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Perin Hailey McNelis (she/her) is a seed curator and artist from Tucson and has called the deserts and grasslands of southern Arizona home for most of her life. Perin grew up with amateur naturalist parents and developed a profound love for plants at a young age while hiking in the desert and sky islands and participating in the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair.


Perin studied at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and at Oregon State University. She holds a BFA in Dance with minors in Botany (to be completed in spring 2024) and Anthropology and a permaculture design certification.


After years of working in nonprofit arts administration, dancing professionally, and working as a landscaper and gardener, Perin joined the Borderlands Restoration horticulture team in 2015 as an intern and is now the Native Plant Program Manager, where she curates the seed collection and coordinates all seed harvest efforts at BRN.


Perin is passionate about ecological restoration, agroecology, history, and culture, which she continues to explore through her work with seeds and through partnerships she has developed with the Patagonia Creative Arts Association and the University of New Mexico's Land Arts of the American West program. 

​Email: Perin McNelis

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