Jamison Watts, Executive Director
Jamison is thrilled to be with the team at Santa Lucia Conservancy and working with the entire community to advance The Preserve’s model of environmentally compatible development. He brings over 20 years of experience providing vision, leadership, and technical expertise in the protection and stewardship of land and other natural and agricultural resources.
Most recently, Jamison served for seven years as Executive Director of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT). Much of Jamison’s work at MALT involved interacting with stakeholders and landowners in Marin County. He worked closely with a community of more than 80 farming and ranching families, directed and oversaw a 20% increase in West Marin’s protected farmland, and led a capital campaign to protect the region’s working lands, helping raise over $28 million in private donations.
Prior to that, he led the Northern California Regional Land Trust, based in Chico, for six years. Earlier, Jamison served as a climbing ranger with the U.S. Forest Service on Mount Shasta and a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Jamison has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Biology with an emphasis in Conservation Biology from UC Davis and a Master of Science degree from CSU, Chico in Biological Sciences. He lives with his wife and daughter in Carmel Valley, where he enjoys exploring the Santa Lucia’s with the family dog, Honor, and playing in the ocean.
Christy Wyckoff, PhD., Deputy Director
Christy has been with the Conservancy, leading our science program since March of 2014. In her current position as the Deputy Director, she continues to directly conduct and manage the science and research elements of our programs, she also supervises our stewardship program and easement monitoring program. We track, evaluate and adapt our programs through extensive monitoring of wildlife populations, botanical diversity, soil health, stream flows and the overall health of ecological processes. Christy received her BS in biology from Stanford University, chased feral pigs at Texas A&M University-Kingsville for her MS and delved into the molecular world of chronic wasting disease in elk at Colorado State University for her PhD. She jumped at the opportunity to move back to her home state of California in 2014 and immerse herself in the applied side of conservation ecology with the Conservancy.
When not romping though grasslands for research Christy is outdoors hiking, climbing, mountain biking or skiing.
Rodrigo Sierra Corona, PhD., Director of Ecological Management
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.
Susan Giles, Director of Business Operations
With over 20 years of business and marketing experience in the environmental field, Susan brings a huge skill set to the Conservancy to keep it running as healthy and well-balanced as The Preserve ecosystem. Susan started her career as an Art Director for Foote, Cone and Belding in New York City. Moving on with her life and career, Susan worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Education Department on her Master’s thesis after she spent several years in the Caribbean as a scuba instructor. In 2007, Susan started a consulting business with her husband working with commercial existing buildings to help make them more resilient, efficient and sustainable. During this time, she also raised her son Oliver. Susan came to the Conservancy in 2019 and fell in love with the people and the land. She and her family live in North Monterey County where they self-built their own resilient and sustainable home. In her spare time, Susan enjoys swimming and spending time in the kitchen canning the fruits of the season!
Jenna Allred, Senior Manager, Climate Change Adaptation
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.
Jackson Brooke, Restoration Manager
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.
Claudio Nunez, Conservation Grazing Manager
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.
Andrew Evans, Conservation Grazing Associate
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.
Andrew Nguyen, Stewardship Manager
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.
Izaac Tompkins, Stewardship Associate
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.
Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator
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.
Alicia Khuon, Field Technician
A transfer student from Stockton, Alicia, is pursuing a degree in Environmental Science with a concentration of Applied Ecology at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). She has also joined the Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROC) community in the summer of 2019. Here at the Conservancy, Alicia will focus her UROC research on the Tricolored Black Birds, using acoustic monitoring at two different sites as well as helping the Conservancy band birds.
With her passion for wildlife conservation, Alicia has been able to learn different projects here at the Preserve under the direction of Dr. Christy Wyckoff; such as vegetation surveys, bird surveys, pond sampling, as well as butterfly surveying. She is grateful for the opportunity to meet different wildlife biologists who have helped her broaden her perspective for future employment and explore different specialties.