By Dan Kirk
Britney Zaparolli, or “Z” is our current member in our Green Collar Corps program, which is a paid internship for students in the community to get some hands-on job training experience in the environmental field. The following is an interview with Z, who shares a little bit about her path to The Watershed Project.
So you are in school for landscape architecture, right? What drew you to that interest?
Working in Sonoma this past year was the first time I realized I could have a career focused on caring for the environment. Before that I had been studying architecture but I didn’t ever feel fulfilled. I also saw it [landscape architecture] as an opportunity to connect nature and the urban environments, so because I grew up in the city it was kinda like two roads meeting, if that makes sense. It’s caring for both nature and urban environments.
I remember taking an architecture class in undergrad and it seems like landscape architecture is more holistic.
When I was in architecture I feel like the biggest thing that was missing was it hardly considered the environment at all, and it considered people only to a certain extent. So it felt like designing for Disneyland, you know? Holistic is a good word to describe it.
You mentioned that you grew up in a city, which city did you grow up in?
I’ve lived in San Pablo for most of my life and I was always involved with different nonprofits and organizations in Richmond. My only opportunity to really go outside and get involved with outdoor recreation was because of YES Nature to Neighborhoods. I would go to summer camp with them and also some programs throughout the year.
Yeah, shoutout to YES! Speaking of camps, what’s your favorite outdoor activity?
I really like hiking and kayaking. What about you?
I also really like kayaking, haha. So, obviously you’re into water and how the built environment connects to the natural environment, is that what drew you to The Watershed Project?
Oh yeah, definitely. I reached out because of the Rheem Creek project because I live right next to Rheem Creek and every year it would flood. I was doing stewardship work in Sonoma but never really thought, “oh there’s necessary stewardship work to be done here.” I just didn’t understand that yet, and so when I saw the Rheem Creek Project I was really amazed. It was great to read about the history of the creek and felt drawn to learn more about the project. I ended up speaking with Anne and learned that The Watershed Project was doing a lot more than just the Rheem Creek project so I felt drawn to all the other work too. I feel most excited about the Horizontal Levee project, because it’s for Richmond and it’s at this intersection of all these things that I really care about.
That’s awesome. We are so glad that you reached out!