a challenge! This awesome position allows for me to use my body, my words, my ideals, and passion to bridge the unfortunate reality of youth lacking a deep connection to our planet. And what better way to do it than by multi-day backpacking trips! In addition to the usual camping in the wilderness, or planting Giant Sequoia’s, or getting to hike 4 miles to work every morning; I recently finished educating about 90 little people in a program titled Trout in the brian2Classroom. Myself and 3 other SNAPtastic individuals taught watershed science, art with natural materials, the life cycle of trout, and surprisingly a little bit about shamanism and the first people to inhabit the Tule watershed.

I couldn’t get these kids and the experience out of my head for weeks. Truthfully, it was only days before “teaching” these students that I had learned myself. I sat at the computer and thought “what could I do to just hang out with them again?” Since I don’t have a car the first thing that came to mind was BIKE TOUR!! Fast forward a couple of weeks and Jeremy Cherson and I were off on a four day, 120 mile bike ride teaching watershed science. You can follow our journey at: www.facebook.com/WatershedMomentBikeTour2012

The tour was such a treat and it’s safe to say that the Sierra Nevada Alliance is now 200 little people stronger!

There isn’t a day that goes by without deep reflection and an overwhelming sense of gratefulness. I think that state of mind comes from really understanding how significant my little role is here in the Sierra. Thank you for calling me Sierra, I will gladly serve.


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