Photo: Tyler Roemer.

Welcome Kiyomi and Varun!

Jul 10, 2024 by Jana Hemphill
The Land Trust welcomes new community engagement associate Kiyomi Appleton Gaines and summer intern Varun Shirhatti.

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The Land Trust would like to extend a warm welcome to the newest members of our team!

Kiyomi Appleton Gaines is the Deschutes Land Trust's new community engagement associate. She will be assisting with Land Trust communications and providing support for Land Trust events.

Kiyomi comes to Bend after nearly a decade in New Orleans. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Cameroon 11-13) and has worked in multiple roles in nonprofits and universities. She is a certified copywriter, a writer of horror and speculative fiction, and a strong advocate for the Oxford comma. As a military kid, Kiyomi grew up moving around the country, and is now happy to make a home in Bend with her partner and two cats. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, and birding through Oregon’s spectacular landscapes.


We'd also like to welcome our summer intern from the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. Varun Shirhatti is assisting Land Trust staff with a variety of projects, including helping develop a baseline understanding of carbon sequestration potential at the Metolius Preserve. Varun is a rising senior at Stanford University studying Earth Systems, with a particular focus on human-environment interactions and management strategies. He is from San Diego, CA, and Bangalore, India, and enjoys exploring different types of natural spaces. Outside of work, Varun can usually be found reading, hiking, or attempting to learn the guitar.

Welcome, Kiyomi and Varun! It's great to have you on the team!