Meet Jeremy May, MSI's Americorps VISTA, community coordinator, and resident rock climber.
MSI: What do you love about living and working in the San Juan Mountains?
JM: I love our access to public lands, both in the mountains and in the desert.
MSI: What kind of projects do you work on for MSI? What is your favorite project that you work on and why?
JM: I work with youth and the public, providing opportunities to learn and get involved with our San Juan Mountain ecology and issues impacting the health of our environment. One of my favorite projects is working with motivated high school students from all over the San Juans through our summer Experience Mountain Science Program (xMSP). xMSP is an intensive, two-week field course in which students learn from and work alongside numerous local experts and land managers working on important conservation oriented projects such as invasive weed control, wetland restoration, and a pine beetle survey with the forest service. The curiosity, passion, and intelligence of these young future leaders is inspiring. It gives me hope for the future of our planet.
MSI: What is your most memorable, rewarding, challenging, or awkward experience from your time at MSI?
JM: One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had with MSI was during our xMSP field course. We were camping on Reservoir Hill on the last night of the program when we witnessed two awesome and powerful displays of nature. First we witnessed a nearby tree being struck by lightning, leaving an amazing scar all the way down the tree where bark and wood exploded away from the trunk. During this intense lightning storm we hunkered down, making sure that the students were as safe as possible but forgetting some of our gear outside, including a student’s day pack that got left in our camp kitchen. Sure enough, a hungry bear came by and ransacked the pack, leaving evidence strewn down the hillside. We found most of the contents, but despite a thorough search the next morning the backpack was nowhere to be found. If you see a bear near Pagosa wearing a purple day-pack, you’ll know where it got it!
MSI: What do you think is the most exciting change MSI has undergone in the last 15 years? (or in the time you've been with MSI?)
JM: There is a ton of work to do, but MSI has been growing fast to meet the demand! I have only been with MSI since January, 2017, and I have already seen five talented new recruits join the team since then. The strategic growth of our diverse and motivated team is what I find most exciting. I feel grateful and honored to be part of such a strong team.