Kirsten Rudestam is an environmental educator, wilderness guide, and activist. She has a Master's in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on water policy and management, "sense of place" with respect to resource management practices, and the role of affect and emotion in environmental politics. She investigates the relationship between water policies and everyday behaviors; how ideas about local waters are formed, the conflicts they produce, and how they enable or disable particular forms of participation. Her current work
examines more closely collaborative and participatory water management practices as they interface with tribal nations and Indigenous communities. She aims to explore in these cases how the collaborative framework imposes limits on and creates opportunities for maintaining and recuperating Indigenous relations with water.
Kirsten has fifteen years of experience teaching environmental field courses, leading nature based meditation retreats and guiding wilderness expeditions. She is trained as a vision fast guide through the School of Lost Borders and is a facilitator for Joanna Macy's Work that Reconnects. In addition, Kirsten has been has been practicing vipassana meditation since 2001 and graduated from Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leaders Program in 2005. When she is not in the field, she offers meditation classes and workshops for Insight Santa Cruz.
Kirsten's apprenticeship to nature began at an early age, and she is devoted to sharing and learning from earth based teachings, practices, ceremony, and pedagogy. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, dancing, wandering, and swimming in cold water.