In the News

Meet a Board Member: Devin Jefferson

Devin Jefferson is a Richmond native, and brings a deep knowledge of and connection to the City of Richmond to his work on our Board of Trustees. Professionally, Devin is currently the Program Officer at the Institute for Sustainable Communities. He has a background in STEM-focused programming and a passion for connecting with communities to address climate change and improve climate resilience. Read our interview with Devin Jefferson below to learn what board committee he’s part of, what he thinks more people should know about Capital Trees, his favorite green spaces, and more. 

Q. When and how did you learn about the work Capital Trees does throughout RVA?

A. I learned about Capital Trees’ work in 2022 as I built new connections with some green space advocates in my community science work.

Q. What inspired you to want to be on the Capital Trees Board?

A. I always enjoy finding ways to give back to my community and learning about the possible green space implementations when people and organizations are informed and equipped to advocate for community-serving green spaces.

Q. What skill set, knowledge, professional experience, or unique perspective do you bring to the Board?

A. I have spent most of my career in informal education and recently stepped into the community science space during my most recent tenure at the Science Museum of Virginia. Connecting with the community to share about environmental education along with my other STEM-related passions has become an important theme and valuable addition to the green space advocacy of Capital Trees.

Q. If you have a Board role, why did you take on that position?

A. My background with STEM Education and community science prompted me to join the Education and Engagement Committee. I’m happy to have the opportunity to help Capital Trees continue to grow its voice and supportive presence in the community

Q. In your own words, why do you think urban green spaces are a vital resource?

A. Urban green spaces are vital resources for the community, from physical health benefits such as promoting physical activity, to mental health benefits such as social connections with other community members. Having an active connection to the natural ecosystem in our communities creates many learning opportunities that can be leveraged to improve several aspects of health and wellness both in the community and down to the individual level.

Q. What Capital Trees contribution or project are you most proud of or excited about?

A. I’m most excited about the Hotchkiss Field Community Center project because I think it will be one of the more deeply impactful efforts Capital Trees has taken on. Supporting historically underserved communities in this way will hopefully serve as another high-quality example of how important and sustainable community participation is when applied consistently and intentionally.

Q. What should more people know about Capital Trees?

A. More people should know about the intentionality Capital Trees has toward seeking community involvement and input for our work. The Hotchkiss Field Project is a great example of Capital Trees actively incorporating community voices from the very beginning of the project’s life to guide the project plans

Q. What do you feel is Capital Trees’ biggest need?

A. Capital Trees’ biggest need is building connections with and participation from younger demographics. This will come with time and continued community engagement, but will be important for the sustainability of the work being started now since this work will be passed on for future generations to enjoy.

Q. What are you most looking forward to in the next year or over your Board Term?

A. As a newer member of the Board, I’m looking forward to learning about how to support organizations from this position and finding ways to incorporate the practice of community science into Capital Trees’ array of tools.

Q. How do you foresee the organization transforming in the coming years?

A. I see Capital Trees evolving to become an even more visible thought leader in green space advocacy. I envision Capital Trees becoming one of the organizations held in high regard for our deep well of experience when others are looking to embark on their green space initiatives.

Q. What’s your favorite plant/plot/project of Capital Trees?

A. The Low Line is one of my favorite Capital Trees projects. I saw it develop and evolve before understanding who or what Capital Trees was, but have grown to love it more as I learned all the thought and intentionality that went into creating it and still goes into its care and maintenance.

Q. What is your favorite public landscape/green space?

A. My favorite public green space is Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. The massive scale alone is impressive, but the variety and quality of landscape features along with the public attractions (The California Academy of Sciences being an all-time favorite) make it a truly impressive and inspirational green space to visit.


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