Great Good People of MLT: Megan Smithyman
February 24, 2023
Mendocino Land Trust CFO Heidi Sorenson has known Megan Smithyman for a long time. “I shared an office with Megan when I first joined MLT and that was awesome. I deeply admire her sense of adventure and her desire to go out and see the world and learn from it as she goes,” she says. Back then, the office was on Franklin Street in Fort Bragg, in a space that served MLT well for many years but also had its own “rustic” quirks. Heidi went on to say that through it all, Megan was “smart and funny and generous with her time, and I shouldn’t say much more. It may not be printworthy.” While the wink is implicit, it’s clear that grit and irreverence got them both through some leaky roofs and busted heaters. Megan was then Outreach Coordinator on the small but mighty staff.
Years later, she is a member of the MLT Board of Trustees. When we asked about her relationship to MLT, Megan said, “I first heard about Mendocino Land Trust when we moved to the area in 2011. I saw signs up at some of my favorite beaches and trails, and it didn’t take long before I was familiar with the organization and all the good work they do. I worked for MLT as the Outreach Coordinator for several years before moving over to the local high school. I now serve on the board and continue to be very proud of MLT’s achievements.”
Her favorite MLT trail is Pelican Bluffs, which she calls a “real gem. The remoteness, the shocking white bluffs, and the abundant wildlife make it so that every visit is a one of a kind experience.” This speaks to her thoughts on what makes Mendocino County so worth protecting. “It’s hard to get here! No really, being raised on the East Coast, it felt like everything had been claimed, that there were no undiscovered wild places left. Parts of Mendocino, on the other hand, still feel wild and unspoiled. It is that potential that I love so much.”
When she’s not wrangling teenagers at her day job or helping guide MLT to protect more unspoiled land, she can be found outdoors. Her favorite wild place in the world is Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.“It is awe-inspiring to walk among and beneath living things that are both ancient and living.”
Megan is an incredible example of what it means to love a place so much that she would give of her time in leadership. Board president Richard Strom offers this:“Megan has added amazing perspective and insight to everything we do. I would love to clone her.” While we can’t do that, we can simply offer our heartfelt appreciation for what is now more than a decade of support.
If, like Megan, you would like to help us protect more of Mendocino
County, please sign up to volunteer at our website; feel free to let us know if you would like more information about becoming a member of MLT’s Board of Trustees.