San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is governed by a volunteer board of directors, whose skills include scientific, legal, business, and professional expertise. 

Nicolle Selby-Thomas, President
Qualcomm, retired

Nicolle and her family have lived near the San Elijo Lagoon for over 20 years. She has been a long-time Conservancy supporter and advocate. Her appreciation for land preservation and open space, along with her interest in watershed education, inspired her to join the board in 2012. Nicolle recently left Qualcomm with over 20 years of experience in leadership positions focused on Procurement/Supply Chain Management. Additionally, she has held leadership positions at several aerospace and defense firms. Nicolle holds a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California and was a former instructor for Contracts Management Extended Studies Program at San Diego State University. Nicolle was a past recipient of "Tribute to Women & Industry (TWIN) Award". She was recognized as Volunteer of the Year at North County Philanthropy 2016 Award Ceremony. Nicolle's interests include playing soccer, as well as walking or running the trails of the lagoon with friends and her dog.

Nicolle is Chair of the Officers Committee.

Matthew Adams, CPA, Vice President
Portfolio Manager, Dowling & Yahnke

Matt was born and raised in Olivenhain, and has always enjoyed the reserve for hikes and sunset views. In recent years, Matt and his wife Danielle wanted to further support the Conservancy, so they joined the President’s Council. Matt is a Portfolio Manager with Dowling & Yahnke, a family wealth management firm in Del Mar. Matt was a volleyball scholar athlete at UC Santa Barbara and graduated cum laude with a business economics degree, emphasizing accounting. He received his CPA while working for Deloitte LLP. In his free time, Matt is usually keeping tabs on his twin baby girls Evelyn & Avery. Matt also enjoys surfing various Cardiff reef breaks, scuba diving, hiking, and camping.

David Kramer, Treasurer
Founder, Oakhurst Builders

David and his wife, Debbie, are longtime Solana Beach residents. David is a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, and relocated to San Diego County in 1984. He and Debbie raised their two children, Joel and Tamara, on South Rios Avenue for many years. Their proximity to San Elijo Lagoon inspired their membership. David is the founder of Oakhurst Builders, a construction company specializing in custom residential and small commercial projects. One of the company's goals is sustainable and solar powered construction. He has a naturalist’s passion for the outdoors, geography, bird watching, and travel.

David is Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee.

Susie Hedrick, Secretary
Lab Manager, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Susie has lived near San Elijo Lagoon for 30 years. She has enjoyed walking and running the trails and observing lagoon birds, animals, springtime flowers, and fall colors. She participates regularly in area bird counts and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Project FeederWatch. She is a long-term supporter of the Conservancy and has been a member of the President’s Council for 7 years. Susie graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. She is currently a lab coordinator at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where she engages in biological research.

Susie is the Chair of the Education Committee and serves on the Habitat Management Committee and Lands Committee.

Doug Gillingham, Immediate Past President
Water Supply Engineering Consultant

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.

Ingrid Flores, PhD
Associate Professor in Science Education at California State University San Marcos

Dr. Ingrid Flores is Program Co-Coordinator of the Multiple Subject Credential Program at CSU San Marcos. She previously taught developmental mathematics at University of Texas El Paso, where she worked with underprepared students in mathematics for readiness to enter university-level science coursework. Ingrid has significant teaching experience in higher education and working with K-5 public school classroom teachers and diverse student populations in exploratory and investigative science. Her published research and international conference presentations focus on developing and increasing pre- service teachers’ self-efficacy for science teaching through site-based science mentoring of fifth-grade students.

Brenda Hall
Director of North County Professional Development Federation
Brenda and her family have lived in Carlsbad for the last twenty years.  Her son discovered San Elijo Lagoon while taking a photography class and exploring the scenic landscape. Brenda is excited to work with the Conservancy and introduce this natural space to more students in the region. Brenda received the Fran Aleshire Leadership Award in 2014. She also serves on an Advisory Board for YouCubed at Stanford as well as the newly formed International Center for Educational Research and Practice for the Vista Unified School District.
Brenda is Chair of the Education Committee.
Nathatlie Hall, Esq.
Founder of NBDH Law

Attorney Nathalie Hall founded NBDH, a family and business law firm. She graduated with honors from University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law. Nathalie was born in Israel and grew up in Paris and Milan. She is fluent in five languages: English, French, Hebrew, Spanish and Italian. Natalie has a strong ability to think outside the box and deliver fresh solutions and ideas when tackling problems and issues. She and her husband, Scott, are longtime supporters of open space preservation.
Anita Hayworth, PhD
Principal/Senior Biologist/Habitat Manager, Dudek

Anita has lived in Encinitas for 20 years and has been avidly birding Southern California since she moved to the region in 1988. She has always placed a high priority on working in conservation and habitat management. She has especially focused on birds and has and continues to conduct studies on their physiology, monitoring population changes, and conducting surveys for various endangered species and their habitat needs. San Elijo Lagoon, being located in such close proximity for both work and play, has been important for her personal and professional experience. As a parent, she helped with school trips to the lagoon, enriching the visit and knowledge and even providing art experiences for children. Anita feels the lagoon is an important connection to nature that is close enough for all members of society to enjoy and for her to visit regularly, and, for a birdwatcher, is a treasure chest of birds. 

