Yakuta Poonawalla

Stewarding land, protecting wisdom, and helping others heal their connection with nature.



San Francisco, CA

Affiliations & Roles

Community Programs Manager, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy



Yakuta was born and raised in India, and her love affair with nature began during her first trek to the Indian Himalayas at the age of fifteen. Since that initiation, she has continued to develop her relationship with the natural world, and has worked with various non-profit organizations, in India and the US to educate, inspire, and cultivate love and respect for the environment. It was her search for a deeper understanding of social issues that led her to Sophia College in Mumbai, India, to an all-women’s graduate program in Communications and Media Studies. Her time here strengthened her commitment to be a voice for women’s rights, and environmental justice.

Yakuta currently works for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy where she leads community stewardship initiatives that create a safe space for exploration, provide healing, and inspire people to find their connection with nature. Through land and water stewardship activities, interpretation and storytelling, she engages communities in conversations about the natural and cultural history of public lands, indigenous wisdom, and justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging. She hopes to continue to have deeper dialogues about the climate crisis to seek collaborative solutions, and mentor the next generation of conservationists and environmental stewards.

When she is not working, you will find her on a trail talking to a plant, a bird or a butterfly in her mother tongue, or her cheek pressed to the soil, connecting with the mycelium network beneath, deeply immersed in their magic!


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