Robert is a California native and has called the Sierra Nevada foothills his home for his entire life. He is a product of the California higher education system, beginning his academic career at Columbia College in Sonora, and then moved to Merced to study chemistry at the University of California. After earning a Bachelor of Science at UC Merced he decided to make a career change and joined the University of Nevada, Reno environmental engineering department as a graduate student. He is in the process of finishing his Masters and will graduate in December 2015. When he isn’t studying or working Robert likes to play guitar, act, and hike. As a Sierra Fellow Robert will be assisting in the implementation of a bioenergy facility in Wilseyville, CA. This plant will utilize woody biomass harvested from overgrown forests to produce electricity, heat, and other value-added products while helping to reduce the risk of wildfires at the same time.
Mary recently graduated from Brown University with a degree in Environmental Studies. A native of North Carolina, she grew up wandering the pine forests of her area, quickly falling in love with forestry and land management. Her interest lies at the intersection of communities and resources. She fell in love with community-based conservation through a field semester in Northwestern Montana and continued to pursue this passion at Brown. As a Sierra Fellow she will be working with Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions to help with forest restoration efforts across the region. She will be helping with community outreach, working with landowners and environmental collaboratives to create triple-bottom-line focused plans and contracts. In her free time Mary loves running, hiking, and cooking. She is very excited to move West and learn more about California and the Sierra region.
Steve Wilensky acted as the Calaveras County District 2 Supervisor for two terms. He is the current Board Chairman of Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions, working to implement a bioenergy product yard in Wilseyville. He is the owner/operator of Humbug Creek Farms in Glencoe, known for his on-site pressed cider!