Eagle open space committee welcomes watershed specialist
When Anna Nakae joined the Eagle River Watershed Council in 2021, she was eager to make a difference through county-wide conservation work. Now that she’s been added to Eagle’s Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee, Nakae’s impact may be even more palpable.
“Rivers have always made me feel like I am home,” Nakae said in a 2021 news release per her Eagle River Watershed Council hire. “Doing conservation work makes me feel like I can give back to something that has given so much to me.”
The Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee acts to ensure continuous investment, conservation and sound management practices of Eagle’s open space, recreation land and natural resources.
The committee operates so that the town can responsibly steward its surrounding environment and wildlife, but also so that citizens can enjoy a high quality of life. This quality of life is thanks in large part to the thriving natural surroundings of Eagle.
Sitting on the committee, Nakae’s extensive background in environmentalism — on top of her Eagle River Watershed Council career — will help inform her contributions to discussions and decisions about Eagle open space and recreation.
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Originally from Washington and having attended Western Washington University, Nakae moved to Colorado in 2017. Her bachelor’s in environmental science and certificate in geological information systems quickly twirled her into the professional conservation sphere.
Before starting work with the Eagle River Watershed Council, Nakae held natural resource positions with the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Open Space and Mountain Parks Department for the city of Boulder.
“I’m excited to maybe draw from that experience,” Nakae said. “Though, I know (Boulder) is a very different community.”
Much like the locals whose recreational interests are represented by Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee members, Nakae often takes to the outdoors for fun in her free time.
“I do really love getting out on our trails,” Nakae said. “That’s another reason I wanted to join, is that I am definitely someone who gets out and recreates a lot on our open space and trails.”
An Eagle River Watershed Council description of Nakae testified that the now Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee member is also an avid outdoors person.
“Anna enjoys biking, climbing, skiing, birding, stand-up paddle boarding and exploring all the Eagle Valley has to offer,” an Eagle River Watershed Council description of Nakae read.
Relating to many of the community members she will be representing on the committee, Nakae said she looks forward to the opportunity to help her fellow Eagle community members’ voices be heard.
Additionally, Nakae said on the committee, she will also value insights from professionals and those who can offer different perspectives. She explained that she looks forward to helping Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee bring these voices forward and use that insight to help make decisions regarding Eagle’s open space and recreation land.
When it comes down to it, Nakae said she feels that approaching open space management with care is impactful.
“As humans, we’re part of this bigger ecological community,” Nakae said. “So we are a part of something bigger and so those choices that we make have bigger impacts and it’s important to consider those.”
As projects coordinator for the Eagle River Watershed Council, Nakae said that her conservation focus was broad — stretching across the Eagle River watershed. With her position on the Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee, Nakae said she looks forward to working with a more specific sector — one that’s in her very neighborhood.
Nakae was appointed to the Eagle Outdoor Space and Recreation Advisory Committee in the Jan. 10 Eagle Town Council meeting. Nakae was somewhat of a missing puzzle piece for the committee, but with her addition, Eagle Open Space Manager Brian Lieberman said the committee is now “fully stacked.”
“It’s a big honor,” Nakae said. “I feel really grateful that the town council felt like I was a good fit and that the other committee members felt that I’d be a valuable member as well … I’m excited to have a greater voice in the community I live.”