Aqua Team Restoration Force


In this third episode, host Emily Harwitz chats with José Juan Rodriguez and Verenice Sanchez about doing aquatic restoration in old growth redwood forests. Growing up in big cities, neither of them thought they’d one day be snorkeling beneath the redwoods or trekking along creeks to collect eDNA samples. But since then, they’ve followed their passions for nature and, after some surprising turns, have found their niches—their homes—in conservation.

Verenice “Nice” Sanchez

Verenice Sanchez is an aspiring restoration ecologist. She graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt with a BS degree in environmental science and management. A 2023 Redwood Rising Watershed Apprentice, she is currently working with the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office to monitor snowy plovers this nesting season. She enjoys gardening, Danza Mexica-Azteca, and soaking in hot springs. Find her on Instagram: @Parangaricutirimicuaraaa

José Juan Rodriguez

Growing up in a big city far away from the serene beauty of nature, José Juan felt a longing for a deeper connection with the world around him. This led him to pursue a career in Wildlife Biology Management & Conservation at Cal Poly Humboldt. Immersed in the ancient redwood forests, he was captivated by their unique flora and fauna. As he developed his own relationship with nature, he realized how many people back home were missing out on that, which inspired him to focus on helping others rebuild their connection with the natural world. Today, his goal is to ignite curiosity and foster a deeper appreciation for the great outdoors, whether it is through leading interpretive hikes, engaging with classrooms, or documenting his research. Find him on Linkedin.

Season 4, Episode 3 guests José Juan Rodriguez and Verenice Sanchez
Verenice Sanchez and José Juan Rodriguez.

Read Transcription

Episode 3: Aqua Team Restoration Force


Emily Harwitz (host), José Juan Rodriguez, Verenice Sanchez

Emily Harwitz 00:01

Well, howdy and welcome to another episode of I’ll Go If You Go. I’m your host, Emily Harwitz. On today’s episode, we’re heading back up to northern California to hear from two former Redwoods Rising watershed apprentices, José Juan Rodriguez and Verenice Sanchez, who spent their time in the field splashing around creeks, counting salmons, and getting wet. I was fascinated by both of their stories on how they got into working in the outdoors in the first place because it wasn’t the obvious choice for either of them. They were both apprentices last year. so where did they go next? What are they up to now? We’ll get to hear about that, too. We had planned to record in a redwood forest in Arcata, but it was raining so now we’re in the Save the Redwoods League office in McKinleyville.

[MUSIC fade]

Emily Harwitz 00:44

How’s it going? How are you both doing today?

Verenice Sanchez 00:45

Doing great! Excited to be here.

José Juan Rodriguez 00:48

Estoy muy agradecido de estar aquí. I’m very grateful to be here.

Emily Harwitz 00:51

How did you know you wanted to work in conservation?

José Juan Rodriguez 00:54

So for me, it was longing for something I never had. I grew up in a big city, I grew up in Mexico, and coming to the US, living in Long Beach, California—huge metropolitan area—it wasn’t until I went into my high school class and my teacher said, you know, if you could do anything in the world, what would you do? And how could you turn that into a career? And I thought, hey, I’d love to spend time outside. I’d love to, you know, breathe in the purest air I could. And then at like, 16,17, I found out that, hey, you can be a wildlife biologist. You can study zoology.

Emily Harwitz 01:35

How did you find out about those job options?

José Juan Rodriguez 01:38

Oh, you know, our teacher put us to work. She sent us to Google and she told us, by the end of the class, you have to have like 10 possible career choices. And of course, I was like, ‘oh, video game designer,’ or like, I don’t know, ‘NFL star.’ And then I was like, ‘zoology—like what?’ I love Steve Irwin. I know his work. And so it was very exciting to hear that that’s a career choice.

