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BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board members staff a Conservancy table at an outreach event.
San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is governed by a volunteer board of directors, whose skills include scientific, legal, business, and professional expertise.
A biologist, docent, and recognized leader in environmental education, Denise Stillinger is President of the Board of Directors for San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. As a founding board member, her involvement with San Elijo Lagoon began as a volunteer patroller in the late 1980s in the newly created reserve, before a county ranger was assigned. She served as the first Conservancy treasurer for 15 years. She continues her commitment as a docent, leading school groups on field trips to explore the beauty and wonder of wetlands plants and animals. During her tenure on the board of directors for San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, the organization has grown from an ambitious group of volunteers to a respected environmental nonprofit that is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2012. Today, the Conservancy has eight staff members, a supportive President’s Council, and a professional board of directors. Membership is growing at more than 2500 households. Read more about Denise Stillinger.
Scott Griffiths began his involvement at San Elijo Lagoon in 2007 with a docent class taught by former Conservancy board member Barbara Moore. Thoroughly inspired by the experience, he has been advocating proselytizing the wonders of the lagoon ever since. He leads regular walks at the visitor center on the third Saturday of each month. Scott is married to Eileen Griffiths and has three children, Josh, Liz and Katie. He moved to Encinitas in 1983. He cycles the Coast Highway each week, believes in gardening with native plants, surfs occasionally, and follows the natural Southern California seasonal changes in the lagoon. Scott has been a member of the defense industry for 30 years and is currently President of R&F Products in San Marcos, an ISO 14001 company. He would like to remind all business owners that a great way to mitigate the inevitable water pollution from impervious surfaces such as parking lots and driveways is to join the Conservancy. Scott is also Docent of the Quarter for Winter 2011.
Doug went for a run in the lagoon the day he moved to Solana Beach. Inspired by that welcoming experience in 1989, he’s been an advocate for this wetland and a Conservancy supporter ever since. Each Fall, Doug listens for the honking of geese on migration, returning to the lagoon as they swoop over his neighborhood before setting down for the night—his enthusiasm (running through the house to the yard for a look) even inspires his kids. Doug is onboard to help the Conservancy advance its mission to protect and enhance the lagoon, and in particular to help with challenges and opportunities presented by the planned San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project. When not running, bicycling, chasing his kids, and greeting geese from the reserve in his backyard, Doug works as a licensed civil engineer consulting in the areas of water supply planning and engineering for public and private clients.
Paul is a North County native, where he has devoted his life to service through leadership in his profession and his community. He enjoys running along trails in the lagoon, and is a regular and tireless worker at the restoration events, where he can often be seen quietly taking a lead role—no doubt due to his skill and interest in landscape design. Paul has been a professional realtor for 30 years, currently with Sea Coast Exclusive Properties. He serves as President of the Board of the Sunland Home Foundation, and has graciously agreed to serve as the Conservancy Board Treasurer.
Sally Foster joined the Board in December of 2007. Sally is the Dean of the San Elijo campus of MiraCosta College, a site which borders the reserve. She helped SELC sponsor the first Lagoon Lecture Series, which raised awareness in our community about the reserve, its geology, its history, the plants and birds that live there, as well as the issues we will face in the future as we continue to protect and restore it. Sally serves on the board of the Coastal Community Foundation. A native of Michigan, Sally earned a B.A. from University of Michigan and then moved to California where she earned an M.A. in Psychology at Chico State. She has lived in Encinitas since 1978, and has two sons in college. It was her younger son's Environmental Impact Study, done for a biology class in high school, that got Sally and her family particularly interested in the San Elijo estuary. Her son chose a site next to the lagoon for his year-long study. He would visit his site several times a month, recording seasonal changes in the levels of flora and fauna, and paying special attention to human-related impacts to the estuary.
Pastor Bill's interest in the Conservancy stems from his environmental concerns and expressing those concerns in our local setting. He has been a supporter of various national conservation groups, including Sierra Club and other wildlife foundations. Pastor Bill decided upon retirement to concentrate all these various concerns into support for SELC. He feels that, as a retired Lutheran pastor, part of his Christian faith calls upon him to be concerned for God's creation. Pastor Bill hopes his presence on the Board can help to make SELC better known in our area, and that he can contribute to its educational goals. He graduated from Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH in 1961, the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Illinois and received his Master’s in Theology from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He completed post graduate work in Islamics and African Culture at Hartford Seminary Foundation in Hartford, Connecticut in 1967. Pastor Bill serves as part-time teacher and Development Director at Grauer School, which has worked closely with the Conservancy over the years. He has been married to Patricia since 1965 and they have two sons and two granddaughters.
