Training Natalie began Peace Corps Pre-Service Training on the 27 of June 2003 in Philadelphia, U.S. and proceeded to Mauritania to complete a 10-week training program. The training program was self-directed, community-based training in the village of Mbedia, Gorgol region. It consisted of formal language study, host family experience, and assigned technical and cultural activities in the community complimented by a series of technical, cross-cultural, and personal health and safety seminars at the Kaédi center. Natalie was trained in Hassaniya, the local Arabic dialect using French as a common language.
Permanent Site Placement Natalie was sworn-in as a volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps on September 12, 2003. She was responsible to the Ministry of Education during her service in Mauritania, as an environmental education volunteer assigned to the primary school in the village of Jidrel Mohgheun, Trarza region. Jidrel Mohgheun is a rural, agricultural village on the Senegal River, 35km east of Rosso, directly across from Dagana, Senegal, composed of people of Hassaniya, Wolof, and Pulaar descent. Her primary responsibility was her work to introduce an environmental education program into the primary school and the community but she also worked to introduce beekeeping, with gender and development, with the women’s cooperative, and to improve the village's management of their natural resources. She worked daily in five languages and corresponding cultures: French and Arabic at school and Hassaniya, Wolof, and Pulaar in the village.
After Peace Corps Natalie completed her Peace Corps service in August 2005. Following which, she studied natural resource management for one year in the Republic of Benin at the University of Abomey Calavi. She then continued her education at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. She has maintained her research focus on relationships between water, plants, and people in West Africa.