New Staff Spotlight: Benjamin Bravo, Stewardship Specialist

Category: Blog, Growing Community with Nature, Staff, Stewardship

By LandPaths Staff

July 27, 2021

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Benjamin Bravo, who joined LandPaths’ Community Care team in July. Here’s a little more about Ben! Read to the end to find out something that is decidedly not “boring” about him!

How did you get connected to LandPaths?  

I first met Elias (Lopez) during an event for the Sonoma State University community naturalist. I attended a volunteer Yellow Star Thistle removal day at the Bohemia Ecological Preserve in July 2020. During this time, I got to learn about LandPaths’ amazing progress on many Yellow Star Thistle patches.  

What made you want to work at LandPaths?  

I’ve been following LandPaths’ work in Sonoma County over the past two years that I have lived in Sonoma County. I like the team dynamic of LandPaths and their strong emphasis on community and personal connections to the land. I’ve had positive interactions with LandPaths’ employees in the past and I wanted to join the team.  

What are you most looking forward to about your new position?  

I am looking forward to connecting youth and volunteers to the land. I would like to also encourage participants to consider the effect of their restoration work on the wildlife species that use the land.  

What type of background in stewardship do you bring to your position?  

I studied Earth Systems (with an emphasis in ecology) at Stanford University. Prior to my position with LandPaths, I served as an assistant ranger, GIS tutor, restoration volunteer, wildlife researcher, restoration technician, and preserve resources manager. All of these experiences have given me a deeper understanding of ecology and stewardship.  

Most recently, I served as a Preserve Resources Manager for Sonoma State University Center for Environmental Inquiry from September 2019 until July 2021. I created and implemented our invasive species program on the Fairfield Osborn preserve, focusing mostly on Yellow starthistle mapping and removal. I led SSU students in a riparian habitat restoration project along Copeland Creek. I use my background in ArcGIS, data analysis, and ecology to use the best practices for mapping and treating invasive species. I have some experience with writing forest management plans and preserve management plans.  I also managed the SSU CEI camera traps. We used these cameras for education, research,  and security. I enjoy using camera traps to encourage students and the public to gain a deeper understanding of the wildlife that use their restoration sites and preserves. 

What’s something that people are surprised to learn about you?  

I really enjoy playing board games. I like that boardgames combine creativity and analysis together into one product. Over the past two years, I’ve been working on a preserve management board game called PreserveQuest. This game encourages players to manage preserves for educational, scientific discovery,  and ecological health. While the default game board is a 20-cell hex-grid design, I’ve also created a few game boards for real preserves in the Bay Area using spatial environmental data and ArcGIS. I’ve play-tested various versions of this game with friends and former co-workers. It needs a bit more work before it is both playable and intellectually stimulating.  

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