Building Community in Her Own Backyard: Introducing Alex Jiles

10.10.2022 | In People

Our Staff Spotlights blog series is dedicated to highlighting our talented team members who are helping advance restoration efforts for coastal Louisiana.

This week we are spotlighting Alex Jiles, Senior Outreach Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. Alex joined the Restore the Mississippi River Delta (MRD) family following her role as Volunteer Service Advisor at the University of New Orleans (UNO), serving in the AmeriCorps NCCC as a Team Leader/Corps Member based in Sacramento, California, and so much more! We caught up with Alex to learn more about her time with the MRD and her world outside of the office.

1.) Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, and what is your background?

Alex overlooking Palo Duro Canyon early in the morning.

I was born in Louisiana and have lived here for most of my life, getting chased by chickens, hiding animals in my closet and traversing the bayou in makeshift rafts. After many stops and starts and taking time to travel, I earned my Bachelor’s in Biology and then a Master’s in Public Administration at UNO. During that time, I focused my studies on issues surrounding restoration work in Louisiana, specifically sediment diversions, and what it looks like to carry out necessary environmental work while honoring the people and cultures it will affect.

Previously, I’ve served in the following roles: Volunteer Service Advisor at UNO; Regional Approaches to Climate Change Fellow at Oregon State University, where I studied the effects of climate change on hazelnut phenology; Team Leader/Corps Member for the AmeriCorps NCCC in Sacramento, California; and Community Relations Specialist with FEMA in Atlanta, New York and New Orleans.

2.) What is your role within Restore the Mississippi River Delta, and what made you interested in pursuing it?

I am a Senior Outreach Coordinator with National Wildlife Federation. I have always loved listening, storytelling, inspiring optimism, action and community-building: all critical aspects of outreach work. I think connecting people to coastal restoration can give people hope. It’s fulfilling, worthwhile and gives me hope, too.

3.) What about working in the coastal space intrigued you?

Hushpuppy, from Beasts of the Southern Wild, says it better than I could, “Everybody loses the thing that made them. It’s even how it’s supposed to be in nature. The brave men stay and watch it happen, they don’t run.” For me, it’s also courageous to believe we can do something about it.

4.) What does Louisiana’s coast mean to you?

The coast of Louisiana is a magical, vexing, fragile, physical, emotional and metaphorical liminal space between land and sea that I consider my backyard!

5.) Do you have other projects or interests that you would like to share?

I love gardening, architecture, history and berating/spoiling my nieces and nephews.

6.) What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing coastal issues?

Learn to like getting muddy.

7.) Describe yourself in one word.



Stay connected with Alex and follow her on social media!  LinkedIn: Alex Jiles M.P.A.

Stay tuned for more Staff Spotlights and learn more about our coalition by checking out our website for more about what issues America’s delta is facing, and how we are addressing them.