The Coastal Watershed Council is a dynamic and growing non-profit based in Santa Cruz, CA, working to transform the lower San Lorenzo River into a community destination by inspiring people to explore, enhance and protect this critical natural resource. As the CWC’s Outreach and Development Manager, Laurie plays an important leadership role in nurturing and celebrating Downtown Santa Cruz’ greatest natural resource.
Downtown: How do you nurture community Downtown?
Laurie: I nurture community downtown through my work for the San Lorenzo River. I just think it’s so important that community is, especially as part of the urban landscape, include natural elements and we’re so lucky here in Santa Cruz, have two miles of an urban river front where we can walk, bike, connect with nature hear birds see kids playing and really enjoy the outdoors right in the heart of downtown. I nurture community by bringing people to the river to experience nature, to take a break from all of our busy lives and our cell phones and our screens and really come out doors and slow down for a moment, relax and connect to the environment.
Downtown: How do you think being a woman business owner changes how you do business?
I think being a woman changes the way I do business through the way I think about safety in our public spaces. I personally have been in public spaces in Santa Cruz and elsewhere where I’ve felt unsafe and I know that it takes urban design and it takes best practices and it takes lots of positive activity to really change that in our public spaces, so I’ve learned those lessons from personal experience. I’ve learned those lessons from research and best practices and I work to really apply those lessons to my work for the San Lorenzo River.
Downtown: What are your favorite thing that you do every day in your business?
Laurie: One of my favorite things that I do every day is actually visiting the San Lorenzo River. We just moved the coastal watershed councils office right to the banks of the San Lorenzo River, so I get to have lunch in San Lorenzo Park and take a walk on the river walk every day and I think we’re just so fortunate here in Santa Cruz to have this urban riverfront where we can take those breaks and we can be in nature even if it’s just for 10 minutes as a part of our experience in downtown Santa Cruz.