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Elaine Dodge accepts donations from a brother and sister who want to help save Gateway Park.
Our dedicated staff of eight employees carries out the mission of San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy to protect and enhance the reserve.
The Conservancy's staff expertise combines advanced degrees in natural sciences and environmental studies with outdoor education and nonprofit program management. The staff carries out the Conservancy's day-to-day operations and scientific functions.
Doug Gibson, Executive Director / Principal Scientist
Doug Gibson, a wetlands ecologist, completed the first experimental phase of the inlet opening at San Elijo Lagoon in the mid 1990s. At that time, the lagoon’s water quality was so poor that few fishes and invertebrates could survive. Proposed developments adjacent to the lagoon further threatened the vitality of one of San Diego’s largest coastal wetlands.
In 1996, Doug Gibson was hired as executive director and principal scientist with San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. Securing funding for an endowment, and building member and donor support to carry on the mission of the Conservancy became key priorities.
Gibson blends his extensive knowledge of Southern California coastal wetlands policy with scientific literacy, and fundraising outreach experience to his role as executive director and principal scientist.
He came to San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, where he directed field efforts for the Navy Homeporting Sand Replenishment Project. Prior to the Conservancy, his consulting firm, Gibson Monitoring, coordinated scientific monitoring for various agencies and nonprofit organizations. Spanning 14 years, Gibson participated in the planning of large restoration projects in seven north San Diego County watersheds, including Buena Vista Lagoon, San Dieguito Lagoon, San Elijo Lagoon, and Carlsbad Hydrologic Unit. Read more about Doug Gibson.
Barry Lindgren, Associate Director
Barry Lindgren was introduced to San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy as a volunteer in 2003. Today, he serves as the Conservancy’s Associate Director and Water Quality Specialist, overseeing stream flow gauges in the watershed and conducting water quality measurements in the lagoon. He also manages financial operations for the nonprofit Conservancy.
Barry is familiar with all the North County watersheds having been the Conservancy’s liaison with the Carlsbad Watershed Network’s Invasive Species Program. He is also the past president of San Diego Stream Team. Barry is co-founder of a local scientific instrument company, and brings more than 25 years experience in marketing and management. He has a B.A. in Physics from UC San Diego and a certificate in California Water Management and Ecosystem Restoration from UC Berkeley.
Elaine Dodge, Development Director
Elaine Dodge joined the Conservancy in 2005 as Development Director. She oversees the cultivation of new members and donors into long-term friends of the Conservancy, land stewardship, charitable giving, biennial gala, and The Campaign for Gateway Park.
Elaine has more than 20 years experience in nonprofit fundraising and management. Before joining the Conservancy, she served as executive director of Solana Beach Foundation for Learning. Elaine was a founding board member and past executive director of S.T.O.P. (Safe Tables Our Priority), a national consumer advocacy organization.
Prior to moving to California, Elaine worked in Washington, D.C. as the food safety program director for Government Accountability Project. She practiced law for several public interest law firms, working on cases ranging from environmental litigation to whistleblower protection.
Elaine received a B.A. from UC Berkeley, and J.D. from McGeorge School of Law. She lives a hop, skip, and a jump from San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and enjoys northern “migrations” to her home on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Tara Fuad, Education Director
Tara Fuad develops scientific curriculum-based environmental education programs that meet California Academic Content standards for schools. She is also responsible for public programs, and for recruiting and training docents.
Tara began her career in the environmental field as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1980s, where she spent three years working on reforestation projects in Niger, West Africa. Upon returning to the states, Tara settled in Washington, D.C. where she was involved in environmental research and education while working for Ecological Society of America, National Park Service, and Audubon Naturalist Society.
After moving to San Diego in 2003, Tara served as a docent for the Conservancy, and also worked for Solana Center for Environmental Innovation as Program Manager for school recycling. Tara has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College and an M.S. in Biology from George Mason University, with an emphasis on nutrient cycling in Virginia wetland soils.
David Varner, Resource Management Director
David Varner joined the Conservancy in 2010 to manage the Invasive Vegetation Control Program for San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Carlsbad Hydrologic Unit. He expanded that program by developing habitat restoration projects, and took on more responsibilities at the Conservancy acquiring grants, overseeing staff, and managing various projects. Today, David is Director of Resource Management at the Conservancy. He oversees the Habitat Management Program, its staff and activities, and represents the Conservancy’s interests through several local and regional efforts.
David received a B.S. from Montana State University and worked as a seasonal field biologist before returning to school to study coastal stream restoration at Humboldt State University. He went from there to Boise, Idaho where he worked in a variety of freshwater habitats in the Great Basin and Pacific Northwest. During this time, David also led charitable natural resource conservation projects in South Asia, Mexico, and the American West. He moved to Southern California in 2008.
