Our small and dynamic team is dedicated to conservation of the Santa Lucia Preserve. Meet the staff:
Christy Fischer, Executive Director
Christy Wyckoff, PhD., Director of Conservation Science
Christy Wyckoff (Dr. Christy) is the Director of Conservation Science of the Santa Lucia Conservancy. Dr. Christy is leading several projects on the Santa Lucia Preserve including breeding ecology of the tricolored blackbird, detection of amphibians using environmental DNA, wildlife response to conservation grazing, habitat mapping and management for listed species, implementing prescribed fire and engaging citizen scientists on the Preserve. Dr. 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.
Tel 831-626-8595, ext. 102
Rodrigo Sierra Corona, PhD., Director of Stewardship
Ecologist by training, conservationist by heart and cattle rancher by accident, Rodrigo’s mission within the Preserve is to bridge the gap between cattle grazing, grassland management and science. Together with Kyle and Leslie, Rodrigo helps move our restoration cows through the undulating grassland landscape; at the same time, he monitors the program collecting vegetation and soil data. Rodrigo has worked in rangeland and wildlife conservation for 14 years studying and addressing the integration of livestock grazing and conservation in endangered landscapes. During his bachelor’s degree at Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro he studied black bears and had his first biologist position following jaguars in Northern Mexico. He then joined the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Ecology Institute’s Arid Grasslands Conservation Program in Janos, Chihuahua. There he took part in the designation of the Janos Biosphere Reserve; half a million hectares of federally protected lands in Northern Mexico. His PhD project on the Janos Reserve describes the ecological interaction of black tailed prairie dogs and domestic cattle, challenging the longstanding view of prairie dogs as an undesirable species. He stays connected to Chihuahua through his assistance to the grazing cooperative he helped establish and running his own cattle. He is excited to bring both his academic and his in-practice perspectives on grasslands, livestock and conservation ecology to the Conservancy’s Conservation Grazing Program.
Tel 831-626-8595, ext. 104
Jenna Allred, Natural Lands Manager
Jenna received her BS in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity from University of California, Davis. Her work has never taken her far away from the protection and restoration of native species of California wildlife. From identifying and preventing the spread of invasive species impacting butterfly habitats in Antioch, to maintaining the natural beauty of Catalina Island with weed-management programs, to mapping and treating invasive wildlife along the Colorado River, Jenna has a broad history of ecological conservation and land management. As the Conservancy’s weed guru, Jenna is on a mission, sniffing out opportunistic non-native plants before they expand their occupancy on The Preserve. When she isn’t helping foster a system in which native plants and wildlife can thrive, she can be found making delicious sourdough baked goods.
Lindsay Cope, Conservation Program Manager
Lindsay is enthusiastic about her work at the Conservancy and proud to be part of a team dedicated to this unique geography. Lindsay’s role with the Conservancy is dynamic – her scope includes Openlands easement and construction monitoring, communications, GIS, and liaising with landowners, contractors, and partners.
Originally from Maine, Lindsay came to Monterey to pursue her Master of Arts in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. As a Master’s candidate, she completed a two-year practicum in the Philippines as a Peace Corps Volunteer, where she worked closely with rural coastal communities to enhance local capacity for marine protected area management. Her field work focused on improving livelihoods, food security, and coastal resilience, and implementing coastal ecosystem restoration projects for coral reefs and mangroves.
Lindsay brings insight from her community-based conservation and protected area management experience around the world to The Preserve. In addition to her conservation expertise, Lindsay is a linguist and speaks Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, and Spanish.
Tel 831-626-8595, ext. 103
Leslie Dorrance, Conservation Grazing Manager
Leslie was raised in Carmel Valley. After working on her husband’s family ranch for 32 years growing grass for the ranch’s cow herd, she is deeply interested in conservation grazing. The Dorrance family has a conservation easement on their family ranch. They are committed to practicing good grazing management to provide grass for their cattle and diversity in their rangelands. Leslie is thrilled to be a part of the Conservancy’s grazing project. She believes that cattle and grazing are a good tool for restoring health to land that has been rested for long periods. Along with her dogs, Leslie brings her love and knowledge of the land and livestock with her to work every day.
Kyle Meyer, Conservation Grazing Assistant
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kyle joined the Conservancy in 2016 and works with Leslie Dorrance and Rodrigo Sierra Corona as part of our Conservation Grazing Team. The son of a Carpenter and a Science Educator, he enjoys working hands on in the environmental field. He is enthusiastic about the potential of conservation grazing practices to affect change with respect to applications in conservation and restoration as well as agriculture. Spending nearly 100% of his time in the field, he is charged with upkeep and management of our herd, deployment of cattle fencing equipment, and assisting in planning our grazing cycles. A graduate from San Jose State University with a BS in Environmental Studies, Kyle brings hands on experience in rangeland management and livestock handling from his time as a land management intern at TomKat Ranch in Pescadero where he gained experience in rotational grazing, livestock production cycles, and field data collection including vegetation and bird surveys.
Dayna Cormany, Conservation Grazing Assistant
Dayna is a recent graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno where she received her bachelors degree in agricultural science with a minor in rangeland ecology. Over the course of her college career, Dayna grew deeply interested in rangeland and livestock interactions and knew she wanted to pursue a career in it. Although she spent the last few years in Nevada, she is a Northern California native. She grew up in the Sierra Valley on her family’s ranch, where she developed her passion for working with livestock and being out on the land. She is excited to utilize her education and hands on experience to help grow the conservation grazing program, while continuing to learn along the way!
Meet the Conservancy’s seasonal field crew:
The Conservancy’s field crew is working all around The Preserve removing invasive plants. Pictured above from left: Ryen, Austin, Brett, Chris, and Isidro.
Ryen Wright is an herbalist of the vitalist tradition, with a background in small business and start-ups. In all the noise of the world, she is most at home dancing among and learning from the plants.
Austin Robertson is a Monterey Bay local who received his degree in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University. Austin enjoys hiking, photography, surfing, and being a good steward of our lands.
Brett Williams received her Masters in Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. When she is not working outside, she is also outside.
Chris Terry was born and raised in the Mojave Desert east of Barstow and recently graduated from CSUMB with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He enjoys ornithology, herpetology, watershed science, and likes to identify many local species.
Isidro Blanco received his Bachelors of Science in Marine Science from California State University Monterey Bay. Isidro loves the outdoors and having the opportunity to aid in restoration of our native lands.