Community Stewardship Manager
Jeanne Wirka joined LandPaths as Community Stewardship Manager in January 2024. She feels a deep kinship with LandPaths’ ethic that stewardship – taking care of the land – is a community-based value. Connecting people with nature has always been at the forefront of her personal and professional goals.
Jeanne loves wild nature wherever she can find it, whether it’s the High Sierra or an urban pond teeming with water striders and tadpoles. She loves sharing her love of nature with others and has taught field courses in wildflower identification, amphibians, fungi, fire ecology and more. She likes to “geek out” on the details of how nature works—for example how caterpillars sequester toxins from the plants they eat, how banana slugs reproduce, and how birds’ eyes can see colors humans cannot even imagine.
Jeanne has worked for environmental and conservation-focused nonprofits her whole career. She first moved to Sonoma County in 2005 to serve as the resident biologist of the 535-acre Bouverie Preserve near Glen Ellen. After the Nuns Fire in 2017, she helped coordinate a fuel reduction collaborative among public agencies and private organizations in the Sonoma Valley region. As the ecologist for the Center for Land-Based Learning, she focused on climate change and strategies to increase carbon sequestration in agricultural soils.
Jeanne has been a lifelong backpacking enthusiast, having solo-hiked both the John Muir Trail and a 500 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail. She loves the simplicity and routine of back-country living and loves to record her observations in her nature journals. In addition to her work for nonprofits, Jeanne has had a successful career as a freelance nature writer. She has written articles about local natural history for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and was a contributing author to Wild Sonoma, Exploring Nature in Wine County.