It’s not often that an organization gets the chance to welcome someone back to the team – which makes it all the more exciting to announce to you this great news: Heather Freeman has returned to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust staff as our new Philanthropy Manager!
Those of you who have been with us for many years will likely remember Heather from her original position as our Membership & Office Coordinator, a role she filled from 2009-2012. She left ESLT to further develop her marketing and design skills, as well as start her own company, Wild Onion Creations – where she handcrafts tote bags, scarves, and other accessories printed with beautiful Eastern Sierra images.
Now that her product lines are up and running, she has returned to the ESLT team part-time to assist with important membership, fundraising, and community outreach events.
I recently spoke with Heather to get to know her better and learn more about her background.
Where are your roots?
I’m from Ventura County in southern California. Other than going to college in Arizona, California has always been my home.
So what brought you to the Eastern Sierra?
My husband and I were spending more and more weekends driving up to enjoy the Eastern Sierra, so we finally decided to move here to spend less time driving and more time enjoying all the great outdoor recreation opportunities this area offers. His grandparents brought him camping in this area during the summers when he was young, and so he had a strong connection to the area – which he then shared with me, as we visited many of those same places together. We’ve lived in Bishop for almost 10 years now.
What do you love most about living in this area?
The wide open spaces to explore in many different forms, whether it be on foot, off-roading, biking, or snowboarding. Enjoying four real seasons and all the changes that go along with them is quite a treat, coming from southern California. And after this hot summer, I’m really looking forward to some cooler weather the fall will soon usher in!
Do you have a favorite spot on the Eastside?
I spend quite a bit of time up Bishop Creek Canyon walking my dogs or exploring for great photo ops. Bodie ghost town is also a favorite place of mine. I’m fascinated with imagining what life must have been like back in its heydey, and try to keep that in mind when I’m cold in the winter or cleaning all the dust out of my house!
Where does your interest in conservation stem from?
Growing up in Ventura County, I’ve watched a lot of prime agricultural land be developed and it is something that makes me sad every time I return to the area. I think the loss of connecting people with where our food comes from has possibly allowed that to happen – and I now realize how important it is to our communities to keep our fertile fields producing healthy foods and maintain access to wide open, natural landscapes. Enjoying those places has been really integral to my lifestyle, and I’m excited to return to ESLT to help strengthen the great programs in place that conserve these incredible wild and working lands. I feel it is important to make sure that future generations get access to those same experiences.
As Philanthropy Manager, you’ll be focusing on advancing ESLT’s donor development programs and keeping in touch with our members. What do you look forward to most about this role?
Working with all the great people that ESLT attracts! Members, staff, board members, volunteers, landowners, partners – it has been a pleasure to get to know and work with all the people involved with ESLT’s mission to conserve land and ways of life in this region. I most look forward to continuing those relationships and developing new ones as we work together to fund and grow the important programs in place. I hope you’ll stop by the office and say ‘hi’ or attend an upcoming event to give us the chance to get reacquainted, and so that I can meet those of you I haven’t had the chance to get to know yet!