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March 17th, 2023
Each month, we introduce you to a member of the Upstate Forever staff through a few rapid-fire questions. This month, get to know the newest member of our team, Land Policy Manager Allie Martinsen!
Why is Upstate Forever's work important to you?
I think the Upstate is a remarkable place, and I want to see its unique identity preserved for generations. Upstate Forever’s work allows me to spend every day advocating for the conservation of land and special places.
What has been the most unexpected part of your role?
The most unexpected part of my role has been the surprise opportunities for connection. My role has allowed me to feel rooted in the community whether it’s working with another resident to track down information at City Hall or identifying shared concerns with community partners.
What impression has the Upstate had on you?
I remember visiting the Upstate for the first time and feeling overcome by the strong sense of community, unique localities, and remarkable opportunities for outdoor recreation. In other words, the Upstate captured my heart quickly.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
For a long time, I thought I would end up working directly in nutrition which can be seen in my passion for cooking and localizing our food systems. I also love to read and hike with my dog.
Who do you look up to?
My first entry point into land planning and policy was reading The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. I give Jacobs credit for starting my journey into land planning.
Is there a motto, mantra, or slogan that drives you?
In policy work, change often feels slow and faces resistance. One thing I try to remember is:
“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are” – Max De Pree
More about Allie
Allie Martinsen joined Upstate Forever as Land Policy Manager in January 2023. Originally from Kansas City, she graduated from Saint Louis University with a degree in Philosophy, Psychology, and Gender Studies. She previously worked as a special education teacher in New York, which cemented her lifelong love of learning and passion for advancing systems-level change through policy. After teaching, she received a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis where she concentrated in Domestic Social and Economic Development. Before moving to Spartanburg, she conducted research related to food policy and nutrition insecurity.
In her role at Upstate Forever, Allie is excited to use her expertise to advance policies that prevent sprawl, protect green spaces, and preserve the distinct character of communities.
In her free time, you can find Allie reading in a coffee shop, browsing a farmer’s market or hiking with her dog.