New Staff Spotlight: Cory O’ Gorman, Stewardship Specialist

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

By LandPaths Staff

July 27, 2021

How did you first get connected to LandPaths? 

I was first introduced to LandPaths by Santa Rosa Junior College Biology professor Abigail Zoger. She said that LandPaths wears their heart on their sleeves, a statement that I soon learned was the truth. I volunteered at Bayer Farm with Jonathan Bravo and instantly felt at home in the garden. The community spirit of connection, teamwork, and solidarity flowed through the work. That was in 2016 and I’ve since spent many hours with Jonathan and introduced family to the farm. From there, I met Jamie Nakama through the Rights of Nature task force and soon volunteered at Owl Camp. Again I found so much love and care present, reflected back in the smiling faces of the kids.

What made you want to work at LandPaths? 

LandPaths resolves to lead with their hearts in the community and move in the spirit of doing what is best for the community, plants, people, and animals alike. As well as LandPaths commitment to continually evolve and grow.

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

I am looking forward to contributing to the LandPaths’ team and to tending the open spaces in a reciprocal and collaborative manner. I’m grateful to be in this position and strive to assist LandPaths in cultivating healing on the land and in the hearts of the community. I am also looking forward to collaborating with local Tribal community members.

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

I grew up in a rural place outside of the city of Santa Rosa. I’ve tended that property since I was young and found a love of plants working in the garden with my mother. I recently completed a Masters in Biology from Sonoma State University where I collaborated with the Native Advisory Council of Pepperwood to study black oak restoration and the effects of wildfire on the preserve. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to work with the preserve and the Native Advisory Council and I learned a great deal. 

What is something that people are surprised to learn about you? 

My diverse set of interests, which include wood working, traveling, Muay Thai and herbal medicine. 

What does community care mean to you? 

Community means caring for each other. Caring for every member of our community, including our plant and animal relatives. Community means acknowledging that water is life. Community means taking accountability for the ways in which our words and actions effect each and every piece of the delicate balance of life- the whole. Living in community means coming into right relationship with the First Peoples from the land on which that community stands. Truly committing to living in community means turning inside and going outside, for collective healing must happen within and without. It means not falling into the well worn channels that society continues to erode, but flowing through a new path based in love, truth, reciprocity and respect.

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