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New Board Member Wears Many Hats

Lisa Ruder, a sustainability champion and community volunteer in Escondido, is settling in as the newest member of The Escondido Creek Conservancy’s Board of Directors.

An Escondido resident who, during the lockdown, has enjoyed setting out on foot to explore her community with a goal to cover every street in Escondido, Ruder also has hiked the entire, 133-mile length of the Pacific Crest Trail in San Diego County.

On the more glamorous side, she and a partner performed a waltz during the annual “Dancing with Our Stars” benefit at California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

“The people who are out doing things have chosen to have an active lifestyle,” Ruder said.

Her resume shows membership with the U.S. Green Building Council and two certifications, one with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and another in Sustainable Business Practices from UCSD. In 2018, she completed the Leadership North County program at Cal State University San Marcos.

As a consultant and staff member, she has worked with California Center for Sustainable Energy, Interfaith Community Services, Balboa Park, and the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation.

Decades ago, with a degree in industrial engineering from Kansas State University, Ruder held sales and engineering positions for General Electric, General Dynamics and other companies. She earned a master’s degree in production operations from San Diego State University.

Since becoming a founding member of the Escondido Community Foundation, she has served as Grants Chair, Chair, and most recently as the Project Manager for the Giving Arch, which spans Grand Avenue at Centre City Parkway.  In these roles, Ruder observed numerous local non-profits.

One of them is The Escondido Creek Conservancy.

“It’s an organization I have watched for quite a while,” she said.

Within the city itself, Escondido resident Ruder sees great potential in improving the appearance and access to the Creek Trail and restoring Escondido Creek to a more natural state.

“Right now, people see it as the ditch that runs through the city, not a creek,” she said. “If we just put some effort into it, we could change it dramatically. It’s a huge opportunity.”

So is a program to create creek stewards, especially within the city, to improve accessibility and boost interest.

Beyond the city limits, Ruder says she is impressed by the Conservancy’s reach, the number of acres it has acquired, and amount of habitat it protects. She saluted an education program that engages all third-graders in the Escondido Union School District, gets them excited about nature, and has pivoted during the pandemic to continue offering programming during stay-at-home orders.

“The Conservancy is concentrating on all of the areas of the creek with conservation, education, and stewardship,” Ruder said. “That’s a lot of hats.”

We are thrilled to have Lisa as a Board member and look forward to putting her many talents to work!