Verenice Sanchez 02:03

Yeah, so for me, I also grew up in a big metropolitan area. I was born in LA and I was raised there for quite a few years. I remember it was just like, all pavement and one tiny front yard that my grandma had and I would spend most of my time out there. That’s kind of where I developed this love and appreciation for the outdoors, and for bugs, and all things nature. And honestly, I really never thought that I would make it to have a degree in science. It all started for me when I was in junior college. I was actually a semester away from transferring out to get my degree in business administration and I was thinking to myself one day—I was just really sad, and not really feeling it, and had to ask myself, ‘is this what you want? Is this really what you want?’ 

I remember I was taking an environmental science class, and something inside me just lit up. I thought to myself, this makes me excited. I want to do this. And so I went to my counselor, and we talked about options. I was just excited and enamored with the idea of environmental science. That’s kind of what stood out to me. And after that, I transferred here—I mean, after a couple of years—and that’s how it started.

Emily Harwitz 03:23

Is there anyone else in your family who works in the environment? I’m wondering what your family thought when you chose to pursue these careers.

José Juan Rodriguez 03:31

Tu primero, man. You got to tell ’em. You got to tell ’em. [Verenice laughs]

Verenice Sanchez 03:34

Oh, man, um—no, short answer. My mom didn’t graduate high school and my dad has his GED. They were both very supportive. I have some extended family that went to university but nobody had ever tried to go for a science degree or anything related. I think, for them, con orgullo, they were very proud of my decision to go to school, and I think what happened is it kind of inspired other people in my family to go for it, too. One of my cousins ended up going, and she ended up going the route of sociology, but she got her degree in social sciences, and then my little sister-in-law switched her career from nursing to geology.

Yeah, that was really awesome. So I think what what it did is it showed other people around me that we can do it, and we can really just venture out of our comfort zone and follow our passions because a lot of us are interested in nature, or a lot of us want to do this, but I don’t know why like se nos hace imposible, it looks like an impossible task. And I think a lot of times, it could be like things like, we would see the shows on Discovery Channel and stuff, but we never really saw anybody that looked like anybody around us that was doing this or, you know—we just did it. We’re like, whatever, we’re gonna do it anyway.

José Juan Rodriguez 04:52

Representation matters, and that’s why you’re here. That’s why we’re all here. And, you know, I think first of all, your cousin rocks for changing to studying geology.

Verenice Sanchez 05:02

I know! For me, little sister-in-law.

José Juan Rodriguez 05:04

She rocks. And, you know, similar to you, I didn’t really have family that studied anything in the environmental field. But, I had a couple aunties and uncles that went to college. They were lawyers or very traditional roles. But it was very respected and looked up to, like, go go to college. And my family and I moving here to the United States, like ensueño Americano, you know, the American dream. And so my mom was like, ‘son please just go to college, do your education.’ So when I brought this up to them, at first, they were confused. They were like, ¿qué es esto? So I mean, I didn’t even know how to translate it because also, that’s one huge thing. There’s no direct translation for a majority of majors, and so half of the time, like wildlife biology is biología de la vida silvestre, and I didn’t learn that until my second year of college. 

And so I guess back to your question, like, how was my family supporting of that? I think at first they were a little confused. But then they saw that it lit a fire in me. And I was like, I want to help the entire world like wow, my my, like, I didn’t know all this was out there for me. And I want that same feeling for my little cousins and my little, my best friend’s children. You know, my best friends are having kids. And I’m like, I want these kids to outs to go outdoors and love it.

Emily Harwitz 06:31

So what are you both doing now? Well, I want to hear about Redwoods Rising first—what was the Redwoods Rising apprenticeship like? How did you find out about it? And what did you do?

Verenice Sanchez 06:41

Yes, so we were watershed apprentices. I heard about this through Cal Poly Humboldt while I was a student there, and applied and got in. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. It was my first field job. I learned so much and I took so much with me.

José Juan Rodriguez 07:00

I found out about it—for me, it was like the ultimate Hail Mary because it was my last semester of college at that time. Due to some personal reasons, it was tough for me to apply to other positions and this came out of the mist. It was like Redwoods Rising. Then I hear about this informational panel and I show up and it’s like, almost an entire 70 person lecture hall is filled up. I remember asking about that and then like going through the application process. So it was through Cal Poly Humboldt, just seeing a flyer and then hearing other people that did it in the past. And you know, knowing that wow—water, like—I studied wildlife, so it was a little bit out of my field, but thanks to the informational, some other students were like, ‘dude, I’m an engineer, and I got to do this watershed apprenticeship.’ So that’s how I heard about it.

