Channelkeeper is delighted to welcome Veronica Moran to our team as a Part-Time Administrative Assistant. In addition to her friendly, can-do approach and passion for environmental science, Veronica brings professional experience and a strong work ethic. She will be supporting Channelkeeper’s clean water work by helping with community outreach, administrative duties, and monitoring fieldwork. We took a moment recently to learn more about the experiences that inspired Veronica to join our staff.
Where did you grow up? What schools did you attend?
I was born and raised in Santa Barbara. I went to Cleveland Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High, Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara City College, and I recently graduated from Cal State University Monterey Bay.
What sparked your interest in environmental science?
When I was in 6th grade I joined my school’s science club which was run by an amazing teacher named Mr. Criley at Cleveland Elementary. My love for science really grew while being in the Explorers Club, he made learning so much fun by engaging students with hands-on activities and guest speakers. When I was in junior high, I went back to volunteer for the Explorers Club. During this time one of the guest speakers was Penny Owens, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s Education and Community Outreach Director. She took us to our local creek to teach us about water quality monitoring. She also joined us on an overnight trip we took to Santa Cruz Island. The time I spent with her sparked my interest in environmental science.
How did that affect your career path?
Whenever people would ask me what I wanted my career to be, I would always tell them about the work that Santa Barbara Channelkeeper does and that my goal was to work for the organization or one very similar to it. I recently graduated from Cal State University Monterey Bay with a B.S degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science. I’m very happy to have made my goal a reality and that I get to work with someone who has inspired me and with all the other amazing people at Channelkeeper.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love taking my dog Sandy hiking or to the beach.
Do you have a favorite macroinvertebrate?
I think caddisflies are cool because when they are in the larval stage they build little houses out of rocks, twigs, and shells.
We understand that your last job involved monitoring native and non-native plant species at Fort Ord National Monument for the Bureau of Land Management. Do you have any fun anecdotes to share related to that experience?
Native plants are so important in order to have sustainable habitats and species biodiversity. I really enjoyed learning how to identify these plants. My favorite experience at Fort Ord was monitoring a Grassland plot which is grazed by goats. The goats eat the exotic plants which allows native plants more opportunity to grow. At the end of one of our surveys, the goats were let into the plot and our team was surrounded by hundreds of goats!
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your relationship with snapping shrimp? (1 being “strongly dislike” and 10 being “love the little critters”).
My relationship with snapping shrimp is a 9, they are really cool critters! It’s so interesting how they have evolved to produce such a powerful shockwave. But I have to take a point off because one used their powerful punch on me while I was looking through a holdfast it was hiding in.
Do you have any long-term goals for your work at Channelkeeper?
I love Channelkeeper and the work that we do for the community, so my goal is to be able to learn and grow within the organization.