Solano RCD Staff
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Chris has eighteen years of experience implementing and managing restoration projects in the Sacramento Valley. Chris gained his first habitat restoration experience while working with Hedgerow Farms in the mid-nineties. Since then, Chris has managed and implemented habitat restoration projects for the Yolo County Resource Conservation District, Colusa County Resource Conservation District and was the Habitat Restoration Program Manager for Audubon California’s Landowner Stewardship Program for seven years. He now serves as the Executive Director for Solano RCD. Chris is a current board member of the Putah Creek Council and is a former president of the California Native Grasslands Association. Chris graduated from UC Davis with a degree in political science with an emphasis in environmental studies and planning and a minor in natural resources.
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Caitlyn has worked for Solano RCD since 2016. She wears many hats for the RCD including office manager, bookkeeper and Board Clerk for the Solano RCD Board of Directors. Her responsibilities also include coordinating payroll with Solano County, maintaining personnel records and general office management. Caitlyn joined the RCD team with over 10 years of experience in various office settings. Born and raised in Solano County, she loves that the RCD gives so much back to the community she calls home. Caitlyn earned a BA in History from UC Santa Barbara in 2011.
Deputy Executive Director
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Katherine manages and implements a wide diversity of restoration programs for Solano RCD. She works with a variety of public and private partners to eradicate invasive weeds, propagate and install native plants, design and install irrigation systems, and monitor program success. Her projects have included riparian corridor enhancement, on-farm conservation (hedgerows and wildlife ponds), and rangeland weed control. She chairs the Solano County Weed Management Area. Katherine has worked for Solano RCD since 2007; prior to that she worked for six years in resource management for California State Parks and eight years in recycling coordination for the city of Manteca. Katherine holds a BS in Biology/Botany from CSU Stanislaus and a PhD in Ecology from UC Davis.
Watershed Project Manager
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Amy has worked for Solano RCD since July 2008 and manages a variety of projects that aim to involve landowners, farmers and ranchers in creating wildlife habitat, controlling erosion, improving water quality and sequestering carbon on their land. She also monitors urban water quality for the cities of Fairfield, Suisun City and Vallejo in partnership with other Bay Area groups, and works with the Solano County Water Agency to manage a County-wide Small Grant program for flood control. Her previous work experience includes running a small landscaping business, conducting research on nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural systems, and environmental outreach on climate change and sustainable agriculture at UC Davis. She earned a BA in Biology from UC Santa Cruz in 1997 and an MS in Ecology from UC Davis in 2003.
Restoration Project Manager
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Sarah began working for Solano RCD in January 2016 as Restoration Project Manager, and since then has managed a variety of habitat restoration, enhancement, and invasive species management projects. Prior to joining the RCD, Sarah came with over 10 years of experience working with natural resource conservation organizations, including the California Department of Boating and Waterways, Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, Sacramento Area Creeks Council, The Nature Conservancy at Cosumnes River Preserve, and the Sacramento Tree Foundation. Her work and volunteer experiences have centered on native plant establishment, habitat restoration, invasive plant management, and vegetation monitoring throughout Sacramento Valley. Sarah earned a B.S. in Ecological Management and Restoration from U.C. Davis.
Andrea Mummert Puccini
Conservation Project Manager
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Since coming to Solano RCD in 2006, Andrea has managed projects focused on enhancing native plant communities and wildlife habitat on private and public lands. Andrea coordinates with the RCD’s federal partner—the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service—to provide technical and planning assistance to county residents and producers in order to achieve conservation goals on private lands. She also works with the Dixon-Solano RCD Water Quality Coalition, assisting agricultural producers to comply with state water quality regulations. Before coming to Solano RCD, Andrea held positions with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, California Resources Agency, and the California Department of Fish and Game. She was awarded a BA in English and Biology from Saint Mary’s College of Maryland in 1996 and a MS in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech in 2001.
Conservation Project Manager
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Karin completed her Wildlife and Education studies at UC Davis in 2013. She has been working in environmental fields for 8 years and has experience in education, habitat restoration, and fisheries biology. She enjoys combining her educational and professional backgrounds with an array of outdoor activities and finding new ways to explore the world around her. Her enthusiasm for the outdoors and ecology complement her engaging teaching style and help her excite students about natural resource conservation.
Restoration Field Manager
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David joined Solano RCD in 2020. Originally from Contra Costa County, David spent the last 16 years working in community organizing, urban agriculture and environmental just in New York City. As Director of the East New York Farms! Project, he helped establish 5 new urban farms and developed collaborative research projects on specialty crops, native pollinators, composting, urban soil quality, and youth development. He first got involved in restoration as a crew leader in Northwest Youth Corps, and has been helping his family with a prairie and oak savannah restoration in Iowa for over a decade. He studied at Deep Springs College and received his BA at Columbia University.
