Connie Boardman has loved nature ever for as long as she can remember. In her youth, her family would frequently travel to Utah. While her father and brothers were fishing, Connie chose to go on her own expeditions and explore the nature.
This love and wonder for the natural world inspired her childhood professional aspirations of becoming a veterinarian or a park ranger, and the latter continues to be a part of her future plans. "I really plan on working as a seasonal park ranger after I retire," she said.
Connie's appreciation for nature translated into a different vocation as she grew older. After obtaining her bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from California State University, Long Beach, she began her career as a teacher.
Connie studied at Cal State Long Beach and obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees in biology. The La Mirada native also took an anthropology class at Cerritos College one semester.
Connie's first position as an educator was at Warren High School in Downey for three years. Following that, she moved to the college level at Cerritos College. After a short period of teaching part-time for Cerritos, a full-time position becoame available and she eagerly took it. Connie has been happily teaching biology at Cerritos College for 21 years. "If you want to teach, the best to place to do it is a community college.
Connie has managed to infuse her classrooms with a mixture of textbook biology and practical outside application. An avid photographer, she has visited many places including the Galapagos Islands and Tanzania to experience and observe wildlife. She incorporates the pictures she takes there into her classes as examples of adaptations of plants and animals to different habitats. Bringing her first-hand knowledge of these environments into the classroom adds a layer of realism and personal enthusiasm not found in textbooks. But Connie does not stop there. Holding true to her belief that, "IN the field of biology it is important to get students out into the natural world," she requires her students to interact with their environment. Maintenance of native California wildflower gardens in part of her class activities, and as such, she has created wildflower gardens with students in her botany and biology classes. Students in her biology class hav even helped plant native plants and restore an upland area with the Bolsa Chica Land Trust.
Connie's passion for nature has extended outside the classroom for many years. Since 1993, Connie has been involved with the preservation, restoration and protection of Bolsa Chica Mesa - part of one of the last standing wetland ecosystems in Southern California. ""Bolsa Chica is an incredibly important wintering and bleeding area for endangered birds," said Connie. She currently serves as president of the Trust and is working to preserve as much land as possible.
Her enthusiasm can be seen in other places as well. Connie intends to create an ethno botanical garden with plants such as sage and yucca used by Native American people for medicine and food. Her unfettered passion has proven to be contagious, as she and other members of the Cerritos College faculty are also planning to create desert gardens.
Connie engages in the civic aspects of her life with the same amount of vigor and commitment. She served as a Huntington Beach City council member from 2000-2004, and as mayor in 2003. She was elected again in 2010 and is currently serving the second year of her four-year term.
When she is not in the classroom, city hall, or the wetlands, Connie retreats to the habits of her younger self - hiking and exploring nature. Soon she will be continuing her explorations by traveling to Peru and hiking from the Andes into the rainforest and to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
Professor Connie Boardman makes it real: explorer, educator, environmentalist and elected official. She is dedicated to saving nature and helping others fall in love with it. She plants the seeds of knowledge and change and encourages those around her to grow.