Staff Spotlight: Pamela Swan, Grants Coordinator

December 20, 2022

Posted in: News Articles

In this month’s Staff Spotlight, we’re excited to welcome Pamela Swan as our Grants Coordinator – a new role that oversees our Matching Grant Program and coordinates our grant-seeking efforts. Pamela holds a Bachelor’s in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley, as well as a Master’s in Community Development from UC Davis and a Master’s of City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley. For the past seven years, she was the Director of Funding Partnerships at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa where she was responsible for planning, coordinating, and securing the agency’s annual $20 million grants revenue budget. Pamela has also worked for the County’s Health Department, and was the Executive Director of the Healdsburg Education Foundation. She was also the very first Executive Director of LandPaths! Read on to hear more from Pamela about her thoughts on land conservation, and a sweet summer memory. 

Pamela and her family at Bodega Bay.

What’s your favorite Sonoma County place to get outside and why?
My favorite place to get outside is Healdsburg Ridge. I love that I’m able to walk from my home in the middle of town to this local gem with abundant native vegetation, scenic vistas, and fond memories of my kids’ outings with LandPaths. I recall how so many partners came together to make this local gem a reality – Ag + Open Space, the City of Healdsburg, Sonoma County Regional Parks, and residents. Knowing that our community values and takes action to conserve natural spaces makes my experience at Healdsburg Ridge extra special. 

What’s one fact, statistic, or interesting tidbit about land conservation that you enjoy sharing with others?
I feel like I must remind myself and others that Mother Nature bats last. Being aware that we are stewards, but not ultimately in control of the endgame, helps center our role on the planet, and serves as a helpful guidepost. 

What’s your proudest moment working in land conservation and why?
My proudest moment working in land conservation was as the first Executive Director of LandPaths, when we finally incorporated as an official non-profit.  The evolution of this community based organization involved numerous, diverse partners with often differing views about the mission and approach. Through a year-long strategic plan, we were able to agree and codify the central principles and organizational structure. I am so impressed by where they have gone since then, and am grateful for the opportunity to support in the initial stages.

What compelled you to pick a career in land conservation?
Growing up in Napa County and seeing transitions in its agriculture, I saw first-hand the connection ag operations have to water, soil, and many other natural systems. Seeing those shifts over time, along with encroaching development on natural and working lands, my family got involved in the formation and eventual operation of the Napa Land Trust. Thus, I learned at a young age the importance of personal agency in moving our communities towards urban-centered development, preservation and support of diversity in agriculture, and conservation of vital natural lands. 

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor and why?
My favorite ice cream flavor is homemade peach ice cream, as it evokes memories of my Grandpa picking the ripest peaches and involving the grandkids in the ice cream making process. At the tail end of summer on a sweltering day, the taste of peach ice cream was heavenly.