Welcome, me! My name is Kristen Stipanov, and I am the new Communications Coordinator here at the Eastern Sierra Land Trust. I couldn’t be more thrilled with my new role at this organization and with my new life in this breathtaking place. You will be hearing from me frequently, and I hope that I will be hearing from you frequently too, so let’s get to know each other. Here’s my story.

I was born in San Diego to two Eastern Sierra enthusiasts. Even before I took my first steps, my parents would tote my older brother and me along on weekends spent backpacking and camping in the incredible mountains that surround Bishop. Jackson Browne and Emmylou Harris always accompanied us on those Highway 395 trips. It sounds exaggerated, but I swear it was that combination of lyrics and landscape I experienced on those drives, listening to those musicians, that sparked the passions for land and story I have carried through the rest of my life.

My love for California grew when I moved north to attend Stanford University for college. I studied art history and English literature there and became particularly interested in the history of photography and photojournalism, especially in the American West. And throughout my time in the Bay Area, I returned as often as possible to the Eastern Sierra. I spent a summer interning with the National Park Service in Yosemite Valley, where my roommate and I drove over Tioga Pass to the East Side far more often than my carbon-aware conscience would like to admit. But sitting in the Green Church hot springs that summer, I decided it would be pretty terrific to one day live here. I graduated from college, some time passed, and now here I am.

My previous work experience also includes work in nonprofits, journalism organizations, and law firms. While I can directly apply journalism and nonprofit experience to my work for ESLT, my time spent as a legal assistant helps me understand the more technical aspects of a land trust’s multifaceted work.

Thanks to those Highway 395 drives, I have always wanted to combine storytelling with my passions for protecting and connecting people to these Western lands; that’s exactly what I plan to do here at the Eastern Sierra Land Trust. But I know that the first step in my path as a communicator will be to listen closely. If you are still reading, then you probably follow ESLT’s work with dedication. Whatever your involvement, thank you! I am eager to meet you in person at our events, and I am eager to hear your thoughts online as you engage with us via email and social media. Please always feel free to reach out. Thank you for welcoming me into your crowd, and I can’t wait to hear your stories.