Assistant Restoration Project Manager
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Elizabeth graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2018 with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In 2016 she started assisting with ecological restoration along the California Central Coast at Younger Lagoon Reserve of the UC Natural Reserve system. While beginning her work ecological restoration, she has worked for two different plant ecology labs at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis where she assisted in research on an invasive legume of the Pacific Northwest, plant fungal interactions, and species coexistence patterns along the California Coast. As one of the newer members of the Solano RCD team she is eager to learn more about ecological restoration practices, Solano county flora and fauna, and forming successful partnerships with local land owners and public entities.
Assistant Restoration Project Manager
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John studied Ecology and Evolution at CSU San Bernardino. He got started working in conservation and horticulture at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and the Bureau of Land Management. While living and working on a farm in the central Sierras, he learned about conservation practices in agriculture and began growing native plants for the farm. Following that experience, he has worked with many farmers on similar projects, and continues to do so now as a Restoration Technician with Solano RCD.
Assistant Watershed Project Manager
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Kevin graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a major in Environmental Science with an emphasis in water pollution. He has assisted with research on Tamarisk and Phragmites with the RIVR Lab, as well as interned as an invasive mussel inspector with a WIT II certification and as a water resource intern with the Solano County Water Agency. As a Water Quality Technician and a certified SUAS pilot for Solano RCD, Kevin continues his exploration of the environmental science world and works to expand his skill base and passion for environmental stewardship.
Restoration Project Coordinator
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Beck helps implement and plan on-the-ground fieldwork to install, maintain, and monitor the SRCD's restoration sites. After studying Ecological Restoration and Geospatial Analysis at Cal Poly Humboldt, they had great experiences working as part of the Forest Service Hiawatha National Forest recreation team and the Bureau of Land Management Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring team in Western Colorado. She hopes to apply her skills at the Solano RCD while learning how to navigate partnerships, apply restoration practices, and contribute to new ones in an ecologically complex and increasingly urbanized landscape.
Environmental Education Director
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Marianne has been managing Solano RCD's education program since 2008 and she has more than twenty years combined experience as a watershed educator. Marianne works collaboratively with partners and funders throughout the region to create and implement K-12 environmental education programs that reach over 10,000 students annually. Programs focus on water education and best reflect Solano County's priority environmental concerns. Marianne coordinates three large scale annual County cleanup events and acts as a liaison between Solano County, its cities and the California Coastal Commission. Marianne manages the Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach Program promoting water quality at the County's primary drinking water source, as well as other boater outreach programs throughout the County. In addition to managing programs, Marianne hires and manages a team of ten full and part-time educators. She holds a BA in Education and an MS in Natural Resources with an emphasis on sustainability. She has completed the New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors Americorps Program and several environmental internships in New Jersey, Maryland and Arizona during her career.
Environmental Education Program Manager
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Originally from Duluth, Minnesota, Lee is an enthusiastic educator, public speaker, and education program developer. Lee’s experience includes leading and developing tours, summer camps, K-12 curriculum, and hands-on programming at a variety of museums, including the UW-Madison Geology Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and the Aerospace Museum of California. Lee taught English as a Second Language in San Francisco and Ecuador and is interested in how Next Generation Science Standards can also support English Language Learners. Lee graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double-major in Anthropology and Zoology and a certificate in Archaeology. In her free time, Lee enjoys hiking, cooking, and traveling to new places. Lee oversees Solano RCD's Watershed Explorers Program, the School Water Education Program, and Benicia Water Education Program.
Environmental Education Program Manager
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Prior to joining Solano RCD, Shea coordinated a campaign for the Union of Concerned Scientists, working with scientists and activists to advocate for science-based federal policymaking. She also previously taught high school English for several years and was the faculty sponsor for her students’ environmental clubs. Shea enjoys hiking, and she’s excited to bring her lifelong passion for environmental issues to her work in Solano County. She earned her BA and MA in English from Georgetown University. Shea Kinser oversees Solano RCD's Suisun Marsh Watershed Education and High School Biomonitoring programs, as well as the Solano Water Institute for Teachers.
Assistant Education Program Manager
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A Solano County native, Sierra earned her degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation from Humboldt State University in 2018. Sierra went on to work as an educator for several non-profit organizations such as Friends of the Dunes and Sequoia Park Zoo. After spending several years in the Pacific Northwest, she returned to Solano in 2021. Sierra enjoys bird watching and going on nature adventures with her young daughter. Helping students explore the world around them is by far her favorite part of environmental education. She believes that there is nothing more rewarding than working with the future generation of stewards that will protect this place she calls home.
Education Program Coordinator
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Stephanie found her enjoyment of water and the outdoors early, spending many childhood hours at the rocky and sandy beaches of Monterey Bay and the cool blue of Lake Tahoe. After moving with her family to Texas as a teen, she earned her degree at Texas A&M University and followed her love and nature and learning into a career in science education. Stephanie joins us at SRCD with a decade of formal and informal teaching to draw on including classroom experience in elementary science lab and 4th and 5th grades, creating and leading interdisciplinary K-12 summer and after school programs, and a season of watershed-specific environmental education in the Carmel Valley. With her training as a Certified Interpretive Guide and a California Naturalist she brings an interest in our interconnected ecosystems and a focus on facilitating experiences of wonder for all students. In her personal time, you can find her volunteering at The Marine Mammal Center, scouring tidepools for nudibranchs, cooking, or reading.
