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Justine Burt: A Climate Champion Cycling for Invertebrate Conservation | Xerces Society Skip to main content

Justine Burt: A Climate Champion Cycling for Invertebrate Conservation

By Melissa Manuel on 31. August 2023
Melissa Manuel

Xerces member Justine Burt, of Palo Alto, California, is gearing up to embark on an epic adventure for invertebrates. This September, Justine will bike hundreds of miles from Burlington, Vermont to Bar Harbor, Maine, to raise awareness and funds for invertebrates! Justine will ride with a non-profit organization called Climate Ride that provides cyclists, hikers, and runners a unique opportunity to merge environmental passion, love of physical activity and philanthropic commitment.


Justine and her bike
Member Justine Burt is cycling for insect conservation through Climate Ride. (Photo: Justine Burt.) 


After learning about Xerces through a Bee Better Certified label on a package of blueberries, Justine says “I had been looking for a non-profit to support that was doing great work to help bring back the bee populations.”  Bee Better Certified partners with farmers and food companies to establish high quality habitat on farmland to conserve bees and other pollinators.


Blueberry package with Bee Better Certified seal sticker on top
Justine first learned of Xerces when she discovered a Bee Better Certified label on a package of blueberries. (Photo: Justine Burt.) 


Now, Justine and her husband are slated to cycle 399 miles for a cause with dozens of others from Burlington to Bar Harbor over six days. Justine commented, “It’s through the White Mountains of New Hampshire so there will definitely be some elevation. We have been training since April, which is pushing us to get into shape”. Climate riders such as Justine provide an example of a creative solution for inspiring change and protecting invertebrates and their habitats, all while riding through beautiful scenery. If you’d like to cheer on Justine on her upcoming ride for Xerces, we encourage you to donate to her Climate Ride page.


Justine and husband with bikes
Justine and her husband have trained to ride 400 miles by bike to support the Xerces Society. (Photo: Justine Burt.) 


Before becoming a cyclist for conservation, Justine grew up in the Northern Maryland countryside in an old stone farmhouse built in 1792, surrounded by dairies and horse farms. She recalls her earliest encounters with invertebrates: “on hot summer days at the nearby creek, the iridescent wings of dragonflies mesmerized me. The visiting monarch butterflies that fluttered through our property always caught my attention.” When asked to pick her favorite invertebrate, she chooses fireflies, stating “fireflies blinking across the lawn are magical”.


Firefly on leaf
Justine's favorite invertebrate is the firefly, with dragonflies and butterflies not far behind. (Photo: Candance Fallon.) 


Justine currently works as an environmental sustainability consultant, acting as the project manager for the Richmond Green-Blue New Deal catalyzing green jobs for residents of Richmond, CA. Justine is also the executive director of the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association in Palo Alto, CA, working to help essential workers shift their commute from driving to taking mass transit or biking. 


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Melissa joined Xerces in 2022 as the Donor Engagement Specialist, working with the Membership team. She is a "retired" young farmer with over a decade of expertise in urban farming, agroforestry, garden design and education. Before joining Xerces, she worked as a horticulturist at Leach Botanical Garden. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Portland State University and has worked with a number of environmental non-profit groups throughout her career.

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