Staff Member Spotlight: Sally Silverstone

Title
Education Program Coordinator

Photos

Sally Silverstone was one of the eight member crew who lived inside Biosphere 2, a totally enclosed ecological system for 2 years. Since that time she has worked with Biosphere Foundation to help connect young people with the beauty and wonder of our planet and the challenges it faces. She is currently working in Indonesia with the local community to promote organic farming and forestry restoration, and is the lead educator on the International Biosphere Stewardship Program.

What is your favorite travel memory?

It was an evening several years ago toward the end of our international stewardship program. We were all sitting in a circle under the canopy talking in turns about the ecological problems that were facing in our home countries and what we, as individuals, could do to help.

All around us the forest was dark and silent and all were deeply engrossed in the conversation. Suddenly one of the students looked up and pointed in amazement, holding a finger to his lips to indicate to us that we should be quiet.

Slowly we all turned around, and there, circling our tent was a whole heard of miniature deer (normally very shy creatures who run from humans) who were staring in at us. It was as if they had come to join our circle and definitely had something to say about conservation. Our lamp was reflected in their huge eyes and their ears were high and alert as if they were listening to every word.

"Don't worry" whispered one of the Balinese students, "we will do everything we can to save your forest". They stood for a little longer and then went silently on their way - it was a magic moment, such a blessing.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Although I have worked with many different outdoor education programs, I have been running the International Stewardship Program in Bali for 4 years now, and it is my favorite program of all time. I have worked with students from all over the world along side many young people from my community here in Bali, and have been truly inspired by all of them.

Each year I learn more about what is happening in the students' own countries and the innovative ways they have tackled conservation issues. It is also such a joy to see long term friendships grow between the Balinese students and the international students.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Biosphere Foundation is unique in that our work is very much based on the experience that we gained operating the Biosphere 2 Project.

Having gained this perspective on how to operate a biosphere (our planet earth is also a biosphere), the founders of Biosphere Foundation have dedicated the last 20 years to promoting sustainable, intelligent use of our planets resources.

We aim to bring this experience to our stewardship program, giving our students full immersion into as many different ecosystems as we can, looking at the ways the systems interact with other and the ways that humans impact these systems.

Because our foundation has operated in NW Bali for many years, we're able to integrate our program in the community and truly engage our students to make a useful contribution.

Our team consists of both international and local staff who give their all to the work that they do, they are all dedicated community activists and I am constantly proud of them.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that to be successful in this line of work you have to be open and prepared to be constantly learning. Everyone has something to contribute - students, staff, and community members. Our foundation could not operate without the support of our friends around the planet.