Conservation through Education

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“Principia is a small community with a big wingspan,” comments Stephanie Little (C’03), who majored in environmental studies. “Principia gave me a global understanding that inspired me to make this world a better place,” she continues. “I credit my biology professors, Coach Lee Ellis, and my house mom Treanna Clinton for providing a whole man education and preparing me with life skills, community awareness, and a sense of purpose.”

That well-rounded training set Little up for a flawless transition to her work as an environmental scientist for California State Parks, where she has been making a visible difference for the past 10 years.

Little devotes her time to monitoring and protecting endangered species and their habitats. For example, Share the Shore is a coastal stewardship program Little implemented to increase public awareness of threatened snowy plovers nesting on local shores. Thanks in part to her efforts, there are now over 30 miles of California beaches lined with bilingual signs and children’s depictions of plovers and other shorebirds. These signs educate the public about the importance of habitat conservation and shorebird recovery and, as a result, reduce trespassing in nesting areas.

Little’s efforts to protect the environment aren’t limited to her day job, however. Since 2006, she has served as a board member for the Morro Coast Audubon Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bird and habitat conservation. And she was recently elected to the National Audubon Society Board of Directors as regional director for California, Hawaii, and Guam.

No doubt, that level of community service contributed to the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation’s 2012 selection of Little for a Top 20 under 40 award, which honors professional excellence and commitment to community.