Stories of Impact: Alexandra Lewandowski

Two years’ worth of weeds sprouted and dominated the Fullerton Arboretum’s California native meadow during the pandemic. I spent 120 hours over the summer of 2022 clearing weeds and creating social media posts to educate the public about the native and invasive plants.

By the end of the summer, I realized I wanted to do more and decided to design an industry-standard restoration plan that would be simple enough for volunteers to use in the future.

As a full-time graduate student living paycheck to paycheck, my work at the arboretum was generously supported by a donor. The arboretum needed someone to restore its meadow and I needed financial support.

Alexandra Lewandowski

Through the experience, I feel confident that I have found my niche in wanting to restore California native plants or work with plants in general, whether that be through state-employed projects or private, home landscaping projects.

The arboretum’s California native meadow often is overlooked, but in my opinion, it is the most important habitat as it represents our home in California. I enjoy teaching the public about California native plants and hope to inspire more people to restore their own backyards to native gardens.

Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity, and not enough people understand why, nor have the power to make a difference. I chose environmental studies because I want to make a difference. It is not just about the oceans and the trees and endangered animals — it’s about human health, safety and wellness.

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My wife Sandy and I believe it’s critically important to develop the next generation of conservation leaders. Challenging issues like climate change, biodiversity and habitat loss, and environmental justice are in the headlines every day.

Fran Colwell

800 N. State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92831-3599


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