Emily Harwitz 07:53

And what was a typical day in the life.

Verenice Sanchez 07:56

Whew! Typically, what we would do is: Our main job was to do stream channel assessments in both old growth sections of Redwood National Park and the areas that were freshly restored. We would take a whole load of measurements. We would go in there and—

Emily Harwitz 08:14

You’d be in the water?

Verenice Sanchez 08:15

In the water in waders.

Emily Harwitz 08:17

How deep?Like up to your waist?

Verenice Sanchez 08:22

I mean, we dunked our waders a couple of times. [laughs]

José Juan Rodriguez 08:24

So it could be anywhere from our ankles, you know, all the way past our chests. I’m really happy you brought up where our streams were because those assessments that we did—I don’t remember, all 27 of them which I think was the exact amount—but it did vary between habitat visual assessments, so trying to understand the vegetation that’s growing there. It came to understanding the micro habitats, so we’d identify large woody debris. For example, large trunks that were left there in the stream provide micro habitats for different types of fish.

Verenice Sanchez 09:01

And amphibians!

José Juan Rodriguez 09:02

And amphibians. Exactly. With that we’re doing amphibian visual surveys and we’d also do a fish survey specifically looking for endangered salmonids like Chinook, coho, and we’d do that through electro-fishing

Verenice Sanchez 09:16

And through snorkeling.

José Juan Rodriguez 09:17

—and through snorkeling, yeah. Tell them a little bit about that.

Verenice Sanchez 09:21

Oh, snorkeling surveys. Yeah. So we would go and basically drop in and look for ponds along the river.

Emily Harwitz 09:30

Are you in a wetsuit?

Verenice Sanchez 09:31

We’re in a dry suit, actually.

José Juan Rodriguez 09:33

Way better.

Verenice Sanchez 09:34

Way better if it doesn’t have holes in it! Because I got a couple of field days where I was finishing up completely soaked in the field because there was a hole in my dry suit. But hey, that’s just part of the journey.

José Juan Rodriguez 09:49

And you know, I think it was tough too, because with this additional equipment, we were hiking over three miles to one certain location.

Verenice Sanchez 09:58

Oh yeah. Easily. I’m not really sure, but it felt like three miles with 20-30 pounds of equipment on your back.

José Juan Rodriguez 10:06

Heading one way, and then you also have to take into consideration the back country here is extremely tough terrain. You don’t know where you’re stepping if you’re gonna sink to your knee, or if the log you’re walking on is solid enough. And so I think that was what a regular day kind of looked like, right?

Verenice Sanchez 10:24

Yeah, it was a lot of walking and then you would get to your stream, and you would get to work. And then once you were done, you were packing up and you were hiking out the same way you came in most of the time. It’s all pure, what—just our legs! Just our legs most of the time. We also had some pretty fun encounters out in the field. I got to see seven bears this season. I got the record number for bears.

José Juan Rodriguez 10:46

Ohhh, you’re gonna bring that up? You’re gonna flex on them?

Verenice Sanchez 10:47

I’m gonna flex on ’em.

And yeah, we also did eDNA sampling, which was pretty amazing.

Emily Harwitz 10:58

From stream samples?

Verenice Sanchez 10:59


Emily Harwitz 11:00

eDNA stands for environmental DNA. That’s where you’re looking at what kind of DNA is in the environment and that tells you what species you’re looking at. It’s a really great way of doing biodiversity assessments without having to interfere with wildlife’s lives or have a biologist out there manually sampling and tracking. So that’s really cool that you’re using eDNA out here.

Verenice Sanchez 11:20

Yeah, that was one of the things that we got to do. What else did we do? We did the eDNA, we did the stream channel assessments—

José Juan Rodriguez 11:27

We’d also get to join different projects, such as the dragon larvae surveys, and so we’d get to work with—

Emily Harwitz 11:35

Dragon or dragonfly?

