Born in Queens, NY, Andy’s love of the Sierra Nevada began shortly after his family moved to California when he was a boy. As a young man, Andy was drawn to the conservation ethic because he recognized healthy forests and watersheds are vital to the well-being of all people. He wanted to protect those values and share them with others. (And selfishly, he wanted to do that in the place that he loved the most – the Sierra Nevada Region.)
Andy holds a BS Degree in Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation from Humboldt State University. He began his commitment to public service by spending the first twenty years of his career working as national park ranger. In his earlier years, Andy felt privileged to live and work in Sequoia National Park, Great Basin National Park, Everglades National Park, and Haleakala National Park. Prior to joining the Sierra Nevada Conservancy in 2015, Andy held the position of Branch Chief of Field Interpretation at Yosemite National Park where he spent the last fifteen years of his National Park Service career.
Andy is married to Yosemite National Park ranger, Marea Ortiz, and together they have a young son. His family is thrilled to be based out of Auburn because of its proximity to other family members and friends as well as being a prime location to explore so many attributes of the entire Region. Weekends are often spent coaching and/or playing with his son or exploring the roads, campsites, and hiking trails of the Sierra Nevada.
“I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful agency that is committed to protecting and enhancing the Sierra Nevada and its communities. I am continually amazed and inspired by all the individuals and organizations doing such fantastic work throughout our Region. Yet, there still is much work that needs to be done. I remain committed to striving for a healthier Sierra Nevada Region. I believe we can accomplish many of our shared goals. We do this not just for ourselves, but for everyone, because we recognize the benefits of a healthy Sierra Nevada extend far beyond its boundaries.” –Andy Fristensky