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Inspiration

Women Who Inspire Us: Emma Evans

March 14, 2012

Emma Evans is a lover of life.  You can see it in her face--and in the way she interacts with the world--exuding that elusive, infectious je ne sais quoi.  What's her secret?  Emma finds joy in so much: nature, fashion (we happen to know firsthand what a style-enthusiast she is), philanthropy, and community. She does what she loves and loves what she does.  Because of this inspiring lady, Ode chose Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary for our "Fashion with Compassion" campaign--we will be donating 5% of our profits to it this March.  Emma graciously agreed to educate us about the what/when/where/why of the organization, and to share some of the secrets behind her spirit.

Can you tell us a little about Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary?
Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the statewide non-profit, Mass Audubon. With the help of its generous members and dedicated volunteers, Mass Audubon protects over 34,000 acres of land – a number that is continuously growing. Each site is different, but Arcadia is a particularly special one. With approximately 700 protected acres of land, Arcadia is comprised of over five miles of trails, including one that is universally accessible. We offer an extensive education program that includes preschool, day camp, and a range of public programs for children, families, and adults. Arcadia is an incredible gem, set right between Northampton and Easthampton, easily accessible from main roads, and is the perfect place to come and learn about nature and wildlife, even if you don’t consider yourself an “outdoors person.” There is truly something for everyone here. The staff at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary also manage three other sites: Laughing Brook in Hampden, Lynes in Westhampton, and Graves Farm in Williamsburg.

How did you get started working at Arcadia, and what is your role there?
After a year of pursuing a master’s degree in Fashion Merchandising straight out of college, I decided to take some time off from school to reassess what makes me who I am. I started searching for jobs within organizations whose values align with my own. Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary was seeking a Visitor Services team member, and I applied for the job. I’ve been working for Mass Audubon at Arcadia for just about one year now. On any given day, I answer phones, take program registrations, share information about the benefits of a membership with Mass Audubon, as well as generate and manage a lot of the public relations around the sanctuary. I am currently growing in a role in fundraising and marketing the sanctuary. At the moment, our team is also working on planning the most fabulous gala dinner to celebrate the success of our great blue heron rookery, which is the where groups of herons nest in the springtime. We had 54 successful nests last year, and there are generally two baby birds per nest.

What are the best ways people can get involved or make contributions?
There are three great ways to get involved with Mass Audubon – become a member, contribute, or volunteer. A membership includes discounts on day camp and public programs, a subscription to Mass Audubon’s great publications like our Sanctuary and Connections magazines, as well as the ability to visit any of our sanctuaries free of charge as often as you’d like. Most importantly, becoming a member helps Mass Audubon fulfill its mission to protect the nature of Massachusetts. If you are able to contribute above the membership level of giving, the money goes directly to supporting your local sanctuary. When you make a gift to Arcadia, it goes directly to helping local children and adults, and protecting the local landscape. Because of our heavy involvement with our members and our incredibly small staff, the infrastructure cost is very low, which allows us to keep gifts in the education program or land stewardship. Arcadia is always in need of volunteers for a host of different projects. If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering, contact Jean Frances, Registrar and Volunteer Coordinator for Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary at jfrances@massaudubon.org.

Are there any upcoming events or programs you would like to mention?
There are three especially incredible events coming up! The first is “Big Night,” a family program at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on March 31st, beginning at 5:30 pm. This program is a great way to learn about vernal pools and the unique opportunity for breeding that they provide obligate vernal pool species, like salamanders, frogs, and fairy shrimp.

An opportunity for a hands-on experience helping out is our Statewide Volunteer Day, taking place on Saturday, April 28th. Two sanctuaries in this area will be participating – Laughing Brook and Arcadia. For more information, you can visit www.massaudubon.org, or email arcadia@massaudubon.org.
Last, but certainly not least, on Thursday, April 12th, we are holding a gala dinner at the Garden House at Look Park to celebrate the success of our great blue heron rookery. All ticket sales support land stewardship at Arcadia. This event is by registration only. If you’re interested in finding out more, send me an email at eevans@massaudubon.org.

Photo Credit: Leah Duran

Where do you find inspiration?
As you might imagine, I draw a lot of inspiration from nature. As far back as I can remember, I have loved drawing trees and leaves. In college, I would sketch them in the margins of my notebooks. The reverence I feel for nature is reflected in my style as well. I love simple, organic pieces of jewelry. My jewelry tree is adorned with pendants made of geode sections, bracelets carved into feathers, necklaces of silver and gold leaves, and one made of dried acai berries. My favorite piece used to belong to my Grandmother. It’s an heirloom silver cuff bracelet etched into the shape of a bald eagle with a piece of turquoise set in the center. I tend to choose garments made from rich, nature-hued textiles; silk patterned with gorgeous floral, loosely knit cotton dip-dyed in shades of blue, mimicking the sky or the ocean. I find it awe-inspiring that the rich purple mountains not so far off in the distance are the backdrop to my everyday life. It’s hard not to be inspired by the wonders of this vast, gorgeous planet!

Who is your role model?
I have so many role models. I especially admire my mother and father: both talented and gifted in completely different ways.

What is your dream project?
One of my deep passions is darkroom photography. I love hand-developing film and making prints. My visual studies usually surround different shapes and textures, and I love to photograph women. I have always wanted to shoot the cover of Vogue. Soon, I’ll actually be completing a more attainable dream project of mine – setting up a raised bed garden! I do my best to eat local, sustainable produce, and love the idea of subsistence farming!

What are your plans for the future?
In terms of the immediate future, my partner and I are lucky enough to have been offered the live-in caretaker position at another Mass Audubon sanctuary, Laughing Brook, in Hampden, MA. There, we hope to continue carrying out the organization’s mission of conservation, advocacy, and education in the Springfield area. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my love of nature, and continue to be inspired by the truly great things that Mass Audubon does for Massachusetts and our community.

One of my favorite places in the world, with my love. Happiness, love, beauty – so deeply inspiring.

What's your favorite line from a movie, song, or book? 
“The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost is a poem I’ve loved my whole life. My dad used to read it to me when I was young. My favorite part:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

If you were a piece of clothing, what would be and what color/pattern? 
I think I’d be a beautiful scarf. A dear friend recently told me that they’re my trademark piece!

What's the first line in a book about your life?
Gosh, I just don’t know…! I think you’ve got to know how it ends to know the beginning, right?

What is your favorite word, and why?
I love the word, “lively.” For me, it conjures up images of spring! Grass growing, buds opening, wind dancing lightly.

What's your go-to "happy" song? 
I absolutely adore the song, “Stay Young, Go Dancing,” by Death Cab for Cutie.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Be patient.

What super power would you like to have, and why?
I’d like to have the ability to be in two places at once! I’d love to be able to travel the world, while also remaining local and tending to my day-to-day responsibilities.

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I am so lucky to have a partner whose sense of humor keeps a constant ache in my cheeks from smiling so hard. We laugh every day. It’s a great life.