Our E-Interview with AmeriCorps Member Celia Dávalos

A recent graduate of U. C. Berkeley, Celia Dávalos from Los Angeles County is the new AmeriCorps member assigned to the Wellfleet Conservation Trust and Conservation Commission.  We did the following e-mail interview to get to know more about her. 

What are some of your first impressions of Wellfleet?

Wellfleet so far has been very reminiscent of home to me; its people are very open and friendly like the folks in my hometown.  The natural beauty, however, is truly special and unique and I feel so fortunate that I get to serve here in my backyard because there is so much to see!

Any comparisons between Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean and beaches?

The beaches here on the opposite coast from what I’m used to are so neat because of how they seem so inconspicuous and tame compared to the Pacific Ocean waters. But, the two tides a day are something that will take getting used to and how close seals, sharks, whales and other marine animals come up so close to the shoreline!

What services you will be offering to the Conservation Commission and the Conservation Trust?

I will be serving alongside the Conservation Trust in a manner of performing inspections on Conservation lands and creating detailed maps using GPS and GIS.  Through the Health and Conservation Department, I get to travel with the Conservation Committee and learn from the members about new things I may not have been aware of before, and travel to beautiful sites throughout town!  I’ve been to nearly every pond in Wellfleet so far, most of the beaches, and some trails on Conservation Trust Lands.  Spectacle Pond is the most awe-striking to me of all the places I’ve visited.

What are some of the trails or places you’ve been to so far?

I’ve been to nearly every pond in Wellfleet so far, most of the beaches, and some trails on Conservation Trust Lands.  Spectacle Pond is the most awe-striking to me of all the places I’ve visited.

How are you doing with accommodations at the AmeriCorps house?

So far, I have loved having the opportunity to live in such a well-loved, historic, and traditionally New England home. We have a beautiful wood burning stove, and when I first arrived, I had never built a fire before in my life. Now, I build fires almost nightly in it for myself and my housemates to enjoy. 

Have you cooked for everyone yet?   If so, what did you make?

I have already cooked dinner for everyone in my house with my housemate Nick. We made sweet potato and black bean enchiladas which were a hit!

How did you like the Oyster Fest this past weekend?  Did you eat oysters?  Learn how to shuck shellfish?

I had a blast at Oyster Fest! There was beautiful weather all weekend, though Saturday was slightly overwhelming with the amount of people that showed up because of that! I was able to serve on both days, sorting recycling on Saturday and assisting with the Shuck and Run 5K on Sunday morning. I spent all of Sunday eating as many oysters as I could, hitting up 5 different vendors selling them! I still don’t know how to properly shuck an oyster, but I hope that by the end of my service term, that is a skill I leave the Cape with.

Are you looking forward to winter in New England and snow activities? 

Having lived in California all my life, I have never properly experienced all four seasons and the sound of winter on Cape Cod has been a bit daunting to me.  But, I have been given the same advice from different people: “layers!” I hope to get to experience snowfall for the first time and plan on fully embracing the cold winter months and participate in all the fun activities that there is to do! 

Tell us a little more about your experience of travelling to Cuba.

Travelling to Cuba for study abroad was so special mostly because it was my first time abroad in a new place all by myself, and the university program provided some remarkable opportunities. I was able to visit all the major cities of the island and traveled the entirety of the country. The people and seemingly untouched natural beauty of the places I got to experience are memories I reflect on often.

What were some of your favorite classes or teachers in high school, the community college and Berkeley?

Community college was where I completed all of my general education courses through an Honors track which allowed me to able to dip my toes in various subjects and get to know my professors and peers really well through the small class sizes. This was also where I solidified my choice in my major, so when I transferred to Berkeley to complete my degree, I took classes that were upper division and explorative. Berkeley was my dream school, and the academic experience was more prodigious than what I could have ever expected. Living in Berkeley was also the first time I had ever lived away from home, and experiencing the Bay area was complementary to my growing and learning experience.

Who or what have given you inspiration for conservation of the natural world?

Post-high school was really a time for me to experience some growing pains in the challenging of my thoughts and ideas of my then-scope of the world. From the people I have interacted with and the new ways in which I have experienced my world, I have a greater appreciation for the natural world and believe it should be something that everyone is consciously working to conserve and contribute to.

Did your family play a role in your interest in nature?    

My parents have raised my siblings and I to be curious and ask questions. My mother is an elementary school teacher/my personal hero and planted the seed in mine and my three younger siblings’ minds to love and appreciate our natural world.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?   In 10 years?

I had plans post-college graduation to serve in an AmeriCorps program but did not know about the Cape Cod placement until a few months before the application opened.  I am so excited to be here, learn as much as I can and be present during the rest of these nine months.  I have plans to someday return to school and pursue a law degree, but who’s to say what will actually happen!

Welcome, Celia!  We can’t wait to see what will happen during your year in Wellfleet.

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