Kalai grew up with a deep love for the Southwest, specifically the biodiverse mountain regions of Arizona where she regularly visited and the desert lands she grew up in. She believes that Arizona holds some of the most incredible and captivating geographical features ranging from mixed-conifer filled peaks, rare riparian habitats, and the famous saguaros. Therefore, she has a strong dedication to giving her all for protecting our natural areas. And to work with a passion for water conservation, which is needed now more than ever in the Southwest.
Kalai received her Bachelor of Science, Forestry with a minor in Biology, and an emphasis in Ecological Restoration and Wildlife Ecology & Management from Northern Arizona University. She has worked with aquatic ecology in Oak Creek and the Verde River in the past as a research assistant. This experience ignited her passion for joining the Oak Creek Watershed Council years ago, after a summer of fieldwork along Oak Creek. This is where she witnessed first-hand the degradation of habitat from trash left behind carelessly and consistently, as well as the continuous heavy use of social trails.
Kalai believes that through engaging visitors, local communities, and most importantly, youth; we can work together towards a sustainable future that allows for both humans, flora, and fauna to coexist harmoniously in our natural environment.
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”—Aldo Leopold