First Day on the Job: Today, ESLT Welcomes Two New AmeriCorps Members for 2014!

ESLT is pleased to announce that we will be hosting not one, but TWO AmeriCorps Members for the full 2014 service term! Today is Sara Kokkelenberg and Ali Amberg’s first day on the job at the ESLT office; they will be working together to protect the Eastern Sierra’s natural resources. As with previous ESLT AmeriCorps members, Sara and Ali will focus on restoration projects, watershed education and outreach, and volunteer organization. In addition, they will help expand ESLT’s Community Connections program by working on projects in southern Inyo County. Sara and Ali hope to inspire Inyo County’s youth by introducing fun, educational activities that teach the importance of preserving our agricultural heritage, clean watersheds, and scenic spaces.


Sara Kokkelenberg

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A fan of long hikes and camping, Sara also loves to travel, dance, take pictures, share stories, and attend costume parties – all of which we hope to catch her doing in the Eastern Sierra once she has settled into her new home!

Sara grew up in the Chicagoland area and received her undergraduate degree from American University in International Relations and Russian Studies. Her education took her to Western Europe where she studied solar and wind energy designs, the Smart Grid power system in Denmark, and the ice sheet in Greenland. She also lived and worked as an English teacher in Russia and spent a summer collecting recipes from Russian grandmothers and market vendors for allrecipes.com.

While hosting a couchsurfer this past summer, she was introduced to the SNAP program and believed she had found her ideal step forward. She feels honored to work for ESLT and is looking forward to afternoons spent with youth in the ESLT sunflower garden and time in the field working on restoration projects.

Ali Amberg

Ali_A     Add caption text After graduating from UC Berkeley, Ali taught at Sarah's Science summer camp, Treasure Island Job Corps Center and St. Paul's Episcopal School before a Student Conservation Association internship whisked her away to Juneau, Alaska.

After graduating from UC Berkeley, Ali relocated to Juneau, Alaska for a Student Conservation Association internship. She then moved to the tiny rural French town of Rodez, where she taught English, before the mountains called her back once again to Alaska – and now, the Eastern Sierra.

Growing up by the beach, Ali dreamed of the forest. Spoiled by the tangerine sunsets, she sought darker, cooler places, where she could upturn logs and find squirming life underneath.

Ali cultivated her green thumb while volunteering at Oakland-based Urban Gardens (OBUGS). She helped OBUGS students plant veggies and taught them how to cook simple, healthy meals from their garden harvests. The curiosity of her students inspired her to continue seeking non-traditional educational settings and alternative teaching frameworks.

She is excited to call Bishop her new home and looks forward to uniting her interests in local food, conservation, and beautiful places. When not trout fishing in the backcountry, you may find her thinning kale seedlings, cooking for a potluck, or on the road to some secret hot springs.


Although Sara has been here on the Eastside long enough to find an apartment, Ali is still in search of housing. If you know of a room or apartment that is (or will soon be) available, please help us get her settled in – call us at (760) 873-4554 and we’ll pass on the word!

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