Hello from our new
Communications & Membership Director!

Kate Hammel, Membership & Communications Director

Hello Sycamore friends, I am so touched by the warm welcome I have received in my first two weeks as the newest addition to Team Sycamore. As an enthusiastic Sycamore member that spends many happy hours out on the trails, I am passionate about open space preservation and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this important work!

Over the past 15 years I’ve managed communications and development for nonprofits including as Executive Director of Heart of the City Farmers’ Market and Food Access Program in California, which I built over the past 10 years into the nation’s largest program of its kind, raising $1.5 million a year to provide to low-income families to purchase healthy produce that supports struggling small farms.  My work has also included increasing food access for 15 rural counties as Annual Fund Manager at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, strengthening community-building efforts in vulnerable low-income urban areas as Communications Manager for Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, building two community gardens, and exploring with tiny and very muddy nature enthusiasts as the leader of my daughter’s Forest Club. Now I’m excited to turn my passion and energy to protecting southern Indiana’s critical natural habitats that mean so much to us and to the wildlife that calls them home.

My family and I moved to Bloomington two years ago from northern California where I was born.  Growing up surrounded by that wild grandeur instilled a love for the natural world in my heart and deep respect for the power of land conservation. My family was severely impacted by the California wildfires which has strengthened my resolve to preserve and restore natural habitat.

My husband Kirby was born and bred a Hoosier and went to IU. After meeting in California, we chose to raise our daughters here in Indiana, a gentler land but no less beautiful for those of us who appreciate and want to protect its lush forests, wildflower prairies, abundant water, and astounding biodiversity. Our family spends our happiest moments creek stomping, camping, canoeing, hunting for nature treasures like crinoids and geodes and wild edibles, proudly declaring ourselves “Garlic Mustard Warriors” after claiming victory each spring (well, temporary victory) in our neighborhood forest, and adding to my enormous and ever-increasing trail map collection which includes 31 national parks and a growing stack of precious Indiana memories.

I am grateful for this opportunity to help Sycamore build a resilient future.  It is a joy and privilege to now be a part of this brilliant, effective team.  I look forward to learning a lot, getting to know all of you who also care deeply about this important work, and contributing my skills to make Sycamore an even stronger force for land preservation in southern Indiana. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can reach me at or 812-336-5382 ext. 101.