Where can you find the average California teen on a Saturday night? For Kate Harrison, it’s not hanging with friends, blowing off homework or seeing the new band that’s in town: instead, this young conservationist spent a recent Saturday night putting on a fundraiser to support two of her favorite environmental causes—her local river conservation group, the Foothill Conservancy, and Conservacion Patagonica! With a little help from a local event planner, Kate organized a100-person fundraiser from start to finish. Kate’s enthusiasm and initiative clearly shined through at the event, and stand as an example for conservationists young and old.
Fresh off a trail crew in Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, Kate answered a few of our questions about her event and why she chose to support CP—read on for the answers. Kate heads to Western Washington University this fall to study environmental science. Congratulations, and thank you, Kate!
Where did you grow up, and what inspired you to get into conservation?
I grew up in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, in Arnold, California. My mom is an interpreter and my dad is a fire ecologist, so conservation has been a part of my entire life.
How did you learn about Conservacion Patagonica, and what inspired you to feature us in your fundraiser?
I learned about CP through the movie 180 South, and I started researching your group. I fell completely in love with Patagonia, but what really pushed me to do this fundraiser was learning about the damming project that is being planned [Hydroaysén]. The more I learned, the more I wanted to do something to help! The Patagonia Sin Represas campaign inspired me because it is such a large movement sparked by people who care so deeply about the environment. I wanted to do something to help preserve the area, and your group seemed to be doing so much to preserve such a wonderful place.
Why do you think national parks are important?
I think that national parks are the best way to not only help preserve the natural world, but also to display it to the public. National parks also teach people about the natural world, which is extremely important.
If (or when!) you get down to Patagonia, what are you looking forward to seeing and doing?
I would love to go backpacking around the national parks in the area, especially PNP and Torres del Paines. I would also want to volunteer in the area and get to know as much as possible about what is going on down there.
Do you have any future goals in the field of conservation?
I plan on basing my future around conservation and will do everything I can to be involved with conservation efforts, whether it’s here [in California] or in Patagonia.