Karen Jones used to guide tourists, conservationists and hikers through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and got her start in college. “When I was 18, I went on a backpacking trip with my college. It was my college with Westmont College in Santa Barbara, and they had a trip. It was a 10 day backpacking trip before you started school and you got college credits. I signed up for it. I had never done anything like it at all. All I remember was you have an older brother that had gotten into backpacking when he was in college, and I remember going to drop him off at a trailhead to do the John Muir Trail. And it was sort of my first time being up in the mountains, dropping him off and sending him off backpacking. And I was like, oh my gosh, it's so beautiful out here. I want to do something like that someday. And the opportunity to do this trip came up. And so I went on as a student, did a 10 day backpacking trip, and it was just a great time. So after college, I went back and worked for that company that did the trip, Sierra Treck. You know, when you're on those trips, you learn a lot about and come to just really appreciate how precious our natural resources are and how beautiful the back country in the mountains and everything is. And so I just have always had a joy for enjoying the outdoors, but also of trying to help take care of it as well. A true conservationist.