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Friday, January 10, 2014

Staff Interview: Laura Pavliscak

Her shirt says it all. . .
        In addition to being the first full week of the New Year, Tejon Ranch Conservancy is celebrating the addition of a new staff member, Laura Pavliscak. Laura is stepping in as the Conservancy's first-ever Stewardship Manager. In this role, she will be helping us plan and implement stewardship activities outlined in the Ranch-wide Management Plan.
         For the first in a series of staff interviews, we thought we'd ask Laura a few questions to get to know her better:

Where are you from? What’s your background?
Hi Scot!  I was raised in California, and have lived and traveled throughout much of this great, diverse state.  I completed my undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz in the late 90’s, majoring in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Agricultural Ecology. I’ve always been super interested in the intersection between wildland conservation and land management, working on many rural farms throughout my schooling.  After graduating, I started a career in field biology as an independent consultant, focusing on arid systems.  I’ve spent about 13 years working as a field biologist, primarily in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts—much of that time focusing on work with the imperiled desert tortoise.  In 2008, I returned to school at University of Arizona and completed a M.S. in Ecology.  I am fascinated by the interconnected complexities of wild systems, and humbled by our potential to interact and affect those systems. 

Can you give us a snapshot of what you are looking forward to as Stewardship Manager?
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in the long-term, comprehensive vision of conservation science and land management on Tejon Ranch.  And I’m honored to work with the passionate, devoted team at the Conservancy. 

Is there anything in particular on Tejon Ranch you are excited to see?
Yes… Everything!!

We at the Conservancy are pretty big audiophiles. Can you list 5 of your favorite albums?
Ha!  That’s hard.  Here’s a few… 
Dangerous mes and poisonous yous…   Caleb Klauder
6 Volts….  Fred Eaglesmith
Holy cross blues….  Sam Doores, Riley Downing and the Tumbleweeds
Right key, wrong keyhole….  Red Stick Ramblers
The west was burning….   Martha Scanlan

We like to talk about how Tejon Ranch is at the confluence of 4 of Ca’s major ecoregions (Southwestern Ca, San Joaquin Valley, Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert). Do you have a favorite one?
While I am most familiar with the vivid, open Mojave desert region, I am compelled by the galleries of ancient oaks, the dense fragrant chaparral, the windy conifer ridges, and the rolling golden contours of grasslands.  I think they’re all my favorite!  And especially where they meet and blend in unexpected ways… so fascinating!!

Besides Tejon Ranch, can you list 5 California locations you love?
California is so extraordinary for the diversity of landscapes we have-- it would be hard to choose outright favorites when the contrast between areas is really the remarkable part.  I guess I’d put at the top of the list:  The Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley for their unending backroad explorations and incredible geological and biological diversity, the east side of the Santa Lucia Mountains for the phenomenal wildflowers, the wild north coast for its silvery roiling ocean vistas and silent damp forests, the stark and stunning east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains for their inaccessible beauty and hidden treasures… 

Laura in a moment of repose