José Juan Rodriguez 11:38

Dragonfly! I wish there were dragons out here!

Emily Harwitz 11:39

Out here in the redwoods? I wouldn’t be surprised!

José Juan Rodriguez 11:40

You know, maybe a long time ago. But yeah, dragonfly larvae surveys—getting to collaborate with other scientists that came by from USGS. That was a lot of fun. And then, always, I think we all had this personal [agenda] because we knew that by the end of the summer, by the end of our field seasons, whenever that is, we want to have completed this amount of streams. Because without the stream surveys, it’s really hard for any logging to be done in that area because we don’t know what’s in the stream. And we also want to make sure that this is part of a team. So if the watershed crew doesn’t get our stuff done, the forestry department might fall behind and vice versa.

Emily Harwitz 12:24

Is that logging like restoration logging?

Verenice Sanchez 12:26

Yes. So what you have to do in order to be able to daylight these streams is remove trees, because historically what happened is, this area was logged so severely, and the stream channels were covered, the trees grew over the stream channels, and so on. And so now in order to be able to open those stream channels and get water flowing again, you have to remove trees, you have to thin around them to open up the area. To create the characteristics and help accelerate natural succession, you have to be able to go in and thin. So it’s a management strategy, but it’s all for conservation.

Emily Harwitz 13:04

How did this Redwoods Rising apprenticeship experience influence your career direction?

José Juan Rodriguez 13:08

For me personally, it really opened my eyes to the importance of connecting landscapes in my mind and in conservation, and the importance of looking at not just five years, but 10 years, and also being aware enough to look back in history and know how we can do right from our wrongs. That’s something I really loved. The holistic approach is something I took away. I was a wildlife lover and somebody that was really just wanting to study large carnivores, you know—that’s my heart, like from bears, gorillas and lions—but learning to appreciate banana slugs, small salmonids in the the stream—

Verenice Sanchez 13:48

—YOYs. Young-of the-year—

José Juan Rodriguez 13:49

YOYs, young-of the-year—and so a holistic approach is what I really took away from this.

Verenice Sanchez 14:00

For me, I have an environmental science background and I really just wanted to go out there and put my hands to work. I learned about this theoretically, but now I wanted to see the application in real time. It exceeded my expectations in so many ways. It opened my eyes into a different world, too. I had the opportunity to see and get closer to water, to streams, to see how important it is to have them run free, and unobstructed. Also seeing all the amphibs—we were always on the lookout for salamanders and frogs.

Emily Harwitz 14:42

How many salamanders would you say you’ve seen in your life so far?

Verenice Sanchez 14:42

Oh, my God, I don’t know! Over a hundred?

José Juan Rodriguez 14:51

Over a hundred—I mean, easily. Coastal giants the size of my hand, you know.

Verenice Sanchez 14:56

I never saw the terrestrial ones. I’m jealous.

Emily Harwitz 14:59

The size of your hand?

José Juan Rodriguez 15:00

Yeah! And you know, like I can almost hold a basketball. So those are pretty big coastal giant salamanders. Getting to see some ensatinas [a specise group of salamanders]—that’s the holistic approach. I’m so happy for the crew I had out there with me. All of us, because everybody brought a little bit of a different passion. We had people that love botany, people that loved herps [reptiles and amphibians], people that love just streams. And you know, I loved wildlife, and we all got to learn from each other, so that was incredible.

Emily Harwitz 15:32

So it sounds it sounds like this was a really great experience for both of you. What do you think makes a good workforce experience? Like when students are looking for a way to put their environmental studies into practice, what do you look for? What advice would you have for them?

José Juan Rodriguez 15:47

Bring every ounce of passion you have towards loving nature, because that’s how you put your best foot forward. And that’s how your team is going to know you’re there to ride and you’re there to really just learn, you know, I had to learn a lot about safety outside, I had to learn a lot about how to communicate with my team members in you know, high stress scenarios, I always remember that the end of the day, my coworkers loved this old growth, magnificent forest, and I want to help protect it with them. And so that’s really what helped me get to form a connection with with my coworkers and my peers.

