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Meet our 2023-24 GrizzlyCorps fellow, Joe!

According to GrizzlyCorps, an Americorps program’s website, GrizzlyCorps is an AmeriCorps fellowship launched in 2020 designed by Project Climate at UC Berkely’s Center for Law, Energy & Environmental in partnership with CaliforniaVolunteers. The program sends recent college graduates who will respond to the challenges of community resilience by providing placements for twenty AmeriCorps members to promote regenerative agri-food systems and wildfire resilience. Members will work in conjunction and coordination with rural community entities including UC Cooperative Extensions, Resource Conservation Districts, and NGOs, to expand the use of regenerative techniques. In forest communities, members will work in conjunction with local, state, and federal agencies, forest and industry groups, and NGOs to expand the use of techniques to reduce wildfire risk and improve watershed and soil health. In farming communities, fellows will work with local producers to improve irrigation, nutrient management, rotational grazing and other ecological practices. In each case, the work will translate to increased resilience and land treated with aggregate impacts for California agricultural and forest lands.

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Last year, the RCDGSDC hosted two GrizzlyCorps fellows. Since then, Carolina Guia has been officially hired as a full-time Forestry and Fire Prevention Technical Assistant. She will be assisting the team with coordination, outreach, assessments for community programs and projects such as defensible space, home hardening, community fuels reduction, invasive pest management, ignition reduction, and much more.

“Being a fellow hosted by the RCD, has truly been life changing. This experience has helped me develop my professional goals and given me the confidence to continue my career in the conservation world. I would like to thank the GrizzlyCorps and Forestry and Fire Prevention team for this wonderful opportunity and I highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in fire resilience and conservation,” says Carolina.

This year's GrizzlyCorps fellow will be assisting our Forestry and Fire Prevention team with outreach and education events, GIS support, relaunching our assistance programs, and more. This year, we will be undertaking launching a new Home Assessment Program, and we are so excited to have the help from our fellow to conduct field visits, organize program data, and map program participation. GrizzlyCorps fellows are an integral part of our work here at the RCD, bringing new energy and ideas to our team!

Meet our 2023-24 Grizzly Corps fellow, Joe Lewis!

Joe (he/him) is a UCLA graduate with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Geography and a focus in environmental science and geographic information systems (GIS). Born on the central coast and raised in the Temecula Valley, Joe has always had a strong interest in the environment, exploring the hills and creeks behind his childhood home since he can remember. In his undergraduate career, he gained an interest in GIS and its ability to convey environmental and social issues through spatial data. In his sophomore year at Palomar College, Joe assisted a local non-profit (The Alliance for Regional Solutions) in building a map illustrating food insecurity in the city of Poway. After transferring to UCLA, he was privileged to travel across the state conducting research and fieldwork to better understand the impacts of climate change on California’s native vegetation. Following graduation, Joe worked for Esri (The Environmental Systems Research Institute) on their ArcGIS Online team as a support analyst. During this time he stumbled across the GrizzlyCorps program and is extremely excited to start his 11 months of service.

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At the RCD of Greater San Diego County he is looking forward to supporting the Fire Safe Council and their initiatives to assist local communities prepare for and prevent wildfires. In his free time, Joe enjoys hiking, cooking, and running a weekly Dungeons and Dragons game for his friends.

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