Staff Spotlight: Irma Cuevas (she/her/ella) Community Relations Assistant

July 27, 2023

Posted in: News Articles

Join us in welcoming one of our new Community Relations Assistants, Irma Cuevas. Irma comes to us from the City of Santa Rosa, but spent most of the last two decades at Sonoma County Regional Parks in various roles ranging from Park Ranger Assistant to Environmental Educator to Community Engagement Coordinator. She is passionate about cultivating equity and inclusion in the outdoors and has significant experience engaging our Latinx community and BIPOC youth. Irma strives to be a role model for the next generation of young leaders of color in the outdoors, and be an asset to her community, colleagues and county at large. Irma holds a Master’s in Cultural Resource Management and Bachelor’s in Anthropology with a Minor in Latin American History from Sonoma State University.  She is known for her sense of humor, love of the ocean, music, traveling and geeking out on tide pools.

A selfie of Irma Cuevas, where she is standing in front of coastal rocks and blue Pacific Ocean. She is wearing a black baseball camp, and large dark sunglasses, and smiling at the camera.

What’s your favorite Sonoma County place to get outside and why?
Hands down, our beautiful Sonoma Coast! I love the variety of coastal bluff trails with amazing views of our rocky shoreline, and the majestic Pacific Ocean. Pinnacle Gulch is my favorite spot for tide pooling – you can always see some amazing sea-lebrities during low tide! I also love sitting in an oasis of ferns in a redwood forest at Stillwater Cove Regional Park. My go to park on our coast is Doran Regional Park. Doran is a park with a plethora of activity options –  from camping, walking along the beach, bird watching, kayaking or just chilling on the sandy shore. Seeing families and fellow humans enjoying this park fills my heart with joy! 

What’s one fact, statistic, or interesting tidbit about land conservation that you enjoy sharing with others?
We live in a globally significant hotspot for biodiversity –  there is so much! However, one interesting  tidbit I like to share with others is that our coastline is part of  the Pacific Flyway. Doran Regional Park is along the Pacific Flyway, so it’s a great place for bird watching. Right in our backyard! The Pacific Flyway is a migration route for birds that extends from Alaska, Canada, and through California to Mexico and South America. Birds such as terns, egrets, and loons spend part of the winter in and/or near Doran’s marsh area. Even more points for Doran! 

What’s your proudest moment working in land conservation and why?
There are many proud moments! Yet, I take a lot of pride in connecting youth and families from historically marginalized  communities to the outdoors. I believe getting to experience the health benefits of nature  is essential to cultivating healthy communities and joy. Seeing people’s wonder as they look up at a giant redwood, experiencing the serenity as they take deep breaths in a forest, and their amazement when touching a sea star for the first time is magic to me. I’m honored to be of resource to my community and connect folks to the outdoors. Working with these communities, and working for an organization that supports programs and access for ALL to our parks and open spaces is gratifying and provides a sense of pride. 

What compelled you to pick a career in land conservation?
Working in the land conservation field aligns some of what I most value – biophilia (love of living things and nature) and biodiversity (flora, fauna AND human). I also value joy. I experience joy when being outdoors, when I see others experience that same joy, and when I see people experiencing something new outdoors.  I see myself as a bridge to the outdoors, someone who can connect and expose folks that otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience the beauty of our open spaces, and help them feel inspired to protect our parks and green spaces.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to work in a field where I get to blend my love of the outdoors, community, and our environment.  

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor and why?
Vanilla. It’s a classic flavor that is delicious on its own. It can also be dazzled up with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and cacao nibs, or perfectly paired with an espresso as an affogato. Yum!