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Our Team


Photo of Kindley Lawlor

Kindley Walsh Lawlor

President & CEO of Parks California

Leads the team, strategy and vision of Parks California.

Kindley Walsh Lawlor joined Parks California as its inaugural president and CEO in 2018. Through her leadership, Parks California designs and creates partnerships to support parks, implements best practices to scale sustainable and future-forward solutions, and fosters inclusive experiences to better engage the public, younger generations, and underserved communities.

Kindley has over 25 years of sustainability, social justice and equity leadership. She previously led human rights and ESG efforts at Gap Inc., a Fortune 200 global portfolio of apparel and lifestyle brands. In 2015 she was recognized as one of the Most Influential Women by the San Francisco Business Times, and as a leader in shaping the future of retail by the National Retail Federation. Kindley serves on the board of the Western National Parks Association (WNPA).

Michael Bridges

Development Director

Supports organizational fundraising efforts, fostering relationships with an incredible network of donors and funders that make the Parks California mission possible.

Michael previously worked in roles that span philanthropy, political campaigns, public policy, and business start-ups, helping to raise millions to expand economic justice, human rights, and environmental protections. Embracing cross cultural experiences, Michael’s  development and startup work has taken him to Indonesia, India, Germany, Peru, and many parts of the U.S. for a variety of projects, from helping to save and restore open spaces to expanding educational opportunities for students in under-resourced communities. His start-up experience includes co-founding successful businesses in entertainment, tourism, and technology. Michael serves on the board of the Glendale Parks and Open Spaces Foundation, and the PTA Board at the public school his children attend. 

Heana Chung

Vice President of Operations & Finance

Leads the establishment and implementation of the infrastructure needed to grow and support Parks California.

Heana previously served as an Interim Executive Director at Recovery Café San Jose and held several executive positions during her 16 years at Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), including Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer. She led the national expansion of the organization from one to 18 chapters, in addition to overall management of the organization’s operations and finances. Prior to joining Parks California, she spent more than 15 years in executive management positions at information technology companies.  

Heana currently serves on the board of Adventure Scientists and is mentor to young executives.

Her favorite State Park is Calaveras Big Trees.

Andrea Cornelius

2023-2024 Climate Fellow (Statewide Planning)

Supports the development of statewide guidelines, frameworks, and resources for climate planning.

Andrea Cornelius is the Statewide Planning Climate Fellow (2023-2024), supporting the coordination of a multidisciplinary Climate Change Working Group within California State Parks and assisting in the development of statewide guidelines, frameworks, and resources for integrating climate considerations into State Parks planning documents. Andrea recently earned a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management, with a specialization in Conservation Planning, from the UC Santa Barbara Bren School. In 2022, Andrea received the Mantell Environmental Justice Fellowship, which supports emerging leaders who work toward environmental justice, social equity, and climate resilience. Previously, she worked in environmental education, local government sustainability, and habitat restoration across California, from San Diego to the Bay Area. Andrea is excited to contribute to State Parks’ emerging climate planning to ensure that parks remain healthy and resilient places welcoming everyone long into the future.

Durresha Davis

Grants & Contracts Manager

Ensures the smooth processing, reporting, and spending against the grant and contract budgets while complying with grant requirements and applicable laws.

Durresha has always felt she’s had a strong connection with nature, which has led her to work in careers that continue to support parks. Prior to her role at Parks California, Durresha spent six years with the Budget Office at California State Parks, leading to a promotion as Assistant Budget Chief. She has always wished to make a lasting impact for both people and parks and has credited California State Parks with assisting in that goal.

As the Grants and Contracts Manager, Durresha plays a key role with the program, development, and finance teams- collaborating across Parks California, and facilitating the allocation of grant and contract budgets.

Her favorite State Park is Point Lobos.

Teresa Evans

Business Operations Administrator

Responsible for Parks California’s overall office administration

Teresa has worked as a career administrator for more than 20 years, gaining experience working for a diverse mix of both private and public organizations. Adept at organizing, streamlining, and increasing efficiencies Teresa brings her administrative and technical expertise in support of the Parks California leadership team. Prior to joining Parks California, she worked for a private aviation start-up as a document control manager and FAA liaison. Teresa earned her B.S. in Business Administration at Walden University. In her spare time Teresa enjoys traveling around California with her family exploring parks, beaches, campgrounds, and sporting event venues.

Will Fourt

Big Basin Senior Project Planner

Senior project manager working directly with Santa Cruz District State Parks on the Reimagining Big Basin project.

For the past eight years, Will has worked as a park planner for both Santa Clara County Parks and Santa Cruz County Parks. His past work has afforded him with a wide breadth of diverse experiences, including managing a variety of park planning, natural resource management and capital projects- ranging from regional trail planning to neighborhood park development.  