Anita received her PhD from University of California Davis in Ecology, taught ornithology at Davis and then moved to Southern California. She is currently senior biologist and project manager at Dudek, a local environmental and engineering firm, and provides support for proposed projects as well as functioning as habitat manager for a number of open space preserves in San Diego County. While her specialty and passion is birds and butterflies, she is a general wildlife biologist well versed in permitting and agency coordination.

Anita is Chair of the Habitat Management Committee.

John Helmer
Land Use Planning and Project Management Consultant

John grew up in a military family living on various bases in Virginia, North Carolina and California until his father’s retirement in Fallbrook.  He attended University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in Geography where he was active in various environmental and political activities. He later attended graduate school at California State University Chico where he was co-founder of the Butte Environmental Council, a local recycling and environmental organization.
John has always been actively involved in environmental matters and grassroots organizations including serving as President of the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and later as a board member of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation. John wants to use his professional experience and knowledge as well as his passion for preservation of wetlands and the environment to further enhance our mission. John and his wife Jane have been happily living in Encinitas since 2004.

Kevin K. Johnson, Esq.
Founder, Kevin K. Johnson APLC

Kevin is a 1980 graduate of the University of California, Davis, School of Law. He specializes in land use and environmental law. He is a Founding Board Member for San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy (1987) and served as its President from 1991 to 2001. He also serves as General Counsel the Conservancy. 


Michael Lea, PhD
Academic and Financial Services Executive, retired

Michael and his wife Teresa have lived in Cardiff for 29 years. They look out on the east side of the lagoon every day from their patio and enjoy hikes through the reserve. Michael’s interests include cycling, golf and skiing. He has traveled to more than 50 countries for business and personal purposes.

Michael is a retired academic and financial services executive. He has a PhD in economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has taught at Cornell University, San Diego State University, the University of California, San Diego and the Wharton International Housing Finance Program at the University of Pennsylvania. His most recent position was Visiting Professor of Finance and Director of the Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate at San Diego State. Michael joined the board in January 2017.

Michael is Chair of the Lands Committee.

Megan O'Toole Lyons
Marketing & Communications Specialist

Megan has lived in Solana Beach for 15 years with her husband while raising their two children. She was born and raised in Oregon and has a strong love of nature, the beach and our lagoons. Her professional background is primarily in Marketing Communications. For 10 years she served as Product Manager at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington. At Microsoft, she focused on increasing revenue for key software products through retail, corporate and online channels of distributions by account management, product promotions and marketing programs that included extensive sales force product training, creative team management and development of marketing vehicles such as newsletters, direct marketing and advertising. Megan attained her BA from the University of Santa Clara in Santa Clara. In her spare time, Megan enjoys reading, cooking, entertaining and travel with her family.

Megan is Chair of the Nominations & Board Advancement Committee.

John Osborne
Director External Affairs, AT&T

John is a native San Diegan and was raised in the community of Del Cerro. He grew up surfing in the local waters from Sunset Cliffs to Carlsbad and is an avid waterman. He has lived in Encinitas for the past 20 years with his wife Carla and their two sons. He and his family have been concerned about the health of San Elijo Lagoon. He enjoys golf, surfing and skiing. John earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from UCSD and a Masters from SDSU's Executive MBA program. He currently works for AT&T. He represents the company in educating the public on AT&T's Sustainability efforts and other operational matters. He is the immediate past Chairman of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Mottino Family YMCA, San Diego North Economic Development Council, Encinitas Rotary Club and San Diego Regional Technology Alliance. John joined the board in January 2017.

Jason R. Schingler, Esq.
Partner at Worden Williams, LLC

Attorney Jason Schingler is a partner in the Worden Williams law firm and focuses on estate planning, trust administration, probate, business and real estate law. He is familiar with the legal side of running a board in the nonprofit sector. His law firm has a rich history in supporting land trusts and conservancies. He has significant experience in a broad range of business matters including entity formation, contract preparation, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance and compliance. Jason was selected by San Diego Daily Transcript as one of San Diego County's Best Young Attorneys in 2008 and 2010. He was also selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyer’ Rising Stars list in 2016 and 2017. Jason holds a LLM from University of San Diego in Taxation and JD from California Western School of Law. He and his wife, Kristan, have two young children.  