Verenice Sanchez 16:30

So I would say something similar. Just throw yourself in there. You already have one thing in common with the people that you’re going to surround yourself with and that’s a passion for nature and a passion for conservation. Everything else just arranges itself naturally, I think. But also throw yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be honest with with how much you can take on and don’t be afraid to tell people when you’re not comfortable with something because—I’m somebody who didn’t really, again, like being in a big city, I don’t really learn how to swim very well. And so I remember on one of our trips, we were going to do a snorkel down the Redwood Creek—

José Juan Rodriguez 17:08

—which can get pretty deep. 15-20 feet deep.

Verenice Sanchez 17:11

It can get pretty deep. Yeah. And so thankfully, it was in the summer so it was low flows. But I was very nervous. I remember like, I couldn’t sleep for a couple days. And it was like, should I tell them? I signed up for a watershed crew, like what am I going to say? And then it was like, ‘no, I have to I have to,’ and I’m glad I did because another two people spoke up and said, ‘you know, we’re also kind of worried about that.’ And so you never know—you might not be the only one who’s thinking about these things. So don’t be afraid to speak up.

Emily Harwitz 17:39

So it sounds like a really great experience and now both of you have completed your Redwoods Rising apprenticeships. Where are you going next?

Verenice Sanchez 17:45

I was so incredibly blessed to be able to start a position doing snowy plover monitoring. I got hired through Student Conservation Association and right now I’m reporting to the Arcata Fish and Wildlife office so I’m going to be doing that for the next seven months, monitoring their breeding throughout the season. Very excited about that.

Emily Harwitz 18:08

They’re so cute.

Verenice Sanchez 18:10

They are!

José Juan Rodriguez 18:11

Do you have any plover fun facts?

Verenice Sanchez 18:13

That dad, actually, the male is the one that rears the chicks. He does this really cute thing when there’s a predator in sight where he stashes his babies, and then he comes out and he’s just like, ‘nothing to see!’ So cute! I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve been told.

José Juan Rodriguez 18:36

Shout-out to bird dads. Shout-out to penguins. And in my case, actually getting to work with Redwoods Rising was incredible. After that, it really left me in this in this place where like, ‘oh, wow, field work is something I want to certainly continue.’ At this moment, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my experience being outside and do some things like this— communicate with people. Cal Poly Humboldt has started a new fellowship and I was honored to be the first person to partake in the multimedia communications fellowship. In this position, I’ll be able to work as a scientific journalist, so a little bit like what you’re doing—

Emily Harwitz 19:12


José Juan Rodriguez 19:13

—and get to talk to a lot of the incredible grad students we have, and undergraduate students, some of our alumni, about the scientific research they’re doing, about their hopes for their projects. And I think that’s something I’m very passionate about because I got to do some undergraduate research on the California condor, thanks to a grant from Save the Redwoods League, and it opened my doors, and I wanted to keep talking to people about it but it was hard to find a platform. So I want to provide that platform for people, whether it’s through videos, podcast, or short written interviews. That’s what I’m going to be up to right now.

Emily Harwitz 20:00

You’ve spent some time in the redwoods. [Laughs] Well, now you spent a lot of time in the redwoods! But what do you remember about your first trip to the redwoods?

Verenice Sanchez 20:13

Oh, man, so when I was a little girl, I read this book. It was called “Where the Red Ferns Grow” and they used to talk about this place with ferns. The first time I walked into the forest, I almost cried. I think—no, seriously!—I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this is the place from the book and also the place from my dreams!’

Emily Harwitz 20:35

Which forest?

Verenice Sanchez 20:36

I just went up to the community forest. But when I went to see the old growth, I almost fell back. I’d never seen anything like that. It was just such a beautiful place. So yes, it was—I can’t even put it into words. You just have to come and visit. That’s all I gotta say. Venga a ver los árboles.

