Park Pollinators: Meet Vanessa Hillis

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Our tagline is people + parks, and we take that to heart. We know the people we work with, both inside and outside the office, are what make this organization successful, and we’re proud of the team we’ve put together. Each of us is committed to making Austin’s parks, trails and green spaces great for each and every Austinite. Read up on this month’s featured APF staff member, and stay tuned for more throughout the year!

Name: Vanessa Hillis


Office Manager

What She Does:

Vanessa keeps the APF train running on time. From managing our technology and day to day needs to budgeting for, project managing and overseeing our upcoming move to a new space, Vanessa does the behind the scenes work that helps our team run smoothly. She’s the friendly face you’ll see when you walk in our door, the calming voice on the other end of the line when you’re lost in a park, and the glue that binds our daily operations to our mission.

Time at APF:

10 months

Favorite park:

Wild Basin Nature Preserve: I love Wild Basin because the hiking is rigorous, and the scenery is varied.  You get great overlooks, wooded trails, rocky outcroppings, and a waterfall!  My favorite park overall is Redwood National Park, because WOW.

Favorite thing about being on the APF Staff:

The people!  Such an amazing, supportive, funny, passionate and friendly team to get to work with!

Favorite park memory:

I have a group of hiking buddies and we go out a couple of times a month.  A few of my favorite memories include: rescuing a friend from a wasp (using my trusted hiking stick) at about the halfway point on the River Place trail, and then completing that crazy-challenging hike!  In the first 1/4 mile of the Onion Creek trail there is a deep water crossing that inevitably someone will try to cross without removing their boots.  The amazing beauty that is the dry creek trail at Zilker Nature and Science Center.  The high rock walls make me think of the Fern Valley trail in the Redwood National Park.  Too many great memories of stopping to take in the view and share a snack with friends.

Fun Fact:

I started my career as a theatre master electrician.  One of the last shows I worked on was at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton New Jersey, and it starred Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce.


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