After growing up in the oak woodlands of western Solano County, Wendy studied literature in the redwoods, earning a BA in American Literature at UC Santa Cruz. She went on to work in publishing at Heyday Books and volunteered for urban creek restoration groups and Citizens for the Eastshore State Park. She then worked on agricultural conservation easement policies, transactions and stewardship, as well as open space land acquisition at Solano Land Trust. A natural teacher, she became a program educator for Solano RCD in 2011. Wendy loves being outside with students as well as her own two boys. Her favorite part about environmental education is teaching children how to find joy in nature, especially if it involves nature journaling or photography.
Paula recently arrived in Solano County as a retired public school educator who specialized in alternative programs for middle and high school students. She is strongly committed to community service and mentoring youth in community action. Engaged in water conservation at an early age due to her experiences with severe drought in the San Joaquin Valley, she finds teaching others about protecting watersheds is particularly important. Paula loves getting her trash picker and bucket out to help make waterways and communities litter free. Sustainable gardening, art from recycled materials, and rescuing rabbits have also kept her engaged in learning and joy.
Alex is a wildlife and botany enthusiast, and is excited to join the Solano RCD team. Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, she sought greener pastures in California and happily settled in Davis. Alex has a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, and a BA in Classical Civilizations from UC Davis. She was a field leader for the Putah Creek Nestbox Highway Biomonitoring Program in 2021, and a field tech for the USGS Giant Garter Snake Survey in 2022. Alex also has experience in museum curation. She volunteered in the natural history collection at the Nevada State Museum throughout high school, and later curated herpetology specimens for the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology at UC Davis. When she isn't tracking down animals, Alex enjoys reading, foraging, gardening, and video games. She looks forward to inspiring a passion for nature in students and helping them form connections with the land.
Carla joined Solano Resource Conservation District staff as a Program Educator in 2009 and also assists with SRCD's restoration projects. Carla has a love of the great outdoors and all natural things, big and small. Seeing students react to the natural world is a highlight of every workday. Working with SRCD inspired Carla to create a Food Forest in her front and back yards. Carla earned a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from UC Davis and also serves as a Docent with Solano Land Trust and Putah Creek Council.
Isabel studied Environmental English Literature at UC Davis and continued her learning at the University of Cambridge. Before joining the Solano RCD, she interned as an environmental horticulturalist at the Cashe Creek Conservancy and a grant writer for the Bay Area-based agroecological non-profit, Each Green Corner. Isabel became a certified California Naturalist in 2022, learning how to steward the unique biodiversity and ecosystems of the region she holds dear. As a program educator, Isabel is excited to empower student voices in conversations about the environment and share her love of Northern Californian nature with students from all levels of outdoor experiences. In her free time, Isabel enjoys drawing local birds, plants, and animals in her field notebook, reading, and watching SF Giants games with her family.
Meagan Van Schmidt
Meagan was born and raised in Wisconsin, where she learned to climb trees and catch frogs and snakes in her backyard. Her love for nature and wildlife drove her to earn a Bachelor's degree in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While in Madison, Meagan spent time volunteering at the Henry Vilas Zoo and she quickly fell in love with environmental education. She has worked as a naturalist and educator at Aullwood Audubon Center and the International Crane Foundation. She is excited to join the education team of SRCD!
Marisela came to love nature as a young child who found peace in the harmony of nature no matter where she ended up in her ever-changing world; exploring the curiousness of each new environment and seeing who lived there, and what thrived there. As a new team member with SRCD, Marisela is excited to help foster nurturing relationships between students and the natural environment. She is passionate about creating inclusive, accessible spaces for all students and leading with a curious, open heart and mind. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Economics at UC Santa Cruz focusing on Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. During her time there, she worked in the New Zealand Gardens at UCSC Arboretum, interned in after school programs and food banks with the Community Action Board, worked in various gardens and farms in Santa Cruz, and volunteered with Homeless Garden Project and Food Not Bombs. Her experiences in education range from tutoring, designing workshops for students, to coaching soccer, leading tours and field trips with students. In her free time, Marisela enjoys cooking colorful meals, creating art with anything she can find, spoiling her two cats, and gardening with her friends.
Erich von Hasseln
Growing up in Upstate New York, Erich would spend much of his time exploring local creeks with the family dog, Scuppers, and hiking to waterfalls in the nearby valleys. After going to school for visual art in Fredonia, NY and then New York City, his interest in the water led him to the South Street Seaport Museum where he began his career as a professional mariner. Since then, Erich has sailed in estuaries such as the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, Coastal California, and Hawaii with education programs and research teams. Now based in Sacramento, Erich is returning to environmental science and conservation work, combining his experience as a mariner and educator in field science.