José Juan Rodriguez 20:59

Están muy bonitos! My first time visiting the redwoods was the turning of a new chapter for me because it was when I came to my freshman year here at Cal Poly Humboldt. I was 18. This was the first week long vacation I had ever taken with my moms since moving to the US. We had never left LA County and we hopped on the road for an entire week. Because you know, it was my first time to San Francisco, it was my first time coming to Humboldt. 

And when we got to Humboldt, we went to their Arcata Community Forest. I left my moms in the dust. I ran to the nearest stump, and I just ROARed! and I gave my best Tarzan scream and I was crying out of joy, and I started jumping and running like a dog with the zoomies. I had never in my life experienced anything like that. It was a true magical playground straight out of Peter Pan or something. I was mesmerized, captivated—there’s no amount of words. I was home. And it really really made me feel like, ‘I can make it up here.’ It was my first time coming here. I had never visited my university. I had only seen it through YouTube. I trusted in the process and I’m very happy. And after working in the redwoods for an entire season with everybody, I knew I chose the right place. I love Humboldt. Humboldt is home. These redwoods are home. I will never forget my first time.

Emily Harwitz 22:12

I feel like redwoods have that effect on people. There’s a point when you look up, you just kind of stop processing how big it is. The mind just goes blank.

José Juan Rodriguez 22:22

My grandma came to visit for graduation in May of 2023. And you know, she said, in her 80 plus years of living, she had never seen something that beautiful. She was like, ‘¡me estoy mareando!’ They have that effect.

Verenice Sanchez 22:41

They really do. Yeah.

Emily Harwitz 22:43

So what do you think makes a good redwood park? Like the experience.

José Juan Rodriguez 22:47

I’m happy that this question is included and I hope that whoever’s listening to this has their own thoughts because it really varies per person. It varies depending on what you’re expecting from your visit. You know, I remember attending this one meeting with some other community leaders in the area and for some people, they want to have open spaces where their kids can play outside and have a family barbecue. For me, myself, and I, I want to be able to get down to the water, I want to be able to get into a little river, and you know, hopefully have that access.

Verenice Sanchez 23:19

I feel that parks are an amazing opportunity to be able to get out there, especially for those of us who grew up and lived in cities, and come and are looking for a space to enjoy [gestures] this. I guess what I would like to see is, personally, a lot more information, something that tells you a story of conservation, a story of what it took to get here, to get these places to be what they are. But that also sometimes includes uncomfortable history and I think I would like more acknowledgement, especially with nos hermanos del norte, like our northern relatives, and the Indigenous people in the community. That’s something that I would like to see, and am seeing, come together—our history and how we’re making it better and how to communicate that.

José Juan Rodriguez 26:12

I think we all want to enjoy these redwoods and I think we should find a way to enjoy them together. 


Emily Harwitz 26:29

So we’re coming to the end of our conversation, which means we’ve made it to the Lightning Round [Lightning bolt sound] and I have three questions for each of you. First question: you’ve both had a long relationship with redwoods. If you could work in another capacity in the redwoods, what would you do?

José Juan Rodriguez 24:33

I want to study grey wolves returning to the redwoods and see how they are adapting to this new environment because it’s very different than it is when they first were here.

Emily Harwitz 24:43

Well, I want to tell that story!

Verenice Sanchez 24:46

So I’ve heard that there are their own ecosystems up in the canopy. And even though I am terrified of heights, I want to go see that for myself. I would love that.

Emily Harwitz 24:58

Like that one species of salamander that only lives in the canopy of old growth redwoods?

Verenice Sanchez 25:02

Yes, exactly. So that would be amazing. We’ll see.

Emily Harwitz 25:08

So cool. Alright. If you were a redwood, where would you be and why?

Verenice Sanchez 25:12

I would be a redwood off of the newly daylighted creek off of Davidson so I could shade and create salmon refugia and make it all pretty over there.

José Juan Rodriguez 25:29

If I was a redwood—where could it be? Could it be anywhere?

Emily Harwitz 25:31

Anywhere, yeah.

José Juan Rodriguez 25:32

I’d be in Mexico.