Mark Huffman, longtime Conservancy supporter, joined the board in 2007. Mark is a National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward and on the team to certify the City of Encinitas as a Community Wildlife Habitat. A San Diego native, Mark moved to Encinitas in 1995 and works professionally as a CPA and financial planner. He is an avid cyclist, surfer, and birder with a passion for landscaping with native plants.
Kevin is a founding board member of the Conservancy and served as its president from 1991-2001. He is a land use and environmental attorney and managing partner of Johnson and Hanson, LLP, with offices in San Diego and Sacramento, specializing in representing citizen and environmental groups. Kevin is vice president of Planning and Conservation League (PCL), a statewide environmental organization that maintains a lobby staff in Sacramento. PCL is responsible for developing and passing more than $22 billion in statewide bond measures benefiting the environment. Kevin is also a former board member and was first president of Water for California, a statewide organization dedicated to reforming state water policy and practices. He is a frequent speaker on land use issues and an expert on California Environmental Quality Act, the state's premier environmental protection law.
Linda is a San Diego native who returned to warm, sunny Encinitas after living in the Seattle area for many years. She retired from NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries in 2006 having worked as a marine mammal scientist and as the Deputy Science Director of NW Fisheries Science Center. She enjoyed her first birding attempts in the lagoon while a graduate student in marine ecology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Since returning to San Diego, she reinstituted her love of the lagoon, first with the monthly bird counts, and then as a volunteer for the Conservancy's biennial Birds of a Feather Gala. She is currently a member and Treasurer of the Encinitas Community Garden committee and is a trainee for the Master Gardeners program. Her love of flowers led her two years ago to work part-time as a flower designer. In addition to San Elijo Lagoon and flowers, she enjoys all things related to the ocean or other water bodies. Learn more about Linda's contributions as Docent In the Spotlight Fall 2012.
Jim Lauer, JD
Joyce Pickersgill, PhD
Ed and his wife came to Solana Beach from Orange County in 1990, and soon discovered hiking in San Elijo Lagoon. He is a Senior Vice President at Union Bank in his 30-year career in bank management, and member of its Foundation’s Local Area Committee. He enjoys nonprofit volunteering, including the Board of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (San Diego). A SoCal native, he holds degrees from CSU Fullerton and UCLA. His hobbies include freshwater fishing, golf, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Nicolle Selby-Thomas has lived in a home overlooking San Elijo Lagoon for nearly 20 years and is a long-time Conservancy supporter. She has worked in the high-tech sector for more than 30 years, and is currently with Qualcomm Technology, Inc. She also serves on Solana Beach Public Arts Advisory Commission. Nicolle holds an M.S. degree in Systems Management from USC and is a former instructor for SDSU Extended Studies Program in Contracts Management. She enjoys spending time with her family, playing soccer, and hiking.
Elizabeth Venrick joined the board in 2008. She is a biological oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, specializing in phytoplankton ecology. She served on California Fish and Game Commission between 1976 and 1982. More recently, she has directed the Scripps component of California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations. Elizabeth became involved with the Conservancy first as a docent, then as a member of the 20th Anniversary Committee, savior of historical photographs, easel-guru and general odd-jobber. She is a slowly-improving participant in monthly bird counts. She is also an enthusiastic native plant gardener, constantly battling the evil forces of acacia, red apple, and sorrel in her Cardiff yard. Elizabeth was also recognized as Docent of the Quarter in Summer 2009.
Aaron Weiss and his wife Carla moved to Solana Beach 12 years ago from the Bay Area. Aaron can frequently be found running along the lagoon trails. His experiences in the reserve, and appreciation for the open space and beauty the lagoon provides for the community, motivated him to become a Conservancy supporter. Aaron’s desire to be more involved in the governance and protection of the lagoon led him to pursue the opportunity to join the board in 2012. He is Director of Marketing for Hewlett-Packard Company’s LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions business, and has more than 20 years experience in marketing and business development for technology. Aaron contributes his public relations expertise to help raise awareness and appreciation of the lagoon and the work of SELC. Aaron enjoys spending time with his seven-year old twins, running, playing basketball, and surfing local breaks.
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD
Click to advance to the board member's biography.