CANOPY BLOG

Meet the Board: Rachel Knowles

By Canopy Team on December 18, 2020

Please welcome Rachel Knowles to Canopy’s Board of Directors!

Board member Rachel Knowles

Rachel has worked in higher education since 2011 and is currently in Finance at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Her previous experience includes working at Helios Healthcare where she worked alongside a talented horticulturist to spearhead a gardening program for residents and a local city farmer’s market booth for fundraising. Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Menlo College, Atherton. She enjoys spending quality time with her family, cooking, dancing, and anything outdoors.

Q: Why do you care about trees? 

Rachel: I care about trees because they are vital—it is essential we champion and foster more trees. I love trees for all that they provide. Trees contribute so much to our lives, some obvious benefits and others less well-known, but all essential.

Q: What drew you to Canopy?

Rachel: I was searching for a way to make a difference in the midst of recent social injustices, many protests, riots, mid-COVID with shelter in place still standing. I was feeling helpless in the sense that everything from racial injustices to the uncontrolled pandemic was spiraling around me and I did not know where to place myself outside of work and family. I knew it was my responsibility and desire now, more than ever (in the thick of chaos), to be a part of something that is for the wellbeing of our current communities and for generations to come. I called a close friend, Laura Martinez, to chat. We spoke about current events and she shared with me some of her involvements. She mentioned Canopy to me and it immediately sparked my interest and I was drawn to all Canopy has to offer.

Q: What do you like most about Canopy’s work?

Rachel: I love that Canopy’s mission and vision is for the benefit of all. I am inspired that Canopy has specific focuses, but seems to be ever-growing and expanding its goals to evolve in changing times.

Q: How do you envision Canopy’s growth in the years ahead?

Rachel: I picture Canopy expanding the green space in our neighborhoods and helping to build regional tree canopy for climate-resilient communities, so we can be better prepared ecologically, socially, and economically—to have thriving systems. I also see Canopy growing in our work and involvement with equity and inclusion in mind, by gaining deeper learning around why we service certain areas and tracking the post-planting benefits. For the years ahead, I envision Canopy focusing on and deepening involvement in the heart of these communities, informed by the history of how these communities came to be and following the development of the futures of these communities.

Q: What is your favorite tree and why?  

Rachel: My favorite tree is a Loquat Tree. I have fond memories of a large loquat tree in the yard of the house I grew up in. This tree provided me with essential things like shade, a place to play, even a snack. Until my adult years, I did not realize how fortunate I was to have this experience and how much more value this tree offered to me than I could recognize at the time.

loquat tree
Loquat tree and fruit. Photo courtesy of Readerwalker on Flickr.

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