In Spotlights

Lisa Baldinger – Legislative Assistant, East Bay Regional Park District

Lisa Baldinger is the newest member of the East Bay Regional Park District’s (EBRPD) Government Affairs Team. She joined EBRPD in 2014 as a Social Media and Legislative Affairs Intern and is now the Park District’s Legislative Assistant. In her current role, Ms. Baldinger assists in the tracking of open space legislation and funding opportunities for the Park District. In addition to her work at the District, she serves on the Board of the Regional Parks Foundation helping to expand development and membership outreach to young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area. When not working in conservation, Ms. Baldinger enjoys traveling and immersing herself in as many diverse cultures as possible. She will be headed to Bhutan, her thirty-second country, this month.

What is the educational and career path that led to your current career?

In college, I changed majors six times and, no, they were not all similar. I started in Environmental Studies, switched to Environmental Science, then to Mechanical Engineering, Apparel Design, Art History, Environmental Economics and Policy, and eventually graduated with a degree in Natural Resource Policy from Oregon State University. Though it took me a while to land in a position where my passion, interests, and skills overlapped, I have found it in my degree and my current position as Legislative Assistant for EBRPD. I think it is critical to emphasize how all of the majors I went through are needed in the environmental field (Art History may be a stretch), but only one of the seven was a good fit for me.

How did you become interested in environmental work?

Growing up, my family took lots of road trips, involving hiking, camping, exploring and learning along the way. I am lucky enough to have visited multiple National Parks on these trips and, at an early age, gain a perspective of nature and recreation as a necessity for happiness. With education, my perspective was strengthened as I learned how critical these spaces are for ecosystem health, ecosystem services, and human health. It is because of these reasons, and the unequivocal joy I experience while in nature, that I have dedicated my career to protecting open-space.

What are your suggestions on how WEN members can become more involved in your sector and the environmental movement?

Vote. Write letters. Make statements. In my position, I see the importance of public involvement in local, regional, state, and federal decisions. When we do not speak up for what we believe in, we are not heard. When we do, it has the potential to open lines of communication and highlight issues that possibly were not even being considered. I am of the opinion the environment does everyone good, but not everyone is aware of the good it is doing. Let’s help them learn.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa, you can connect with her on LinkedIn here.