Verenice Sanchez 25:33


Emily Harwitz 25:34

What kind of redwood would you be?

Verenice Sanchez 25:35

They don’t have redwoods in Mexico, no?

José Juan Rodriguez 25:36

I mean, they don’t. They don’t. But they told me I could be a redwood anywhere, and so I would be a coastal redwood and just center myself in Ensenada, Baja, California, the town I grew up in, just to show them like, ‘yo, we’re here, we’re standing.’ So I’d love that. If anything was possible.

Verenice Sanchez 25:58

That’s beautiful.

Emily Harwitz 25:59

I love that.

José Juan Rodriguez 26:00

That’s my honest answer.

Emily Harwitz 26:01

You’re going to spend a day in the redwoods. What are three things you’re taking with you?

Verenice Sanchez 26:07

Oh, my binos to look up in the trees, see if I can see anyone cool up there. And some snacks.

Emily Harwitz 26:14

What kind of snacks?

Verenice Sanchez 26:15

I love goldfish, so let’s just go with that. It’s the Lightning Round.

José Juan Rodriguez 26:22

No soggy sandwiches!

Verenice Sanchez 26:23

No soggy sandwiches. No, please! I had too many of those. And let’s see my third thing: afriend.

José Juan Rodriguez 26:28

Aww, yes.

Verenice Sanchez 26:31

I guess they’re not things, but…

José Juan Rodriguez 26:34

I was going to say, my favorite person. I’d bring my wife to the redwoods.

Verenice Sanchez 26:37

Aww, so cute.

José Juan Rodriguez 26:38

And then I’d bring—can I bring some croissants?

Verenice Sanchez 26:45

You do love croissants.

José Juan Rodriguez 26:46

Yeah, croissants—just a big pack of croissants, my wife, and my favorite jacket, because it can rain. But you know, I want to have a waterproof jacket and also a jacket that keeps me a good temperature. So yeah, I’m a simple guy.

Emily Harwitz 27:05

And I guess your wife can bring as many things as she wants. We didn’t give her this prompt.

José Juan Rodriguez 27:09

Exactly! See, plot twist!

Emily Harwitz 27:14

Thank you so much for all of the energy that you brought to the conversation today and that you’re putting into the work that you do. And I’m really excited to see where life takes you and where you go next in the redwoods and beyond!

José Juan Rodriguez 27:24

Gracias, gracias.

Verenice Sanchez 27:26

Thank you!


Emily Harwitz 27:28

Thanks for joining us on I’ll Go If You Go, a Save the Redwoods League podcast. This season is produced by Leslie Parra and hosted, edited, and sound engineered by Emily Harwitz. Thank you to Adam Kaplan for tech support, and Caleb Castle, Marcos Castineiras, and Mary McPheely for graphic design and media support. Theme song and music by Nhu Nguyen and Anni Feng. You can find seasons one, two, and three wherever you listen to podcasts or on where you can also find transcripts of each episode. 

If you like our show, please rate and review. It helps more people find us and join in the conversation. For behind-the-scenes and bonus content, follow us on Instagram @IllGoIfYouGoPod. If you have comments or questions, you can email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you and maybe even share your comments on the podcast. That’s all folks. Catch you next time!

About the podcast

I’ll Go If You Go, a Save the Redwoods League podcast.

On I’ll Go If You Go, we have thought-provoking conversations with emerging environmental leaders from diverse backgrounds who explore and work in the outdoors. By examining how we think, work, and play in the outdoors, we’re building community and illuminating how Californians from all walks of life experience nature and conservation, in the redwoods and beyond.

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Emily Harwitz
About the host of Season 4

Emily Harwitz (she/her) is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker who works at the nexus of science and art to catalyze social and environmental change. Trained as a scientist and journalist, she also draws from her experience working in conservation and the outdoors to tell stories that inform, inspire, and rebuild connection with the beauty of nature we’re all part of.

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We’d love to hear from you! You can leave us a voice message and tell us what you think about each episode, or shoot us an email at [email protected].

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