October 14, 2022

We recently caught up with Ryder Burliss, an alum from Restoration Ecology in 2019. Ryder is an avid surfer, mountain biker, backpacker and traveler. And in May of 2022 Ryder graduated from University of California Berkeley with a BA in Environmental Earth Science and a minor in Environmental Economics and Policy. Congratulations Ryder!

Woman graduating from college

This June, Ryder moved with her sister to San Diego, CA. Over the summer Ryder worked as a surf instructor in Encinitas, CA, a server at a local restaurant, and as a nanny. But really, Ryder is looking for her first professional job in conservation.

“I’m trying to pull my minor forward to find a job in policy, with a science background,” she says. “I’m looking for consulting jobs with private firms or governmental agencies, and environmental project management positions.”

In an ideal world, Ryder wants to work for someone like the California Coastal Commission, helping to conserve the surf breaks that she also loves to ride on her surfboard. She wants to put her skills to work! In addition to her field experience on Restoration Ecology, she was able to build her resume and skill set by taking experiential lab courses at sites around Berkeley. “One of my final projects in school was working with a world-class researcher on a fish project in the Strawberry Creek watershed. We captured fish with a stunner, weighed them, processed them, and released them again. Then later we did some data processing to see the population dynamics, it was really interesting.” Readers of WRFI newsletters can find new job postings every month – but if you know of a job in coastal conservation, send it to WRFI and we’ll pass it along to Ryder!

Ryder recently went on a 3-day backpacking trip with her best friend from college and another friend, both named Madeline. Ryder and the Madelines hiked 20 miles out and back and gained 5,000 feet of elevation in Los Padres National Forest near Big Sur, CA. Their destination: Sykes Hot Springs (sounds great!).

“There were lots of Redwoods,” she says. “This trail has been closed for 5 years because of a forest fire, so we saw the ecosystem rebounding after the burn. There was a whole baby green nursery of new pines growing back in the understory, and a lot of the mature redwoods had been charred, but were still alive. And, there was a lot of poison oak, way more than I’ve seen before, so it seems like that’s an early successional species. And the hot springs were amazing – I had never been somewhere like that! This water is warmed by the earth!”

Thanks for catching up with us Ryder. We’re excited and confident that you will land a job in coastal conservation soon. Keep it wild, and stay in touch!