Britt began traveling at a young age, fortunate to visit everywhere from rural American towns and remote Polynesian islands to the industrialized European cities of her ancestors. As a teenager, she spent two months backpacking across China-- at the time in the throes of radical social, economic and environmental change-- and it was out of this formative experience that she launched herself onto a path focused on sustainability, teaching, and connecting with both the people and natural environments that together make up communities.
Her college years took her to all corners of China and across East and Southeast Asia, where the human and environmental impacts of unbridled economic development were all too clear. Britt's graduate studies, first at Harvard University and next at UCLA, homed in on the political dimensions of water resource issues in contemporary China, examining power, voice, inequality and the human side of rapid environmental change. With industrial North China as her base, Britt conducted her dissertation research on the South-North Water Transfer Project, the largest water management project in the human history.
In 2012/2013, Britt became both a mother and a professor of environmental geography. For the next several years, the simultaneous experience of seeing the world through the open, curious eyes of her own children and teaching university students about the pressing sustainability challenges she'd studied up close in China was a powerful one. While her children began looking to her for guidance on how to interact with the non-human world all around them, Britt watched her adult students grapple with the question of what to do about the current state of the planet, its ecosystems, and its human communities.
With thinkers like Cronon and early American ecologist Aldo Leopold, along with her students, and her own young children as inspiration, in 2018 Britt founded CityWild, an Oregon nonprofit aimed at inspiring curiosity about the natural world through fun, exploration, and hands-on learning for kids and families, especially those from underserved communities.
Through high-quality, science-based, age-appropriate, hands-on sustainability programming, the overarching goal of CityWild is to give children of all ages the opportunity to connect to the nature all around them in their daily lives and to recognize themselves as members of a larger ecological community that includes plants, animals, insects, rivers, forests, and so on. Above all, CityWild works to foster the innate curiosity of children, especially those in urban areas, about their world. From curiosity comes learning, from learning comes respect, and from respect comes stewardship and advocacy.