Intern Spotlight: Alondra Schuster

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Meet Alondra, our rockstar intern! Alondra has been involved with our organization for quite some time now – and in a variety of programs – so we thought it was time you got to know her. Here’s a little bit about her, in her own words. Come say hi to Alondra at Green Drinks this Thursday!

I got involved with The Environmental Center last spring while taking a Mountain Bike Guiding course. I was nearing graduation from the Outdoor Leadership program at Oregon State University and looking for an internship. Kirin Stryker (former TEC Sustainability Educator) was my instructor at the time, and she thought my experience as a river guide and my passion for nature and education made me a good fit for The Environmental Center. I am currently interning as an Outdoor School Instructor and have taken on a project to evaluate and reformat our curriculum for grades 1-3. Almost a year later, I have also found new ways to get involved and help out. My interest in the nonprofit sector has led me to assist with the fundraising for MountainFilm on Tour, and I am gaining experience with the administrative side of things at TEC. Recently I have also been helping out with marketing for Green Drinks events. That has been a fun way to gain familiarity with various Green businesses in our community as I search for job opportunities at a company that I would love.

Where did you grow up, and why did you stay or leave?

I grew up in North Hollywood, California – which is basically a concrete suburb of Los Angeles. Throughout my time there I was constantly distancing myself from the city and struggling to meet people that I connected with. I visited Bend on a road trip and fell in love with the area. I decided to make a permanent move to Oregon in 2010 and make a home here among like-minded people with similar values.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

Well, I have two dogs and I am always trying to find fun ways to play with them outdoors in our various seasons. I take them mountain biking, skiing, hunting for mushrooms, even multi-day rafting trips are great as long as the water isn’t too dangerous for them. If I’m not outside, chances are I am in my kitchen – I love to cook, play music and craft at home.

What book are you currently reading, and who would you share it with next?

I am reading Desert Solitaire by Edward Abby at the moment, which has been absolutely inspiring. Once I finish it I plan to share it with my dad. I have the feeling he will love it.

Where would you most like to go in the world that you haven’t visited yet?

I have traveled to roughly thirty countries in the last fourteen years or so. I was in SE Asia a couple years ago and I came to this realization that I have traveled more internationally than I have in my own country. It may sound a bit bland, but I really want to take a long drive across the U.S. and visit all of our National Parks. Exploring Alaska has particularly been high on my priority list.

What’s your favorite sustainable practice at home?

I live in a household with four people, so reducing our waste is good for both the environment and our wallets when the bills come around. I changed all my incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs, and switched to low-flow faucets and shower heads. Probably the strangest thing I have put my roommates through is an easy trick to turn our high volume toilets into low-flush tanks. Put a brick inside of a gallon zip-lock and place it in your tank – voila! You have less water waste. Every few months I turn in our massive accumulation of bottles and cans to the recycling center. I use the money to fund our transition from chemical-based cleaning products to eco-friendly cleaning products. I buy everything in bulk, and in concentrate form if possible, to make them last longer. I try my best to buy food products in bulk to reduce packaging waste, and I recycle everything that I can. My household composts all of our kitchen scraps to make soil for our big garden beds. We kindly remind each other to turn lights off when we forget. I have to say my partner and roommates are pretty awesome. I like to think we all do our part to be sustainable. Just with these small practices, I think we can all make a difference.

What was the last concert you went to?

MarchFourth Marching Band just played a show at the Domino Room. They put on a great performance – it was seriously fantastic. They are this unique combination of musicians and stage performers, their energy is over the top and really fun to watch.