hikers on Jasper Ridge

Aiyana Washington, Palo Alto

Quilt Square #17

As a docent at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, a protected natural environment in the Santa Cruz mountains, I lead educational tours and engage visitors in the research and conservation work that takes place at the preserve. I’m part of a small, vibrant community of docents from a range of academic disciplines. Some are interested in fungi, some in computer science, some in conservation photography, and our varying interests means our advocacy is as diverse as the ecosystems at Jasper Ridge.

Hiking through the preserve, we might see endangered checkerspot caterpillars sunbathing on sticky monkey plants in the chaparral, hear the gentle melodies of songbirds in the oak woodlands, and smell the medicinal aroma of bay leaves in the riparian woodlands, all within a half-hour walk.

Jasper Ridge is a space where all are welcome to learn about the native plants, the Indigenous culture and knowledge, and the wildlife that we seek to protect. As docents, sharing the beauty of these vibrant ecosystems with others is our climate resilience.