Stories from the Field

Board Spotlight: Lisa Holmes

Combined Shape Copy Created with Sketch.
Lisa Holmes in the outdoors.

Lisa Holmes is Vice President of the Hunter Grubb Foundation, a founding board member of GreenWave and a NatureBridge Mid-Atlantic regional board member. She has worked with grassroots and community efforts to transform the local food system in Connecticut for over a decade, including chairing the the board of CitySeed. Lisa is currently serving as President of the board of the Pleiades Network, which envisions widespread and equal representation of women in all levels of leadership influencing positive progress toward sustainability. 

It is young people who inspire me and give me hope for the future.
Lisa Holmes

Why do you think NatureBridge programming on the east coast is important?

Although I’ve lived in Connecticut for almost thirty years, I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are so many spectacular public lands—including regional and national parks—within a relatively short distance to metropolitan areas where I grew up. It feels much different here on the East coast, especially along the northeast corridor. Urban and even suburban children just don’t get the same access to nature that I did in California. A large part of that can be explained by our climate, but people just have a different relationship with the outdoors here. 

Why do you give to NatureBridge?

I support NatureBridge because of its mission to grow the next generation through experiential learning; that the programs take place in our national parks is an added bonus. Providing all young people, regardless of circumstance, with the opportunity to be immersed in nature is crucial. Similarly, I have found that the best way to engage and inform supporters is to just get them out to one of our campuses. I’ve taken groups of my friends and colleagues to both Prince William and Yosemite to see the programs in session. It’s the intangible quality of our educators that sets NatureBridge apart; all it takes is a few hours observing staff with students out in the field to understand that. Our trips have generated some wonderful memories; I will share that among certain colleagues there is now a signature cocktail inspired by my graceful fall into the creek in Prince William Forest called the “Quantico Splash” (served on the rocks!).

Why does this cause matter to you? Why now?

Although my work is at the intersection of climate change and food & agriculture, I come from a family of educators, so giving to an environmental education organization fits into my philanthropic profile. Confronting climate change has become such a politicized and divisive subject these days that I believe we need to focus on developing the critical skills of cooperation, and NatureBridge’s curriculum reflects that. We have the science and knowledge to turn this current trajectory around, but it will take all nations working together to manage our earth’s wild places and natural resources. Given the current state of affairs in global diplomacy, I feel an even stronger sense of urgency about raising stewards to be effective communicators.

What makes you hopeful?

Being in the natural world is my happy place, even in the Quantico Creek! In the end, I want my children to know that I did what I could to address the escalating threat to the planet that they will inherit. It is young people, especially activists such as Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the featured speaker at our 2018 annual Gala who is speaking out for environmental justice, who inspire me and give me hope for the future.

Check out these other