Committed to conserving California’s natural resources, David is a Director on the Board of California Native Plant Society, and an active member of its San Diego Chapter. David is certified by California Invasive Plant Council as a Cal-IPC Trained Wildland Manager, and he instructs its invasive vegetation mapping classes. David is also a member of California Society for Ecological Restoration. An avid recreationist, David enjoys hiking, mountain and road biking, surfing, and kayaking.
Joel Kramer, Associate Biologist
Joel Kramer joined the Conservancy in 2010 to work on the invasive species removal program and to monitor stream health and water quality in the lagoon and its tributaries. He returns to work in the Reserve where he played as a child and volunteered as a student in Solana Beach. He now engages the local community to assist in coastal habitat restoration.
Joel attended Torrey Pines High School, where he served as an environmental reporter and columnist for the newspaper. He left for Seattle, Washington to study Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. When out of the stream, Joel delves into Afro-Cuban percussion, indigenous languages and local foods.
Debby Strauss, Program Associate
Debby joined the Conservancy in 2007, inspired by an ecology class at Mira Costa College that she took from SELC Board President Denise Stillinger. Debby supports the various Conservancy programs with day-to-day operations in the areas of development, education, outreach, and general administration. Her primary responsibilities include maintaining the membership database, acknowledging contributions, grant writing for education and outreach programs, and editing the Lagoon Tidings member newsletter.
Prior to joining SELC, Debby had a lengthy career in human resources, working for both corporations and nonprofits. For many years, she has volunteered with numerous North County nonprofit organizations. Debby has a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara. She and her husband, Barry, have lived in Encinitas for the past 25 years and have two sons.
Nichole Joseph, Development Associate
Nichole Joseph has worked for and volunteered with environmental nonprofit organizations for the past six years. She joined the Conservancy in Summer 2012 as Campaign Coordinator for The Campaign for Gateway Park. She provides administrative, fundraising and marketing support for the $3.75 million fundraising initiative to protect the Gateway property by keeping it free from commercial development forever. Nichole is also the Coordinator for Birds of a Feather biennial gala to be held August 17, 2013.
Nichole holds a B.A. in Business Administration from University of San Diego, and a Professional Certificate in Grant Writing from San Diego State University. While in college, she studied abroad for a year at University of Queensland in Australia. A Huntington Beach native and resident of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, she enjoys traveling to Central and South America, surfing, snowboarding, and rock climbing with her brother.
Michelle Tateyama, GIS & Database Manager
Michelle Tateyama received a GIS internship in Fall 2012, and was hired in Spring 2013 to join conservancy staff as GIS and Database Manager. She works with Habitat Management Program staff managing the GIS database, developing maps, and performing tasks related to the Invasive Species Program.
Michelle graduated Cum Laude from UC Irvine with a B.S. in Earth & Environmental Science. She brings enthusiasm and specialized academic GIS training to the Habitat Management Program, where she is receiving career experience in natural resource conservation. Michelle has been invested in protecting the natural environment since a young age. In her free time she enjoys cooking, hiking, surfing, and spending time with her family.
Kelly Gage, Environmental Education Intern
Kelly joined the Conservancy in January 2013 as an intern working with the Education Director. She provides support to docents leading school programs, and is responsible for developing educational materials and programs. Kelly also assists in community programs including Saturday walks and Family Discovery Days. Kelly is a Solana Beach resident studying Recreation and Leisure Studies at California State University, Long Beach.
In 2012 Kelly was the recipient of the Jack Minar Channel Islands Scholarship, which allowed her to study indigenous wildlife and plants of the Channel Islands. Kelly’s career goal is to work as a Park Interpreter in a State or National Park. When she is not interning, Kelly spends time with her husband and two cats and enjoys surfing, traveling, hiking, and working on her side business caring for pets in the neighborhoods of North County.
Andrew Bronte, Water Quality Volunteer Intern
Andrew Bronte joined the Habitat Management Program in January as the Spring 2013 Water Quality Volunteer Intern. His primary duties include collecting lagoon water quality data, photomonitoring inlet sedimentation, and managing the hydrologic monitoring database. In addition, Andrew assists in the coordination of monthly Lagoon Platoon habitat restoration events and devotes time to improving his GIS software and mapping skills.
Currently a student at MiraCosta College, Andrew plans to transfer to Humboldt State University for the Fall semester. He aspires to major in Environmental Science with a concentration in Ecological Restoration and a minor in Geospatial Sciences. When he is not at the Conservancy or studying for school, you may find Andrew rock climbing the walls of Southern California, longboarding the hills and parking garages of San Diego, or just outside enjoying the weather.
HOW TO CONTACT US
Main Line: (760) 436-3944
*Please note that staff offices are not located at the nature center.
There are no open positions at this time.
More information about Internships