Meet Our Staff

Staff Headshots (38)

Jamison Watts, Executive Director

(831) 402-9694

jwatts@slconservancy.org

Jamison is a conservation executive with over 30 years’ experience providing vision, leadership, and technical expertise in the protection and stewardship of land and other natural and agricultural resources.

As Santa Lucia Conservancy’s Executive Director, Jamison collaborates with a talented staff and board, community members, and national conservation leaders to advance a unique, first-of-its kind model of community conservation. Responsible for conservation and community engagement on the 20,000-acre Santa Lucia Preserve, he works in close partnership with multiple Preserve entities to ensure the coordinated management of the Preserve lands are consistent with the successful and sustained implementation of the Preserve’s Comprehensive Development Plan.

Prior to working for the Conservancy, Jamison served for seven years as Executive Director of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT)—the first agricultural land trust in the Nation. Much of Jamison’s work at MALT involved interacting with stakeholders and owners of agricultural land in Marin County to increase economic viability and prevent conversion out of agriculture. During his tenure, the acreage conserved by MALT increased by 20% to more than 54,000 acres.

Earlier he led the Northern California Regional Land Trust, based in Chico, for six years. During his tenure the organization’s operations increased by nearly 600% and total acres protected more than tripled. Jamison also served as a climbing ranger with the U.S. Forest Service on the Shasta Trinity National Forest and a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A fifth-generation Californian, Jamison has served on the City of Chico’s Parks and Playground Commission, the Advisory Committee of the Bay Area Open Space Council, Marin County’s Agricultural Workforce Housing Task Force, and Marin Carbon Project Steering Committee. He has expertise in business development and is an accomplished fundraiser and public speaker. He also has more than 10 years’ experience researching and consulting on special-status species as a wildlife biologist

Jamison lives with his wife and daughter in Carmel Valley, where he enjoys walking the family dog, Honor, in Garland Ranch Regional Park and exploring the Central Coast region.

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Keesha Stroman, Director of Finance and Administration

(831) 250-3817

kstroman@slconservancy.org

Keesha organizes and oversees the Conservancy’s daily operations including finance, Human Resources, IT, facilities management, and administration. With over 20 years in the accounting and finance field, Keesha has had the opportunity to utilize her knowledge and skills in the service, television, manufacturing, non-profit and agricultural industries. She has a proven track record of maximizing employee engagement and creating successful workplace culture through training, collaborative communication, and morale-building techniques. In addition to receiving an AS in Accounting and BS in Business Administration/Human Resources Management, Keesha has extensively studied with the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) for the PHRca and SPHR exams and is a member of both the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). Outside of work, Keesha enjoys spending time with her family and volunteers as a youth basketball coach, high school booster club member, and youth football board member. She attributes her ability to juggle everything on her plate successfully to her loving husband, McTate, who is a top notch father, partner, and a spoken word artist.

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Rodrigo Sierra Corona, PhD., Director of Ecological Management

(831) 238-1477

rsierracorona@slconservancy.org

Dr. Sierra Corona is a conservation scientist with over 15 years experience researching and implementing conservation practices on endangered landscapes and biodiversity. He is a native of Queretaro, Mexico and completed his Ecosystem Management doctorate in 2016 at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, working in the Chihuahuan Desert native grasslands. There he took part in the designation of the Janos Biosphere Reserve, protecting one million acres of grasslands and forest in Northern Mexico. His PhD project describes the ecological interaction of black tailed prairie dogs and domestic cattle, challenging the longstanding view of prairie dogs as an undesirable species. Rorigo has worked on the recovery of Black Footed Ferrets, American bison, prairie dogs and jaguars and is currently involved in the understanding of the US-Mexico border wall effects on wildlife. He brings both an academic and in-practice perspective to the Conservancy’s Ecological Management Program, which safeguards the ecological integrity and resilience of the Santa Lucia Preserve through the development and implementation of science-based adaptive management strategies. Designed around climate change adaptation and resilience with special attention to wildfire patterns, drought scenarios, ecosystem connectivity, and biodiversity, Rodrigo is responsible for overseeing our biological monitoring and research, restoration, and conservation grazing programs.

