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Staff biologists and interns at the Office Open House in June
Our dedicated staff 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. Continue...
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.
Jennifer Bright, Development Director
Jennifer Bright joined the team in summer 2014 and works closely with the board of directors and staff on fundraising and stewardship campaigns. She coordinates major donor events, including the biennial Birds of a Feather gala that supports school and public programs.
She worked for several nonprofit agencies within San Diego County where she wrote grants, coordinated events, and developed an environmental education program for under-served populations. Prior to nonprofit, Jennifer led the corporate responsibility program at Neiman Marcus San Diego and brings 17 years of sales and management experience.
Jennifer grew up in Maine and fondly recalls her summers hiking, camping, and boating in the wilderness. After living in Boston for several years, she visited San Diego in the spring of 1999 and fell in love with the warm days and beautiful coastline, and moved a few months later. An avid hiker and backpacker, she recently completed a 30-day solo hike on the John Muir Trail. Her favorite getaway is to be somewhere on a trail in the High Sierras.
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.
Elayna Flanders, Education Coordinator
Elayna Flanders joined conservancy staff in summer 2013 as part-time education coordinator. She assists the environmental education departmentby coordinating and leading school field trips and public walks, assisting in annual docent-naturalist training, and developing teaching materials for all K-12 and public programs.
Elayna previously interned with San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy for three years, assisting in the creation of interpretive panels and an educational wildlife guide. She lead nature hikes, participated in restoration activities and coordinated the children's camp.
A native of Encinitas, Elayna is passionate about her local environment. Her love of hiking and running in San Elijo Lagoon deepens an appreciation that conservation and education are key to restoring natural reserves. Elayna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Ecology at California State University San Marcos. In her graduate work, she focused on knowledge gaps of conservation information in the Birds of North America reference series. She also instructed a biology lab and enjoyed teaching young children during her internship with San Diego Zoo's education department.
David Varner has been actively engaged and committed to conserving natural areas for more than 20 years. David joined the conservancy in 2010. He directs the Habitat Management Program, a strategic program devoted to the protection and conservation of natural resources in and around the reserve. Committed to conserving California’s natural resources, David is a current board director with the California Native Plant Society and a member of the California Society for Ecological Restoration. He is also certified by the California Invasive Plant Council as a trained wildland manager.
His passion for building sustainable relationships between community and nature began in Montana and moved west through the Great Basin to California. David’s hands-on approach to improving water quality and wildlife habitat has also led him to stream restoration projects in South Asia and Mexico. David earned a BS in anthropology from Montana State University and continued his studies at Humboldt State University in Coastal Stream Restoration.
Nick Regoli joined the staff in 2013 to oversee the Community Habitat Restoration program, called Lagoon Platoon. Working with an all-volunteer community team, Nick coordinates weekly habitat restoration projects and the popular 3rd Saturday Lagoon Platoon events.
He grew up in Solana Beach where he explored the lagoon and surfed local breaks. Shortly after high school, Nick set out on a 3,000-mile bike trek that began at the Mexican border and ended in Vancouver, Canada. With each mile his admiration and respect for the Pacific Ocean became stronger. By the time he completed his journey he knew his career would involve protecting land, water, and wildlife and that he would begin that work right here at home.
Nick earned his degree in Environmental Studies degree from San Diego State University and began working in the Soil Ecology and Restoration Group, a research group within the biology department at the school. In his free time he enjoys biking, surfing, cooking, and exploring farmers' markets.
bradley [at] sanelijo [dot] org
Bradley Nussbaum joined the Habitat Management Program first as Community Habitat Restoration Volunteer Intern and then Water Quality Volunteer Intern. Now on staff (2013) Bradley assists staff in the coordination of Lagoon Platoon habitat restoration workshops and events. His primary duties include collecting water quality data in the reserve, photo monitoring inlet sedimentation, and managing the hydrologic monitoring database.
Bradley’s Bachelors of Science degree is in optical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He is currently working on his Masters of Divinity at Claremont School of Theology. When he is not at the conservancy or studying for school, you may find Bradley practicing yoga, hiking, backpacking or gardening.
Angelique Herman, Restoration Ecologist
Angelique Herman manages restoration work of the Invasive Vegetation Control Program in the reserve and the Carlsbad Hydrologic Unit. After obtaining a B.S. degree in Environmental Science from Virginia Tech, Angelique re-located to California in 2010, and has contributed botanical expertise to research and consulting projects throughout Southern California. She is a botanist and International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist. Her background is in habitat restoration, rare plant surveys, and environmental compliance consultation. She is an active member of California Native Plant Society, San Diego Audubon Society, Society of Wetland Scientists, and California Society for Ecological Restoration.
