Lia Heintjes is from Brooklyn, New York. Despite growing up in the city, she’s always loved being outdoors and doing hands-on fieldwork. That’s why she decided to take a leap and intern at a green roofing company between her junior and senior years of college. Coming from a major in biotechnology, where processes occur at a scale too small to see with the naked eye, contributing to the transformation of large construction zones into vibrant gardens was thrilling. Lia’s mentors managed projects from design, to construction, to maintenance, and she got to learn from every step. She bid on materials, helped with construction, and had a particular knack for plant health care. Within a year of working with her company, she had a horticulture certificate from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
After graduating, Lia worked for the green roofing company for a couple of years, but found that most of her work only benefitted wealthy clientele. As such, she joined NYC Parks to bring urban greenery to people of all walks of life. She started off on the Permits and Plan Review team before securing her current position as Senior Forester with Brooklyn Forestry. As Senior Forester, she performs a wide range of tasks, from dispatching inspectors to downed trees during storms to processing permits for tree work. Outside of work and school, Lia loves Star Trek and West Coast Swing Dancing. For sustainability enthusiasts, she recommends joining your local Buy Nothing group. These are groups on social media all over New York City where people post items they’re giving away for others to claim. It’s a wonderful way to extend the life of material goods and divest hard-earned money from a waste-oriented economy.