Hello, I am Stacey. Sure is nice to meet you. [Insert big smile here]
It’s safe to say that 36 years ago I grew roots that stretched deep in the Pennsylvania dirt and I have remained there ever since. As a child growing up in Central Pennsylvania, in a community that was once a ski resort, I spent every chance that I could outside exploring. I was often trekking through the overgrown slopes, biking on the rugged trails, exploring the banks of the mighty Susquehanna River, and sliding down the slick rocks of tiny tributaries. My most prized possessions were the rocks and dirt that I kept in my closet – much to my mother’s chagrin.
Upon graduating high school I had an unwavering urge to escape my small town and move to a city. In 2002, I moved to Pittsburgh to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I felt so far away but knowing I was still along the banks of mighty rivers kept me steady. My time in Pittsburgh was pivotal to my life and reassured my need to be outside and surrounded by nature. It was there that my roots dug deeper. I became enthralled in outdoor recreation, now discovering wild rivers through kayaking, canoeing, and rafting.
It was in the heart of the city that I found a strong sense of community and a deep desire to not only connect to the land and rivers but to the people of the region. I soon found a way to weave my passions of community development and conservation together – through grassroot-style trash cleanups. I joined Citizens Against Litter and worked to organize and host litter cleanups in my Mount Washington neighborhood. At one point, even having a busload of Carnegie Mellon student volunteers show up at my closet sized apartment ready to clean up litter on the steep hillsides, but needing to use my bathroom first.
As I graduated from college my passions kept me involved in my community. I worked in a small diner on the Southside and organized cleanups there. I even created kinetic sculptures out of refuse from landfills and river dumps. I eventually discovered conservation minded groups and became a member of MWA frequenting events and always supporting the mission.
With a growing desire to stay outside as much as possible and having discovered the Laurel Highlands area exploring the rivers and trails, I knew I had to live here. Eventually, my husband and I were able to set a foundation in the area and make the move. Initially, I joined the team at Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle and then later on, with the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau.
For the past 9 years my roots have expanded and spread atop the Chestnut Ridge, which I proudly call my home. As your Community Organizer at Mountain Watershed I am thrilled to be able to offer representation and resources that our residents deserve while protecting against threats to the health of our watershed and community. When I am not working hard to achieve these goals you can find me enjoying the land and water biking, paddling, swimming, enjoying the rustling of towering oaks from my front porch, or obsessing over the night sky with my husband, daughter, and dog.