Restoration Project Manager
As a Project Manager for the STRAW Project (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) at Point Blue, I coordinate, implement, and manage professional habitat restoration projects on public and private lands in various parts of the Bay Area. My current projects include Pickleweed Park in San Rafael, TomKat Ranch in Pescadero, and Gonzales Ranch in Gilroy. Additionally, as part of the Education and Outreach group at Point Blue, I enjoy opportunities to teach watershed and climate-smart restoration science to students through outdoor and in-class lessons, as well as embark on outreach opportunities to expand the STRAW model into the South Bay region. I work with an incredible team here at STRAW and adhere to our mission to empower students and the greater community to connect to the environment through hands-on action and project-based learning.
My love for the outdoors began at a very young age. Growing up in the suburbs near Minneapolis, Minnesota I was able to find pockets of nature in local park reserves. As a child, I remember learning about and being very impacted by the imperilment of endangered species and wondered how I could help protect wildlife and the habitats they live in. This concern coupled with my enjoyment for volunteer work in the great outdoors led me on a career path in biology and wildlife.
I earned a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Earning my degree introduced me to endless possibilities in conservation and wildlife management. After graduating, I worked with several different agencies and organizations in different regions of the United States: the National Park Service in Redding, California; The Nature Conservancy in Milnor, North Dakota; Audubon California in Trabuco Canyon, California; and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory in Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming. Through these seasonal positions I gained experience with point counts, nest searches as well as vegetation surveys, restoration ecology, and different protocols for monitoring project success. An unexpected but valuable lesson I learned through these experiences was that collaboration and community involvement are essential when it comes to addressing conservation efforts.
Working with Point Blue and STRAW is a dream job for me as I take joy in studying and applying current research in habitat restoration and climate change science as well as connecting students to their communities through watershed education.
I typically work out of Point Blue’s headquarters in Petaluma, but spend ample time at field sites around the Bay Area. Outside of work, I enjoy birding, live music, sports, and running.
Email: Jennifer Benson
707-781-2555 ext. 305