Two new scholarships at Sienna Ranch and the Bay Area Center for Waldorf-Teacher Training will be available as of next school year. They are both named in Emilie Inman’s memory and carry on her legacy of environmental education.
Inman, 27, was the victim of a Berkeley homicide Friday, as confirmed by Berkeley Police Department on Wednesday. She was a Berkeley resident and graduated from UC Santa Cruz, where she studied environmental studies.
Known for her passion for the environment, Inman worked as a nature program and science instructor at Sienna Ranch in Lafeyette while training at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf-Teacher Training.
The Ranch’s webpage dedicated to Inman says she was “particularly interested in bringing equity to education.” It also says it has been “inundated with messages” from the families of Inman’s students.
Inman was born in Paris and moved to San Luis Obispo, California, at the age of 10. She always showed passion for connecting with others and the earth through education.
“I do not know specifically when or where my love for the environment developed, however I do know that I hold a passion for the beauty of nature,” Inman said in a letter to UC Santa Cruz professor Brent Haddad. “Upon learning about global warming, I set my mind to help the forests, oceans and animals I so love and hope to spread the word about improving our environment.”
Haddad had asked the students in his spring 2008 Introduction to Environmental Policy and Economics class to either introduce themselves in person or to write him a letter. Inman had done both.
A few years later, Inman began her senior internship at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz.
“She was such an asset to the world,” said Martha Nitzberg, the lead interpretive ranger at Natural Bridges, who trained and oversaw Inman during her time there. “She was really enthusiastic … she was very open and very warm with people and a little bit silly.”
In addition to leading educational sessions at Natural Bridges, Inman created an interactive visual learning aid to illustrate the web of life that exists within tidepools. Inman believed in engaging learning experiences, so she attached pictures of animals, information about them and questions about them to a board. She cut a hole in the center of the board for a student to put their face in to represent the human species in the ecosystem. To the side, the description reads: “They vary in height … they move around on two legs … they have the ability to respect and protect or trample and eliminate.”
“That’s kind of how she felt about our world and our responsibility,” Nitzberg said.
Natural Bridges uses the board as an educational resource to this day.
Ken Smith, director of BACWTT, said partway through her third and final year of training, Inman was conducting a research project focused on how communication can overcome differences. Smith added that Inman was loved and appreciated by those she worked with directly in the classroom.
“We were all looking forward to her finishing the training and becoming a great teacher,” Smith said. “She did things with conviction and passion … she wasn’t someone who was dragging her feet.”