Machiko Yasuda grew up in Palos Verdes with a view of the San Gabriel Mountains — but it would be decades later until she hiked, rock climbed and even cross-country skied there.

Living in Los Angeles without a car during her college years opened her eyes to the deep inequities in public transportation, park access and environmental injustice. Since then, she’s been involved in connecting people in LA to their environment in various ways, from teaching confident city cycling to starting a free mapping meetup called Maptime LA, where she taught people how to use code and geography tools to learn more about their neighborhood. Her favorite thing to do is taking people hiking, camping and seeing snow or rivers for the first time in the Angeles National Forest.

She got her start in park access and public lands advocacy in 2019 thanks to Nature for All’s Leadership Development program in El Monte and is an active member of Nature for All Stewards. A former journalist turned software engineer, she spends her free time studying Japanese, learning how to sew and hiking with her cat in Altadena.