Joan Marie Westin was born on November 11, 1940 in New York City, NY. Joan’s undergraduate college years were spent at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She majored in biology and chemistry. Even with a double major in the sciences, she also obtained a teaching credential. Her last two years of undergraduate work were paid for by a research grant from the US government.
After marriage and three daughters, Joan chose to take the role as an at-home mother. In her spare time Joan volunteered at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens. The Gardens is focused on native plant species. Joan gave frequent tours to school children and adults. Joan started teaching part time once her daughters were in pre-school and elementary school. She taught in the sciences and math. After several years of part time pubic school teaching, she was recruited to join two other teachers to start a private school for girls within the campus of the Webb School of California. Joan taught primarily biology and Advanced Placement Biology. An important part of the program was outdoor field studies. Each year all of the biology students went to Joshua Tree National Park for 4 days for field studies, rock climbing, desert exploration, and camping. Joan also either attended or led several weekend camping programs each month which were Paleontology or rock climbing. The Paleontology programs were through the Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology which is located on the Webb campus.
While living in Claremont, Joan was elected to serve three terms on the board of education for the Claremont Unified School District. Joan was a frequent lobbyist for the California State Board of Education. Nick, her husband was elected to the Claremont City Council and served as mayor. Throughout her stay in Claremont, Joan continued to give native plant tours at the botanic gardens. She has also played her recorders with an early music chamber group and has given performances.
Joan now lives in Mt. San Antonio Gardens, which is a retirement community on the border of Claremont and Pomona , California. She is actively involved in activities and exercises daily with water aerobics and walking. Part of her continual joy is traveling to different countries around the world. All of the trips have a nature orientation.