While working for the U.S. Forest Service, Colin Meston has volunteered with NCLC in various capacities over the years.
North Coast Land Conservancy is expanding its stewardship capacity with the newest addition to the team. Colin Meston, who started in January, is joining Eric Owen as a Land Steward, bringing a wealth of knowledge about forest systems and biodiversity.
Colin grew up in Eugene, Oregon. During his time at Lane Community College, he took a series of botany courses and traveled to southern Oregon to conduct plant surveys. Through these experiences, he developed an enjoyment for working outdoors and realized it could be a potential career path. He then attended Oregon State University to get his degree in environmental science.
Colin spent the next several years working for various federal agencies doing habitat surveys and research, long-term vegetation monitoring, and inventorying natural resources in places such as Olympic National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Haleakalā National Park. This data was used for creating maps and helping to inform land-management decisions.
While working in Hawaii, he obtained his master’s degree in natural resources from OSU. After graduating, he moved back to Oregon to work for the U.S. Forest Service at their Pacific Northwest Research Station based out of Portland.
“I’ve always had a conservationist approach to things,” Colin says. “The more you start looking around, the more you see that things are interconnected, and we are interconnected too. … How we manage things has an impact, what we do has meaning.”
In 2015, he moved to Astoria with his partner, although he was still traveling regularly and working remotely for surveying projects around the Olympic Peninsula for the Forest Service, in addition to other research and data processing.
“Being employed in such a capacity, you get to see all these wonderful places,” he says.
He became acquainted with NCLC after moving to Astoria, as he was looking for opportunities to connect and get involved in the community. During the winters, when he had time off from his professional field season, he volunteered for NCLC’s stewardship activities. He also served on NCLC’s conservation committee and as the site steward for the Crosel Creek Habitat Reserve in Astoria.
In the fall of 2022, he was contracted to oversee NCLC’s restoration project on Boneyard Ridge Habitat Reserve.
Throughout his professional experiences, he’s developed an affinity for working to restore former industrial timberlands so they provide a higher quality of habitat for plants and wildlife. Meanwhile, he’s observed the growth of land conservancies and watershed councils across the region, which has extended conservation concepts to communities at large.
“It’s helped to reconnect people to their natural environment,” Colin says. “They’ve been able to do things more creatively. … I see that as an evolution of the conservation movement. We’ve seen it’s just not enough to protect one isolated spot. It’s not going to provide rich water-quality resources and old-growth habitat for biodiverse species. We should also protect the natural resources and environment around our communities.”