Will’s passion for planning is rooted in the importance of connecting people with their surrounding landscape, and he loves being part of creating places and parks. Will holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture, focused on environmental planning, from UC Berkeley. 

Will’s primary work revolves around Reimagining Big Basin- a project focusing on reestablishing California’s first state park after the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. Will works not only to restore Big Basin, but to usher it in as an innovative restoration model for future parks.  

His favorite park is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. 

Emily Henry

Associate Program Manager

Manages the operational and grant making components of Parks California Programs division.

Emily is a passionate non-profit professional, having held positions at several Sacramento-area non-profit organizations such as the California Primary Care Association and Legal Services of Northern California. Their previous roles have included grants management, fundraising, project management, grant writing, and, most notably, the build-out and administration of several grant-making programs totaling more than $5 million. Outside of the office, you will find Emily scheming up her next kayaking, backpack, or camping adventure, and they hope to one day section hike the Pacific Crest Trail. They currently serve as the co-president of the Prytanean Alumnae Association at Davis. 

Emily’s favorite park is Fort Ross State Historic Park.

Geoff Kish

Vice President of Programs

Leads strategic and operational efforts in all program areas, actively working with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to identify and develop priority projects across the state.

Geoff has led partnerships to enhance park conservation across all levels of government, from national park management to the revitalization of community parks. He was most recently the Principal of Ridgeline Management Consulting, where he helped nonprofit organizations build capacity. Previously, he served in leadership roles at the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, the Center for Park Management at the National Parks Conservation Association, and at IBM Global Business Services.

Scott Kleinman

Director of Development – Corporations & Foundations

Scott strengthens Parks California’s mission through collaborative partnerships with foundations and corporations, ensuring future growth of the organization and support for the parks.

Always ready to chart an outdoor adventure, Scott is a planner by nature. He has crafted innovative partnerships, led teams in fostering organizational growth, and built ongoing financial relationships in both private and nonprofit sectors. Driven by a commitment to bring people together in stewarding California’s parks, Scott assists Parks California by facilitating funding partnerships supporting our outdoor spaces.  

 Scott’s nonprofit expertise includes leading development at Net Impact and the Special Olympics of Northern California. He has consulted with various non-profits on strategy, development, and social entrepreneurship. In the private sector, Scott led business units at International Data Group and served as an executive at information technology firms.   

 Scott recently completed The Climate Reality Project’s Leadership Corps training and lends his talents through volunteer nonprofit consulting projects as part of the Stanford Business School’s Alumni Consulting Team. Scott’s favorite park is Butano State Park 

Lauren Neves

Lauren Neves, SPHR, PHR-CA, SHRM-SCP

Sr. Manager of Human Resources

Leads the development and implementation of HR strategies and programs

Lauren has worked as a Human Resources professional for 18 years, holding positions in both the private and public sector. Reporting to the VP of Operations and Finance, Lauren oversees the development and implementation of all employee plans and policies in support of Parks California’s operational priorities and strategic plans. In her role, Lauren ensures effective implementation of systems, policies and processes for workforce planning, talent acquisition, talent management and development, employee engagement, legal compliance and recordkeeping, employee relations, and payroll.

Prior to joining Parks California, Lauren worked for the City of Rocklin’s HR team in Rocklin, CA, and previously was the Human Resources and Safety Officer at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, a California environmental government agency working for clean air and a low-carbon future for the region. Before that, she spent 12 years as an HR Executive for a Bay Area-based community bank specializing in serving union members and their affiliates.

Lauren has earned her Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR), California Professional Human Resources (PHR-CA) and Society for Human Resource Management, Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credentials. For eight years, she was an HR Instructor of a 12-week certification preparation program for HR professionals who plan to take the SPHR exams. Before moving to the Sacramento area in 2009, she served as a board member on the Senior Commission for the City of San Mateo Parks and Recreation Department.

Lauren lives in Roseville, CA, with her family. She spends much of her time outdoors enjoying activities such as gardening, nature walks, outdoor museums and golf excursions.

Alfonso Orozco

Associate Program Manager

Supports implementation of projects across Parks California’s program areas

Alfonso brings a deep understanding of the park protection landscape to the Parks California team, having worked in five National Parks around the country. He also works closely with the National Parks Conservation Association as a member of the Next Generation Advisory Council to ensure the protection, enhancement, and enjoyment of our National Parks. In 2016, he received two 30 under 30 awards, with the North American Association of Environmental Education and the Outdoor Industry Association, in recognition for his community work, particularly with Latino Outdoors.

Alfonso had also worked as a manager with The Nature Conservancy in Washington State, where he oversaw the state-wide volunteer program and led the effort to increase participation in the outdoors to underinvested communities.

