I was once a flatlander from Austin, Texas. Alone after school, I found myself drawing countless pictures of the same desert scenes. Though I had not ever seen in them in person, I always used the same formula: distant mountains, barren ground, bright sun. I hadn’t yet learned to ask the kinds of questions by which I am now fascinated: “Why do we often find mountains near the desert? How do the two ecosystems interact?” I simply drew them because I loved their shapes. As I watched my hometown grow into a bustling boomtown of technology, I grew as well. I learned how to climb rocks at the modest local cliffs and started wondering more about the rest of the world.
After finishing my undergraduate degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Texas, I packed my bags and answered the call to move west. Since then I have lived, climbed, and worked all over the western states, finally getting to know intimately the desert landscapes of which I had so frequently dreamed. As an ecologist at the United States Geological Survey, I researched the impacts of grazing and climate change on plant and animal communities in arid environments. I completed a master’s degree at the University of Colorado Boulder, where I studied the ecology of ephemeral rock pools in the desert. Some of the pools were located at the summits of isolated 300-foot towers, so it was often necessary to use ropes and climbing gear in order to reach them… This is how Girls on Rock was born!
Once I learned about the Inspiring Girls Expeditions and met the amazing women behind them, I knew that I wanted to start a program that connected technical rock climbing skills to science. It is always amazing to work with such motivated women on a common goal, and I’m extremely excited to share that experience with future Girls on Rock participants in the Rocky Mountains.
Girls on Rock Instructor - 2018