Nevada City, calif. April 15, 2021 – Longtime Executive Director of Sierra Streams Institute, Joanne Hild, stepped down from her position on Thursday. Joanne worked at the Institute from its inception as its first full-time staff. Leveraging her extensive scientific background Joanne presided over the transition of the local group Friends of Deer Creek into Sierra Streams Institute. For the next 20 years Joanne worked to establish Sierra Streams Institute as a regional leader in water science and environmental education. Sierra Streams has been awarded prestigious grants for its work, including from the National Science Foundation, partnering with important institutions like UC Davis.

A message from Joanne Hild

Joanne Hild

When I began as the first employee of Friends of Deer Creek over 20 years ago, I could never have imagined what it would look like today – a science-based environmental organization called Sierra Streams Institute that works with citizen scientists, tribal members and partners all over the country to restore regional watersheds, educate the community and protect its public health.

After over 2 decades as biologist and Executive Director of Sierra Streams, it is time for me to move on to other adventures.

Founded by a concerned group of local community members Sierra Streams has become a regional scientific organization monitoring water quality, restoring salmon habitat, cleaning up historical mining contaminants, implementing new methods to improve forest health and fire resilience, creating curriculum for outdoor science studies in schools, and other environmental projects. We have had numerous and significant accomplishments demonstrating how partnerships between community-based organizations, tribes, and government agencies can achieve shared goals.

I am proud of the work we have done together and am grateful to have collaborated with such an amazing team. It is not easy to leave Sierra Streams but I am excited to begin a new journey while carrying with me many fond memories. I cannot fully express my deep appreciation to the Board, staff, volunteers, donors and community for your encouragement and support.

What a wonderful and exhilarating time it has been!

Let’s meet soon for a cup of tea.


A message from the Sierra Streams Institure Board

Joanne was instrumental in creating the citizen science-based programs at Sierra Streams Institute, which have touched countless community members through volunteer and interpretive experiences. Many of these programs utilized stakeholder collaboration to monitor and then develop creative solutions to restore and protect our local waterways and landscapes. Such programs are now considered an important part of raising environmental awareness and creating environmental stewardship nationwide.

Sierra Streams Institute will miss Joanne’s devotion to her job and her community. Her passion for science, protecting the natural world, and working with community have been the hallmark of Sierra Streams over her 20 years of service with the organization. We wish her all the best in her future pursuits.

During this transition, SSI welcomes Jeff Lauder as Interim Executive Director. Jeff has a PhD in Quantitative and Systems Biology and has over a decade of experience in working to study and manage Sierra Nevada ecosystems to increase resilience to stress. He first worked with Sierra Streams Institute as a Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) member in 2012 and is excited to come full circle to help guide SSI through this transition.

In addition, Nancy Fleming has stepped down as Board President after six years of service but will remain as a member at large. Lang Waters has been elected as of April 1, 2021 to succeed her in leading the Board.

Parting Thoughts:

Joanne is a scientist extraordinaire! She has so positively impacted the Sierra Nevada, which will be of significant value long into the future. Best wishes in your next chapter, my friend.
-Nancy Fleming, Board of Directors

I fell in love with Sierra Streams a few years ago when they partnered with the Young Composers Project at Music In The Mountains. I was there, at that moment in time, when the teen composers got to hear their own compositions, played by a live orchestra, and set to film for the very first time for the KVIE special, “River Music.” It was a moment of sheer beauty.”
-Louise Johnson, Board of Directors

I was attracted to Sierra Streams Institute because of its emphasis on the practice and teaching of science. This is a clear result of Joanne’s unwavering scientific focus throughout her time as Executive Director, and is the legacy she leaves SSI and our community.
-Bob Branstrom, PhD, Board of Directors

I found Sierra Streams Institute through the California Naturalist course. That course did much to re-ignite my desire to dig deeper into the science of the environment we live in–the biology, geology, botany, everything. The staff I encountered were all amazing, and the more I learned about SSI, the more I wanted to be a part of it. Joanne’s wholehearted dedication has built an organization of real relevance to our community, helping to create stewards of our local watershed from K-12 to retirees.
-Lang Waters, President, Board of Directors

Joanne was an early mentor in my environmental career. She brought me in to SSI and encouraged me to explore scientifically as a SNAP member and then later as staff Ecologist. Her mentorship and approach to our field really instilled in me the significant things you can accomplish at the nexus of science, management, and community.
-Jeff Lauder, PhD, Interim Executive Director

Joanne’s constant dedication and positivity as the Executive Director fueled Sierra Streams Institute for decades. Her devotion and fervor to pursue research that benefitted our local community is what attracted me to this organization. I feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside someone who was effortlessly encouraging and instilled so much confidence in my abilities since the day we met.
-Taylor Schobel, Rural Health Coordinator