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Kayaking in the San Francisco and Tomales Bays has brought ETC’s new Executive Director Aimee Good full circle. Her first day on the water as Executive Director was this April, when she joined our newest cohort of sea kayak volunteer guide trainees.
When the trainees paddled away from Sausalito’s Schoonmaker Marina, their boats were loaded for a multi-day trip to Angel Island. However, this has been no typical water year, and the currents ebbed far more than predicted. They did finally make it to Angel Island–on a ferry.
Aimee began her outdoor recreation career as a summer kayak guide on Tomales after college. Once she’d cut her teeth on Tomales Bay, Aimee became an overnight kayak guide in the Alaskan fjords. She lived in a cabin that had been built by local high school students for a shop project. Plumbing, she soon learned, had not been part of shop class.
Even so, the experience was magical. Moose twins were born in her yard, and she remembers that “bald eagles were like pigeons. They were everywhere.” Aimee would time the tides to pick mussels from the kayaks and steam them open on the beach for a gourmet dinner with participants.
Aimee holds a degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She spent the first part of her career as research technician and environmental consultant at the Estuary and Ocean Science Center, SFSU, and a few private firms.
More recently, Aimee was the Coastal Training Program Director at San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. She loved doing field work, kayaking, walking, or air boating every wetland in the San Francisco Estuary. She also mentored graduate students who worked on nature-based solutions and equitable adaptation planning.
Here is Aimee in her own words:
How did you get into environmental science?
I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors and nature. When I learned about climate change and all the issues facing our planet, I felt that it was my personal responsibility to do everything that I could to help educate myself and inform others about ways we could live in a more sustainable fashion and to help protect habitat for wildlife.
How did you come to ETC?
I’d always heard of ETC, and it was something that I wanted to get involved in. When I read the job description, it checked all the boxes of my career history: a lot of opportunity to work with a variety of populations from youth to folks of all abilities, a lot of outreach, a lot of environmental education and stewardship, outdoor adventure, and bringing groups out into the outdoors who might not have had the opportunity before.
You can’t save something you don’t love! And the best way to love something is to experience it.
What excites you most about ETC?
The people. The staff, the volunteers, the participants, and the community that’s been built.
ETC is really unique in that it works with populations who don’t usually have the chance to do these adventures. It seems like everyone who’s been on an ETC adventure has lasting memories. It really has a lifelong positive influence.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is a little bit different, and every day I’m learning something new. I want to get in as many boats on the water as possible. I’ve had a great experience doing sea kayak guide training and going to Inclusion Training at the river.
A lot of my time is in the office, dealing with systems and organizational structure, tracking budgets, working with staff, meeting partners, looking at planning, and forecasting where we’re headed.
What are your goals for the year?
Get on my feet! Help make our work sustainable, improve staff retention and strengthen our leadership ladder.
I really want to increase and improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion methods in hiring and community culture within all groups, staff, volunteers, board and participants. I want to keep the organization on the trajectory that it’s on, but also to reach out to as many participants as we can and be as inclusive as possible.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I love hiking, camping, gardening, being outside as much as possible, traveling with my family, and taking long walks with the dog!