Anastasia Risley began teaching in high school, where she was active in Future Farmers of America and theater. Through theater, she learned that artistic expression helped her connect with people, bringing her confidence to speak in front of others. In FFA, she excelled in horticulture practicums, helped manage a greenhouse, and integrated theater to teach children of all ages about agriculture, botany, and farm animals on a scientific level. Anastasia graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Environmental Studies: Ecology and Conservation from Southern Oregon University. She took great interest in Native American Ecology, community gardening, and recycling on campus, and volunteered to educate about local morphology and tectonics in public schools, ultimately designing and teaching lessons about earthquakes for her senior capstone at Southern Oregon University. She worked for the United States Forest Service in the Willamette National Forest as a field botanist where she surveyed, documented, and treated vegetation and habitat. Guiding high school students in a huckleberry habitat restoration project for weeks in this forest ultimately inspired her to pursue a life of teaching and sharing ecological and botanical knowledge. Some of her hobbies include identifying and researching plants, and creating art inspired by the vibrancy of the natural world.