2023 Candidate Marissa Llosa
Houston Parks Board
Candidate for: Member of the Board of Professional Certification
As the Conservation Manager for the Houston Parks Board, my focus is the conservation of our natural resources within the boundaries of the Houston’s Bayou Greenway system—a 150 linear mile trail system with associated 2900 acres of green space spread across the seven major bayou system in the city of Houston.
I have also previously worked as an Extension Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for 19 years completing wetland restoration around Galveston Bay. My role with Extension allowed me to create the Wetland Restoration Team-a volunteer crew of Master Naturalist volunteers, whose major accomplishment included the restoration of several hundred acres of prairie wetlands at Sheldon Lake State Park. In my previous role as the Conservation Coordinator for the Galveston Bay Foundation, I restored wetlands along Brays Bayou, Sims Bayou, Buffalo Bayou, San Jacinto River and various bay systems within Galveston Bay. As part of the Field Ecology group at the International Crane Foundation, I also restored native prairie in Wisconsin. The experience and skills built in these roles helps me manage the restored grasslands and wetlands today as part of the Bayou Greenways.
I graduated from Brown University with a B.S. in Aquatic Biology and a B.A. in English Literature, and recently completed my Master of Science within the Ecosystem Sciences and Management department of Texas A&M University. My thesis focused on the changes in vegetation recruitment and establishment within a restored wetland complex.
What interests, experience or skills would you bring to this position?
I have always enjoyed teaching and sharing my knowledge with others, particularly if I could share about wetlands. Wetlands, both their functions and values, have always been a passion of mine. Walking through a newly restored wetland ponds identifying key plants species for students while being circled by dragonflies on the hunt has been my therapy from the everyday stresses of life. Communicating the benefits of wetlands has been an integral part of that instruction. Helping students see the incredible importance of these habitats is a life-long mission. I believe that kind of personal connection to the land is a key aspect to the work of conservationists; and I feel it is important to foster that connection in trainings and other professional development. This is especially relevant for younger ecologists as they expand the breath of their experiences in conservation.
How would you support ESA’s mission? How would you plan to promote DEIJ in ESA membership and activities if elected?
I would want to ensure that ESA continues to evaluate new and innovative ways to promote ecological science in training and professional development opportunity for all members, while also trying to find ways to increase membership from a larger population spectrum. I would solicit input from my existing partners like American Youthworks and Student Conservation Association to identify means for recruiting new memberships and/or develop more widely accessible training.