With extensive experience in environmental education, horticulture, permaculture and urban agriculture, Camila Rivera-Tinsley is passionate about connecting all people to green spaces in their community. As director of education for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Rivera-Tinsley leads the organization’s all-ages, environmental education programming and helms the Frick Environmental Center — the first publicly owned Living Building in the U.S. She says her “true motivation lies in creating a more inclusive and verdant future” for her daughter.
What is the best part of your job?
The underlying intent to make people happy. For better or for worse, I’m a people pleaser, and that’s what the parks system is all about — making sure that people feel happy.
What is your big idea for Pittsburgh?
Do I really want to tell my idea? I don’t know if this is a new idea, but I would love to revive a feeling of unity amongst the environmental nonprofits. I want for all of us to come together to create a framework for environmental education within the Pittsburgh community schools.
What’s one thing you would love to change about Pittsburgh?
I would love for people to feel that they can go beyond their neighborhood. Go over just one more bridge or go up just one more hill. Think about new spaces that you’ve never been to before.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
My brother and his wife are having a gender reveal party in October!
What’s been bugging you lately?
I sense a lack of empathy in the world around me. I just wish that people could be more kind to one another.
Your not-so-secret Pittsburgh spot?
The slag heaps in Swisshelm Park.
It’s time to unwind. Where do you head?
I head to the hammock in my backyard. I go there and listen to crickets and think about how I should really be cutting the grass, but I’m not.
Write three words to describe Pittsburgh:
My three words would be: varied, camaraderie and small-town comfort coupled with innovation.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to in the past year and why?
I really loved visiting Denver. I love it because everyone was very kind, and the city seems to be undergoing a regeneration and I really liked the accessibility of the mountains being so close to the city.
Where will we find you this Saturday night?
I hope that you’ll find me with my friend, on her front porch, just talking about our week and supporting each other while we’re both trying to be working moms.