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Brian Woodward, PhD., Conservation Ecologist

(831) 402-2001

bwoodward@slconservancy.org

Dr. Woodward is a conservation ecologist and research scientist with 10+ years of experience in forest and fire ecology, environmental monitoring, project management and natural resources. He has conducted monitoring and research across the western United States, from subalpine environments of the Rocky Mountains to fire-affected coast redwood forest communities of the California Central Coast.

In his role as the Conservation Ecologist, Brian manages the Conservation Science Program where he champions the utilization of the Santa Lucia Preserve as a living laboratory and advances the mission of the Conservancy through the implementation of sound science and management.  Brian leads our endangered species monitoring and recovery efforts, where he works directly with Conservancy managers to implement on the ground projects that benefit the conservation of biodiversity on The Preserve. He develops institutional partnerships to promote and conduct environmental research and acts as a mentor to undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers working on the Preserve.

Brian received his PhD in Ecology from Colorado State University, where he was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to study the response of California forest communities to environmental change. He received his B.A. in Environmental Studies from Sonoma State University and studied landscape ecology and remote sensing for his M.S. in Forest Sciences at Colorado State University. As a native Californian, Brian has lived, worked, and recreated in the California Coast Range for most of his life. When not in the field, Brian enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, and being in and around the ocean.

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Sabine Cudney Valenzuela, PhD., Postdoctoral Fellow

(831) 250-3971

scudney@slconservancy.org

Dr. Cudney Valenzuela is an ecologist and conservationist passionate about sustainable management. Having grown up at a deforestation front in one of the last cloud-forest remnants of Mexico, she was moved to understand the complex effects of habitat loss and to find solutions where humans and nature can coexist. She received her B.Sc. in Biology and her Ph.D. in Landscape Ecology at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. For her doctoral dissertation, she studied the direct and indirect effects of habitat loss on tropical arboreal mammals at the Lacandona rainforest, Mexico. She has taken part in multiple ecological conservation projects in Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico and, most recently, California. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Conservancy, Sabine is responsible for assessing the distribution of the endangered Smith’s blue butterfly across The Preserve and setting the foundations to develop future restoration strategies.

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Shane Stillinger, Bookkeeper

(831) 402-0554

sstillinger@slconservancy.org

Born and raised in Pacific Grove, Shane has developed a passion for the unique splendor of California’s Central Coast region. Shane studied horticulture, propagation, and landscape design at Monterey Peninsula College and developed his skills in business administration and statistics at California State University in East Bay. As the Bookkeeper at Santa Lucia Conservancy, Shane is able to combine his passion for numbers, supporting his community, and environmentalism. When Shane is not crunching numbers, he enjoys gardening, listening to his record collection and making his famous chicken parmesan for his wife.

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Jenna Allred, Senior Manager, Climate Change Adaptation

(831) 392-5392

jallred@slconservancy.org

Jenna received her BS in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity from University of California, Davis and has over 10 years experience in ecological conservation and land management. With a leadership role on the Ecological Management Team, Jenna is responsible for researching, developing and implementing climate change adaptation strategies across our programs and projects. Jenna also oversees restoration efforts on The Preserve’s grasslands and forests and development of Openlands Management Plans (OMPs), which restore and enhance habitat on easement-encumbered properties. When she isn’t helping foster a system in which native plants and wildlife can thrive in the face of climate change, she can be found making delicious sourdough baked goods, crushing bunny hops on her mountain bike, or adoring her cat, Kuzon.

