Background: With her degree in Secondary Education from Kutztown University, Risa worked for several years in that field, before devoting much of her life to being a stay-at-home mom- a decision that she says “afforded me the opportunity to work part-time as an education tutor and volunteer for environmental organizations in Berks County.
Connection to Nature: “As a child, I spent a lot of time outdoors and took camping trips with my family,” Risa said. “As I grew older, my love of nature continued to expand through books and travel.” With a particular love of native plants and trees, one of Risa’s greatest joys is shopping for and cultivating plants. “Traveling through the United States and overseas with my family, I have been blessed to experience many marvels of nature, and would like to do as much as possible to preserve these wonders for future generations,” she said.
Volunteer Service: Risa was asked to join Berks Nature (then Berks County Conservancy’s) Board of Directors in 2006. At the same time, she was appointed chair of the Environmental Committee, of which she’s continued to stay involved with for the past 13-years. She served as chair of the Berks Nature Board of Directors for two years, beginning in 2015, and has remained an active member of the Land Committee. Additionally, she serves as a Berks Nature Ambassador, and became a PA Master Naturalist in 2012. Outside of her work with Berks Nature, Risa spends much of her time volunteering with Monocacy Hill Conservation Association, a non-profit volunteer community organization that assists Amity Township in maintaining and restoring Monocacy Hill Recreation Area. A founding member in 1998, she’s since served as President of the organization.
What keeps her coming back: “First, I love the mission of the organization (Berks Nature)- both the traditional mission of land preservation, and the newer mission of environmental education,” she said. “But I think the camaraderie of the staff and volunteers here is the most rewarding. They are all such interesting people and they have a real enthusiasm for nature. One of the perks that I enjoy is learning so much by just spending time with them.” After so many years with Berks Nature, Risa added, the staff and committee members have become a treasured part of her life, “a group of people who I admire very much, and with whom I have shared values and a commitment to preserve the natural world.”
What we’re saying about Risa: “Risa has been an important leader in many areas for Berks Nature,” Berks Nature President Kim Murphy said. “An important advocate for environmental education, a long-term member and chair of our environment committee, board member and former board chair- Risa is as comfortable and effective in the board room as she is pulling invasives on Neversink Mountain. We’ve been fortunate to benefit from her leadership and hope to for many years to come.”
Interested in becoming a Berks Nature volunteer?
We’re recruiting now for our 2019 Class of Berks Nature Ambassadors, which begins in April! Learn more by clicking HERE.