Sarina Sylavong

sarina in a desertSarina recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with her degree in Environmental Studies, and is originally from Fresno, CA. Sarina currently works as a forester across Santa Cruz and Monterey counties exploring tree fungi, sudden oak death and urban forestry.

sarina in ferp gearAlthough there were many aspects that made natural history interesting to Sarina, some courses at UCSC that helped sparked her interest were Plant and Society, a class about ethnobotany and another class on plant systematics. She was also able to take the field quarter super-course which allowed her to explore the various diverse ecosystems in California. Sarina also greatly benefited from participating in various internships, like the Forest Ecology Research Plot and the Ecology Garden and working with mentors like Alex Jones at the UCSC Natural Reserve. There she took a special interest in plants with Alex to guide her. A challenge Sarina has had to overcome in the naturalist community is a lack of representation, which has often left her feeling disconnected. She thinks we can improve the naturalist community by focusing more on diversity. When doing so it is important to understand the perspective of the community you are trying to reach, otherwise their time as a new naturalist will be short-lived.