Get to know our staff! Jessica Dyke, our Program Associate

The Sierra Fund is lucky to have a staff dedicated to serving the Sierra Nevada region. Get to know the staff! Meet Jessica Dyke, our Program Associate.

What is your favorite place in the Sierra Nevada and why?

Kirkwood and Carson Pass. This area was my refuge from the bustling SF city life for many years before I was able to move to the Sierra. It’s where I fell in love with snowboarding and began to explore backcountry on my splitboard. It remains one of my happy places.

Mountain bike trails in South Lake Tahoe: Armstrong Pass & Connector, Cold Creek, Star Lake, Monument Pass, TRT, Toads, Stinger, Tahoe Mountain, Marlette Flume. I love going deep into the woods on my bike, and Tahoe singletrack is top notch. I recently visited and did a quick loop on Fountain Place Rd and Corral Trail for the first time since the Caldor Fire. I needed to see the burn and feel the forest in her transformed phase. The breeze smelled of ash, and my heart swelled with undiluted love and nostalgia. If you love something deeply enough and the connection is true, burns and scars won’t diminish that bond.

How long have you been working at The Sierra Fund, and how did you end up here?

3 months. After leaving my 16.5-year career at USGS as a hydrologist turned technical publications editor, I worked at West Creek Ranch in Montana for 5 months, then an intuitive whisper led me to New Mexico for several months. Although I loved exploring these amazing places, the Sierra were calling me back home. I saw the The Sierra Fund job ad and read up on their impressive mission. I knew I’d be a good fit for this multifaceted role with my ability to be versatile and wear a lot of different professional hats at once, so upon being offered the job, I journeyed back to California to begin my adventure in the nonprofit world. 

 Projects you’re working on that you’re most excited about?

I’m stoked on an upcoming process-based restoration training I’m helping to organize on building beaver dam analogs in a remote fire-impacted meadow in Plumas County.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Road trips, camping, mountain biking, snowboarding, splitboarding, SUP’ing, whitewater inflatable kayaking, hammock time, being near and in lakes and streams, dancing and vibing to live music, wearing bright colors, thrift store shopping, taking photos of nature, and going on walks to look for cats to greet.

Anything else people should know about you?   I’m obsessed with color and fantasize about being an artist. I love high elevations and northern latitudes. In early 2020, I treated myself to a winter vacation in Iceland, during which I spent 6 days with a small group on a sailboat in the Westfjords and took a dinghy to shore for daily splitboarding missions, solo road tripped as far north as I could get, and heli snowboarded on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula the day after a massive storm. To me, life is about discovering what sets your soul alight and aligning your life to experience as much of that as possible.