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Director’s Notes – June 2021: Introducing the newest additions to the HCA team

Dear Hill Country Neighbors,

Our people make our work possible. From paid staff to local volunteers, board members, and partners across the region, it is the people of the Hill Country that inspire our most creative solutions. In that vein, it is with great pride and excitement that I write today to introduce you to the newest members of the HCA team.

As you can see from the brief bios below, we are incredibly fortunate to be adding technical expertise as well as passion for our work. By deepening our staff list, we will accelerate the impact HCA is having all across the Hill Country. I hope you’ll consider them as an additional resource for you and your community as we collectively look for ways to grow while protecting all we know and love about the Hill Country.

Sydney Beckner - HCA Water Program ManagerSydney Beckner started full time as HCA’s Water Program Manager in May. Prior to joining HCA Sydney worked for the Texas Water Resources Institute at Texas A&M, where she focused on community engagement around water management decisions. Sydney is particularly excited to work with rural communities in accessing new funding sources to improve water infrastructure.

Dawn Davies - HCA Night Sky Program CoordinatorDawn Davies joined HCA in late April as the Night Sky Program Coordinator – our first full time staff dedicated to our Night Skies Program. Picking up the great work done by Amy Jackson for HCA, Dawn brings a deep passion for astronomy to this role. Before joining HCA, she served on the board of the Austin Astronomical Society and as a volunteer advocate for the International Dark-Sky Association.

Leah Cuddeback joined HCA in October of 2018 and currently serves in a joint position between HCA and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. Leah will be joining HCA full-time in July, in a brand-new position titled Storytelling and Community Outreach Manager. This new role will allow us to expand our work to tell the story of conservation in the Hill Country.

Marisa Bruno headshotMarisa Bruno is joining HCA as our first-ever Water Program Fellowthis summer. Marisa is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment, specializing in water resource management and policy. Her research focuses on Texas groundwater management and community water planning.

If you’re interested in deepening your own connection to the Hill Country Alliance, I hope you’ll consider joining us as a Sustaining Neighbor. By signing up to donate on a recurring monthly basis, you’ll ensure that the important work HCA does continues well into the future. As part of our mid-year appeal, we are aiming to double our Sustaining Neighbors in June – will you help us reach our goal?

Much like a sustaining donor on a public television or radio station, HCA’s Sustaining Neighbors give to HCA on a monthly basis. These recurring gifts can easily be auto-drafted from your credit card or bank account and can be adjusted or ended anytime. To become a Sustaining Neighbor simply go to our donations page and select “Make this a recurring donation.” Sign up now to sustain our work!
HCA board members smile in front of an oak tree

And if you want to take a step further, consider applying to be our newest board member! Our board brings passion, knowledge, and direction to everything we do as an organization. We strive to represent the full diversity of the Hill Country with our board, and are particularly interested in adding board members that come from the rural portions of our region, or who represent a traditionally under-served or underrepresented community.

If you are interested in joining the HCA Board, email info@hillcountryalliance.org to learn more. As always, you can always learn more about our staff and board on HCA’s website.

Thank you Neighbors, for all you do for HCA and the Hill Country,

Katherine Romans signature

Katherine Romans, Executive Director

P.S. The growing keeps going! HCA is also hiring an Education and Outreach Intern who will provide support to the whole HCA team by sharing relevant news and updates with HCA’s network of subscribers and partners. Outreach will be carried out on HCA’s website, newsletter, and social media accounts and will amplify both the work of HCA and our vast network of partners across the region. Click the banner below to learn more.