Megan Fiske has joined Foothill Conservancy as the new Watershed Conservation and Land Use Advocate. Fiske brings her five years’ experience working for the Forest Service, and over five years working for local nonprofits. She is a published scientific author and has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management and Conservation from Humboldt State University.
Foothill Conservancy’s Board President Marta Johnson welcomed Fiske, saying, “I am happy you are now onboard to lead the Watershed Advocacy and Land Use Committees. Your knowledge and skills will add value to FC in service to our Amador/Calaveras community. I am confident the committees will benefit from your creative contributions.”
When Fiske isn’t working as an advocate, she is teaching people of all ages and demographics to snowboard or she is leading them into the wilderness while fostering curiosity and promoting respect for the diverse flora and fauna of the Sierra Nevada. She is an outdoor enthusiast, kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking, photographing wildlife, climbing a peak or backcountry snowboarding.
Fiske, 32, was born and raised in the foothills of Tuolumne County, where she learned about the natural environment and about the unique challenges environmentalists face in rural counties.
“I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Tuolumne County where I was surrounded by nature,” Fiske said. “While attending the local community college, I took field courses exploring all the natural gems of California, from Lassen to Lake Tahoe to Death Valley. My professor recommended I apply for a job as a wildlife surveyor for the local Forest Service, and at 19 I worked the first of five seasons as a biological technician. I spent nights calling for Spotted Owl in the forest that had been my backyard all along but I never knew existed; I spent long days waist deep in streams surveying and mapping road crossings; I spent hours on my knees in wet meadows searching for rare ancient mosses and carnivorous plants. I learned so much about the flora and fauna of the Sierra Nevada, which instilled in me a deep love and passion to protect it.
“When I left the Forest Service to work for a local environmental nonprofit, I was able to engage in protection of our flora and fauna. While working for the nonprofit, I completed my BS in Wildlife Management and Conservation at Humboldt State. I co-published a peer reviewed paper analyzing over five years of water quality data and illustrating the relationship between cattle presence and unsafe levels of bacterial contamination in forest streams. I spoke on camera at a televised hearing in front of the State Water Board and hundreds of protesters in disagreement with me that the salmon needed more water in the river. I stood around breeding ponds of endangered amphibians with federal wildlife officials and local ranchers whose kids I went to high school with discussing why we were suing them over inadequately protecting an endangered species. After leaving the nonprofit, I worked for a water quality lab, performing water sampling, which inspired me to do more to satisfy both the scientist and the activist in me.
“I’ve been a scientist, a photographer, a lover of wildlife, a wildflower enthusiast, an activist and an advocate for most of my life. I appreciate nature in so many different ways and have dedicated my life to fostering a love for the natural world in others. In my new role as the Watershed Conservation and Land Use Advocate for Foothill Conservancy, I will use all my skills to passionately advocate for our forests, rivers, and communities.”