Montana has been discovered. With so many people wanting to live here, finding affordable housing is a challenge. I have been working in land, water, and community planning for decades and am really excited to bring it full circle as the Sustainable Communities Planning Advocate at MEIC. We cannot continue to address our growth and natural resource issues in independent silos. To build thriving, equitable communities for all Montanans, we need to take a comprehensive, collaborative approach to integrated land and water planning. Our response to the housing crisis might be to build and expand, but we need to be mindful of how and where we grow to limit our consumption of valuable agricultural lands and our limited natural resources. I believe that we have opportunities to be visionary and guide the future while maintaining our outstanding landscapes.
I “grew up” in water-scarce New Mexico but moved to Montana in the early ‘80s. I received both my Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU, with an emphasis on plants, soils, and land rehabilitation. For the past 14 years, I worked as a water resource planner with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. I raised four amazing humans and some poorly behaved dogs, cats, and chickens. I am a small business owner, love to garden, remodel old houses, recycle/upcycle cool stuff, and always prefer to be outside. I am thrilled to be part of the MEIC team and look forward to working together toward innovative solutions to protect our environment while meeting our growth challenges.
This article was published in the September 2022 issue of Down To Earth.