Paul Worthington
Realtor, Sea Coast Exclusive Properties

Paul has lived in North County all his life, where he has devoted his life to service through leadership in his profession and his community. He enjoys running and hiking along the trails in the Lagoon, and often has a pair of binoculars in hand to check out the local bird population. He has volunteered at many of the restoration events in the Reserve over the years. This is his second time to serve on the Conservancy's Board, having served as Treasurer from 2010-2014. He also has served as co-chair of the Conservancy's last three Birds of a Feather Galas. Paul has been a professional realtor for 37 years, currently working for Sea Coast Exclusive Properties in Encinitas.

Paul is the Chair of the Development & Outreach and Gala Committees.

Tom Golich

Tom is a longtime Solana Beach resident whose home overlooks San Elijo Lagoon. He and his wife, Donna, cherished their lagoon walks with their family, beginning more than 50 years ago, and still do today. Tom joined the conservancy’s board of directors in the 1990s and served for six years. He also volunteered in community leadership on the Solana Beach City Council, from 1998 to 2004, and was mayor for one term. During this time Tom became more familiar with the development issues facing the property now known as Harbaugh Seaside Trails. When the opportunity to purchase the property was presented, Tom and Donna joined in to support the conservancy as one of the lenders to this land acquisition. He has stayed active in this role and serves on the committee to oversee the coastal overlook's restoration for public trails and native habitat. Tom recently served on the board for San Dieguito River Valley Park Joint Powers Authority, and chaired its Citizens Advisory Committee.

Janie DeCelles

Janie is a long-time supporter of the Conservancy and is a member of both our Legacy Circle and President’s Council. Janie was also our community co-leader in the Campaign for Gateway Park that ultimately saved the Harbaugh Seaside Trails property. Janie moved to Cardiff-by-the-Sea from Baltimore in 1987. She first rented a house on San Elijo Avenue with views of the Pacific Ocean and San Elijo Lagoon. She soon joined San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy and has been intimately involved in our organization. Then, and now, Janie loves trails, open space and walking with friends at San Elijo Lagoon. Continue to Janie's bio ...


Sally Foster
Dean Emeritus, MiraCosta College San Elijo Campus

Sally is dean emeritus of the San Elijo campus of MiraCosta College, a site that borders the reserve. She helped the Conservancy 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 coordinates the L.I.F.E (Learning Is For Everyone) program at the San Elijo Campus of MiraCosta College and serves on the Scholarship Committee 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 a M.A. in Psychology at Chico State. She has lived in Encinitas since 1978, and has two sons. It was her younger son's Environmental Impact Study, for a biology class in high school, that got Sally and her family particularly interested in San Elijo Lagoon. Her son chose a site next to the lagoon for his yearlong 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. Sally was a Conservancy board member from 2007-2016. Sally was recognized as Volunteer of the Year at North County Philanthropy Council 2015 Award Ceremony. She also has served as co-chair of the Conservancy's last three Birds of a Feather Galas. 

Sally serves on the Gala Committee.

Linda Jones, PhD
National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA retired

Linda is a native San Diegan and received her PhD in marine ecology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. Linda retired from NOAA after working as Deputy Director and marine mammal scientist at the NW Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, WA.  Upon returning to San Diego in 2007, she became involved in the Conservancy because she enjoys the lagoon. Learn more about Linda's contributions as Naturalist In the Spotlight. Linda is also a Master Gardener and is a member of the Master Gardener Association of San Diego County, a UC Irvine program. Linda was a Conservancy board member from December 2009-2017.

Linda serves on the Habitat Management Committee.

Elizabeth Venrick, PhD
Biological Oceanographer Emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Elizabeth Venrick joined the board in 2008. She is a biological oceanographer emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, 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. Since 2012 she has been working to establish the Guide to the Plants of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. With a total reserve plant list exceeding 300 plants, she expects to be around for a while. Elizabeth was a Conservancy board member from December 2008-2017.

Elizabeth serves on the Habitat Management Committee.





San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy leadership is composed of leading professionals who volunteer their expertise and talents in science and research, K-12 and higher education, legal, business, and estate planning. Together, they expand our vision to connect you, your families, and future generations with a legacy of conserved lands and access to nature for everyone, now and always.

Our vision is a world where biodiversity is preserved and people act to conserve nature and embrace it as central to a healthy community.