In addition to her botanical background, Angelique is interested in wildlife science. She has experience assisting ornithologists with avian point count and nesting bird surveys, as well as banding passerines and assessing small mammals including Stephens’ kangaroo rat and Mohave ground squirrel. She assisted with monitoring the biodiversity of herpetofauna through the use of pit-fall traps and can identify most common San Diego and Riverside county lizard species. In her spare time, Angelique enjoys filling her garden with heirloom varieties of tasty vegetables, traveling to foreign lands, and spending time at the ocean and in the mountains.
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.
Debby Strauss, Program Associate
Debby joined the conservancy in 2007, inspired by an ecology class at Mira Costa College taught by former conservancy board president Denise Stillinger. Debby supports the various conservancy programs part-time 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.
Debra Hager, Administrative Assistant
Debra Hager joined the conservancy in 2014 as office administrative assistant. Debra supports various administrative functions by implementing established systems, procedures, and policies. She also supports the associate director in financial document management, creation, and filing. She brings more than 20 years experience in the investment advisory industry, with much of that time at Brandes Investment Partners, LP. in various capacities, including trading analytics, mutual funds, and corporate actions management. Debra is a longtime conservancy member. She became more involved as a volunteer with the Lagoon Platoon habitat restoration program. Her appreciation for natural ecosystems is enhanced by the field experiences she’s had. Debra holds a B.A. degree in Business Economics from UC Santa Barbara. She enjoys hiking, wine tasting, cooking, drawing, reading, and traveling in her spare time.
Lori Nussbaum, Community Habitat Restoration Intern
Lori Nussbaum joined the conservancy in July 2014 as the Community Habitat Restoration Intern. Lori assists with weekly and monthly Lagoon Platoon events and other habitat management projects. Lori recently gradutated from Purdue University and holds B.S. degrees in Soil & Crop Science and Psychology. For the past 12 years, she has competed in soils judging contests primarily throughout the Midwest. Her work has also taken her to Oklahoma, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Northern California. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, playing the ocarina, and attending plays and musicals.
Kristina Oswald, Water Quality Intern
Kristina Oswald joined the conservancy in October 2014 as Water Quality Intern. She assists in monitoring water quality by gathering and analyzing data in the reserve. Kristina graduated from The University of Montana with a B.A. in Biology and an emphasis in Ecology and Organismal Biology and a minor in Anthropology. She has performed prior fieldwork in her classes at the Flathead Lake Biological Station where she conducted water quality tests on a variety of lakes and streams in the Flathead Lake County. She learned about the terrestrial ecosystem of The Northwest Rockies by hiking through Glacier National Park. She also spent some time in Australia where she worked with scientists in learning about conservation practices within the rainforests, estuaries, and the Great Barrier Reef of the North Queensland area. Kristina enjoys hiking, snowboarding, SCUBA, and traveling and will soon attend graduate school to pursue a career in research ecology or biology.
Liberty Isbell, Environmental Education Intern
Liberty Isbell joined the conservancy in May 2014 as an environmental education intern. She assists the education director and coordinator in the administration of school and public programs. Liberty graduated from CSU San Marcos with a B.S. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Ecology. While at school she worked in a lab conducting research for Professor Brown, head of the Biology Department. In her spare time Liberty enjoys reading, hiking, camping, and spending time with her family and her dog Goose. She has long admired the work that the conservancy and other organizations do to conserve local wetlands. She desires to be in a career that is focused on the conservation and restoration of biodiversity.
Geòrgia Rodoreda Bartrés, Land Stewardship Intern
Geòrgia Rodoreda Bartrés is the conservancy's first international exchange intern. She is a river restoration specialist from Catalonia (Spain). She will be with the conservancy during the 2014/2015 winter to design and test river restoration techniques using bioengineering. She also conducts annual monitoring of conservancy properties and easements.
Her other goals in the exchange program are to explore alternative working environments and to share innovative approaches to natural resource conservation, specifically with regard to ecological restoration. Geòrgia’s primary fields of expertise include urban planning, ecological restoration of rivers, wetlands, and other degraded areas, natural lands management, and environmental impact assessment. She teaches courses in restoration techniques and environmental impact assessment to Catalan government employees and post-graduate students.
After obtaining a B.S. degree in environmental science from University Autònoma of Barcelona in 2001, Geòrgia spent a semester in Missoula, Montana, where she developed scientific research projects for the Division of Biological Sciences, Physiological Plant Ecology at University of Montana and in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. When she returned to Spain she served as restoration ecologist project manager for an environmental consulting company.
Main Line: (760) 436-3944
*Please note that staff offices are not located at the nature center.
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