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Faces of GOCO: Meet Victoria Nava-Watson

Friday, February 8, 2019 -- GOCO

What did you do before you came to GOCO?

Before I came to GOCO, I was freelancing as a marketing strategist for several non-profit and civil rights organizations. Much of the work that I had done involved some form of human rights advocacy. As such, I would often be working with communities from all over the world, as well as collaborating with governments and embassies to create tangible action items and social movement strategies. Working with individuals from all walks of life has given me incredible insight into the power of storytelling, public narrative, and collective action. I loved being able to use that insight and technical knowledge to amplify messages and give individuals a platform to tell their story with the hope of creating social change.

What brought you to GOCO? Why did you want to work here?

I have always been an advocate for environmental justice. Through my work as a volunteer, activist, and researcher, I have seen first-hand the consequences of over-consumption and capitalism. Seeing the most beautiful and resource-rich landscapes of the world being ravaged for minerals, precious stones, or metals was life changing. As an academic researcher, my voice would only go so far. I wanted to do more and have more of an impact. At this time, I had just graduated with my master’s and was looking for the next step in my career. I received a notification that GOCO was hiring and was immediately drawn to the organization’s values, mission, and the myriad projects it invests in. I was overwhelmed by the excitement and prospect of working for GOCO. As a now employee, I feel incredibly proud to be a part of a team dedicated to and passionate about the work we do to conserve, preserve, and protect the treasures of our state.

What has been your favorite part of working here so far?

I have really enjoyed getting to know my team, our board, and partners. There are many great projects and initiatives underway in Colorado, and it has been exciting to see many of these plans and projects unfold. What I am really looking forward to, though, is my first site visit. It is an amazing experience to finally see a place that you have only read about.

What is your typical day like?

Working as part of the communications team, every day is different. And I love it. A day for me can be anything from creating content and news updates for our social media channels, editing blogs, and writing, to attending events, storytelling, and discussing ways communications can leverage our many programs and partners.

What are some of your favorite things to do outdoors? 

I love to just get out and explore – whether that is hiking, camping, or just walking a new trail with my dog. I also enjoy exploring and soaking in Colorado’s many natural hot springs. My favorite thing to do, however, is a simple one; I like to leave the city for the mountains, sit under a tree, and just listen to the sounds of the forest.

Where is your favorite place (or places) to get outdoors in Colorado?

This is a hard one because there are so many. A magical experience for me was seeing the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park by twilight. I also have a special place in my heart for Glenwood Springs, Estes Park, and Pagosa Springs.

What is your most memorable outdoors mishap? 

Close to a decade ago, I was camping with friends in San Isabel National Forest. After coming back from a long hike, we noticed that there were several bear cubs hanging out at our campground. Though we were all experienced campers who knew not to leave food or trash out, they seemed to just be curious. After waiting close to an hour for them to leave, which they didn’t, a friend of mine started making noise in hopes they might be startled and go away. They were startled alright. The cubs ran right up into the neighboring trees and let out several long and loud yelps. Watching us pack up and scurry out of there was like watching an episode of Scooby-Doo. It was a terrifying experience at the time, but one that we now laugh about often.

What is the coolest wildlife you have spotted in Colorado?

I was hiking the Hanging Lake Trail for the first time and was startled by something that popped up out of the rocks right next to me. After jumping five feet in the air, I turned around and realized it was a beaver. After a two-minute staring match, the beaver finally dropped back into the rocks and disappeared. That was the first time I had ever seen a beaver that close and remember being surprised by how big it was!

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