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Jackson Brooke, Restoration Manager

(831) 402-9499

jbrooke@slconservancy.org

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Jackson attended the University of Minnesota where he received a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Following graduation, he monitored bats for an environmental consulting company and then worked to restore the Walker Lake watershed in rural western Nevada by removing invasive plants and reintroducing native grasses and shrubs. Responsible for the development and implementation of grassland and forest restoration efforts, Jackson manages the treatment of invasive species, prescribed fire, post-fire recovery efforts, and supervises several seasonal restoration technicians. When he isn’t tackling invasive species, Jackson spends much of his time hiking and playing or watching sports.

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Claudio Núñez, Conservation Grazing Manager

(831) 238-4342

cnunez@slconservancy.org

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music from The University of Michigan, Claudio began working in bars and restaurants across the US. It was while working as a cheesemonger in San Francisco that he discovered the earth-shaping potential of conservation on working lands. For over 6 years, Claudio has worked on farms, ranches and wineries across the country and in Europe. As the Conservation Grazing Manager, Claudio leads program development, planning, and implementation of the day-to-day operations that facilitate the use of cattle for land management. Claudio works with program associates to help move cattle through the undulating grassland landscape and collects vegetation and soil data in support of the Program’s goals and objectives. In his spare time, Claudio enjoys hiking, overeating, and making crafts.

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Andrew Evans, Conservation Grazing Associate

(831) 238-5495

aevans@slconservancy.org

With a BS in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from UCLA, Andrew is passionate about promoting coexistence between people and the environment through conservation, restoration, and sustainable practices. He grew up in Hawaii, worked on a trail crew in Denali National Park, participated in a field study program in Iceland, researched marmot behavior in the Rocky Mountains, studied the morphology of dog skulls in Los Angeles, and interned at an organic farm in Tennessee. Andrew practices what he preaches by incorporating sustainability into every day life: eating a kelp, shellfish, and plant-based diet, avoiding plastic at all costs, and engaging with indigenous ecological knowledge.

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Andrew Nguyen, Stewardship Manager

(831) 238-0990

anguyen@slconservancy.org

Originally from Fairfax County, Virginia, Andrew received a B.S. in Biology concentrated on Ecology and Environmental Biology from James Madison University. Afterwards, he attended UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management where he conducted research on how beaver dam-building could support water resource management in New Mexico, earning him a Master of Environmental Science and Management degree. Since then, he has served as an AmeriCorps member to protect Vermont’s watersheds and most recently worked to connect artists with the natural beauty of the Santa Cruz mountains. He is excited to join the Santa Lucia Conservancy team and looks forward to how he can continue finding solutions for people and the natural world to help each other thrive.

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Izaac Tompkins, Stewardship Associate

(831) 238-2210

itompkins@slconservancy.org

Born in Kansas City and raised amongst the splendor of the Ozark Mountains and Lake of the Ozarks, Izaac developed a life-long love for conservation. He earned his B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he formed a bond with the unique ecosystems and endemic plants of California’s Central Coast. Before joining the Conservancy, he worked as an Environmental Assistant with the County of San Luis Obispo Public Works to conduct the research, monitoring, and mitigation of roads and bridge projects throughout the County. He is incredibly excited to move further up the Central Coast and protect such rich biodiversity. In his free time he enjoys hiking the coast, roller-skating, and trying new food trucks.

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Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator

(831) 620-9644

asoliman@slconservancy.org

Originally from Illinois, Alix earned her B.A. in environmental studies concentrated in international law and policy from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. She comes to us with over 6 years of experience in writing for, editing, and designing various newspapers, law school magazines, and nonprofit websites. In her previous role at a steelhead conservation nonprofit in the Pacific Northwest, Alix developed a multi-tiered approach to provide more organizational clarity and engagement through digital and in-person communications. Passionate about land conservation and community building, Alix is thrilled to support the Conservancy’s mission by elevating its transparency and status in The Preserve community and beyond. Her work at the Conservancy involves developing digital and print resources, hosting events, building partnerships, and managing the website, newsletter and social media platforms. After hours, Alix can be found rock climbing, skiing, longboarding, hiking, and reading.