Xitlali Herrera

Conservation Program Coordinator                                                                          MES Program, The Evergreen State College

Xitlali comes to us from the small agricultural town of Granger located in Eastern Washington. Following graduation, Xitlali moved to Pullman, WA to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Sciences at Washington State University with intentions to become a Veterinarian. While at WSU, Xitlali studied abroad in Costa Rica and was captivated by the biodiversity, the country’s focus on sustainability, and the symbiotic co-existence with nature that Costa Ricans demonstrated. She had already started to consider switching majors to Wildlife Ecology and it was this trip that had confirmed this desire for her. Growing up, Xitlali recalls the road trips, visits to state parks, and camping trips that her and her family would do. It was in the outdoors where she felt most alive and at peace.  She wants to protect that. Not only for future generations but the life that currently calls these environments home as well. Xitlali later earned her Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.

After college, Xitlali jumped right into the environmental field serving with Glacier Peak Institute as a Forestry Crew intern and with Washington Conservation Corps as a crew member. Both experiences enhanced Xitlali’s appreciation for the environment, people, and what both can teach us. In these positions, Xitlali planted & maintained numerous native plants, built & restored trail, improved salmon habitat, responded to disasters, and collected data on forage fish populations in the Puget Sound. All of this was in partnership with the Forest Service, Department of Ecology, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Xitlali joined the MES program with interests in studying environmental justice and restoration ecology. During her experiences, Xitlali has recognized the growing need to diversify the environmental field and the outdoors, as communities of color are disproportionally affected by pollution, climate change, have a lack of green spaces, and so on.  Xitlali is excited to contribute to the SPP program, bring environmental education into prisons, and empower incarcerated individuals to see themselves as scientists and stewards.