WATER Institute Director
Kate Lundquist (She/Her) co-directs the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center’s WATER Institute and the Bring Back the Beaver Campaign in Sonoma County, California. Kate is a conservationist, educator, ecological artist and wildland tender. Kate collaborates with landowners, communities, conservation organizations and resource agencies to uncover obstacles, identify strategic solutions, and generate restoration recommendations to assure healthy watersheds, water security, listed species recovery and climate change resiliency. In addition to providing species management consultations, Kate writes about and gives presentations across the west on the importance of beaver stewardship to watershed restoration.
On Staff Since: 2005 Email > Phone: x118
In Their Own Words
My work at OAEC:
I manage the WATER Institute’s Bring Back the Beaver Campaign, conduct research, run our citizen-science initiatives, educate the public through presentations, and collaborate with multi-stakeholder groups and decision-makers to advocate for policy change. I help implement and write about the appropriate technologies that make up our Conservation Hydrology Demonstration Site. I sit on the Advisory Board of The Beaver Institute.
Why my work matters:
Water is life, so I’m helping others to cultivate hydrologic literacy and adopt innovative strategies to restore and protect the watersheds we live in. By modifying our behavior to lessen impacts on this precious resource, we can ensure greater food and water security and improve climate change resiliency for all.
I am a life-long learner and artist. I contribute to watershed health through making functional art with natural materials. I deepen my knowledge of the ecology of place through tending and harvesting and preserving the wild foods, medicines and materials each ecosystem generously provides. I gather and process local domestic and wild materials (wool, gourds, wood, pine needles, shells, antler and brain-tanned hides) to make felted, woven and hand sewn clothing, footwear, vessels, bags, straps and adornments. Every year I take several weeks to “go feral”—to wander in the mountains and the desert, relying as much as possible on things I have made myself. I do all of this alongside amazing colleagues, friends, family and my partner Kevin.
My favorite resiliency resource:
I have become much more resilient in life and effective in my work through a self-inquiry process called The Work of Byron Katie.
The best advice I ever received was:
“Don’t believe everything you think.”
How I regenerate:
I can’t be an effective Earth steward if I don’t take good care of myself. Whether it’s in my wood-fired outdoor bathtub or the many wild hot springs I visit annually, soaking in hot water is by far the most rejuvenating practice I know. I backpack in the wilderness several times a year. I feed my desire for deepening my skill set by regularly attending and sometimes teaching at ancestral skills gatherings across the west. Giving myself periods of unstructured time to just be is one of my favorite forms of medicine.