Nathaniel Kelly

Conservation Nursery Program Coordinator                                                                  MES Program, The Evergreen State College

Nat grew up in New England and studied geology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While he never showed a strong affinity for plants growing up, his father was a horticulturalist and Nat always enjoyed visits to nurseries and asking his dad to name every plant. After graduating, Nat felt drawn to Washington State’s deep forests and active geologic landscape. He worked at a busy grocery store in Seattle and found that he enjoyed the community interaction aspect of the job and building relationships around food with people of all sorts. During his free time, he hiked and skied around Western Washington as much as he could, and when not outside, he learned about the geologic history of the area through YouTube videos made by a local professor. These experiences inspired his awe of the vibrancy and intricacy of Western Washington ecosystems as well as the value in community-based, localized, and accessible learning.

He also began to care for plants of his own, originally just house plants, but moving on to vegetables, which led him to read more about the soil microbiome and community-based, regenerative agriculture. Nat realized that his interests had broadened immensely and he wanted a focused and structured environment to continue learning. The Master of Environmental Studies program at Evergreen with its focus on interdisciplinarity and place-based learning seemed like a natural fit. Nat is very excited by the opportunity to work in a nursery setting and play a small part in the restoration of fragile local prairie ecosystems. He is also excited to learn from his fellow coordinators and incarcerated partners and see where these experiences lead.