Prior to joining Parks California, Alfonso spent a year solo traveling around the world, visiting 13 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. His highlights include trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal and a solo safari at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

His favorite state park is Salt Point State Park.



Becky Rittenburg

Resource Stewardship Programs Manager

Leads the development of an emerging conservation program that works in collaboration with California State Parks’ Natural Resources division.

Becky has worked at the intersection of resource management and education for nearly a decade. Her previous roles have focused on groundwater sustainability planning for basin-scale conservation initiatives, program management for a Californian urban water conservation district, and development of watershed education programs in northern Idaho and southern California. Becky completed her Ph.D. in Watershed Science and Management at the University of Idaho, and her B.A. in Environmental Science at Colorado College. 

Sarah Scheideman

Art in Parks Program Manager

Shapes the strategy for the Arts in the Parks program, manages grants and fosters partnerships.

As the Art in Parks Program Manager, Sarah is responsible for shaping the program’s strategy, managing grants, and fostering partnerships. She brings over a decade of experience championing arts and culture, including leading a grassroots arts nonprofit in the Coachella Valley, developing city-wide art programs, producing interactive installations at Coachella, and most recently served at LA Metro in the Metro Art department. In her new role, Sarah will focus on bringing art into local parks through careful planning and community engagement.
Sarah earned a Bachelors degree from UC Riverside in Film and Visual Culture. In her spare time, she loves to craft with friends and take her poodle on long walks, especially through her favorite Los Angeles Historic State Park.

Veronica Silva-Miranda

Community Engagement Coordinator

Dedicated to teaching communities about Leave no Trace principles and advocating for a greener environment. 

Veronica has worked as an Early Childhood and Outdoor Educator in San Francisco, CA for several years. She is dedicated to helping underserved communities access the outdoors by creating outdoor recreational activities for families and youth. Working with community members, partners, and volunteers has shown Veronica the importance of building community. Veronica can be found car camping all over California with her husband and son in her spare time. She is dedicated to teaching communities about Leave no Trace principles and advocating for a greener environment.  

Myrian Solis Coronel

Director of Community Engagement

Drives Parks California’s equitable access programs through community engagement, storytelling, and collaborations across the state.

Prior to joining Parks California, Myrian led REI’s Next Gen Marketing program where she oversaw national partnerships, experiential  marketing, and content collaborations. Prior to joining REI Co-op, she worked at KPBS, San Diego’s local PBS and NPR (National Public Radio) affiliate, where she managed special events and developed media and outreach campaigns. She has been a board member for several organizations including I Love a Clean San Diego and MANA de San Diego. She is also the co-creator of the Latina Giving Circle. From 2013-2019, she served as commissioner for California State Park and Recreation; later, serving as the Commission’s first Latina Chair. When she is not working, Myrian enjoys traveling the world with her two children and husband, discovering new eateries, and indulging in a new read or podcast.

Kimberly Tran

Accounting Intern

Supporting the Operations & Finance team with accounting processes

Kimberly Tran joined Parks California’s Operations & Finance team as the Accounting Intern in September, 2023. In her role, she works with the Finance Manager to process monthly accounting transactions and processes.

Kimberly is currently in her final year at the University of California, Davis, where she is pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Managerial Economics while obtaining a minor in Accounting. She is excited to be part of the Parks California team so she can learn more about working in the nonprofit world.

Kimberly grew up in the Bay Area where she would often visit local parks and go on trail hikes with her friends during high school, which had a strong impact in fostering her fondness for the outdoors. Outside of work and school, you can find her spending time with her maltipoo puppy, trying new foods at restaurants, biking, and creating art.

Kimberly’s favorite state park is Mount Tamalpais State Park.

Juliana Vidal

2023-2024 Climate Fellow (Big Basin GIS)

Supports the Natural Resource Division and Santa Cruz District with developing a climate adaptation strategy.

Juliana Vidal is the Big Basin GIS Climate Fellow (2023-2024), supporting the Natural Resource Division and Santa Cruz District with developing a climate adaptation strategy. Occupying the intersection of environmental, social, and geospatial sciences, Juliana brings a passion for GIS and analytics, experience and interest centering equity in land management, and a rich interdisciplinary background. Juliana is wrapping up her Master of Science in Sociology, with a focus in Applied Community and Economic Development through Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center. She previously served as the Data Management Specialist for Lacy Consulting Services, a firm that specializes in social science research to inform equitable conservation planning. Juliana has a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics and Integrative Biology; and she brings experience in environmental education, research, natural resources field work, as well as service in the Peace Corps in Tanzania.

Meredith Wade

Finance Manager

Manages finance and accounting and supports building the infrastructure needed for Parks California to grow.

Meredith has over fifteen years of experience in finance and accounting. Most recently, she worked as the Finance Manager at the Agricultural Research Foundation. Prior to that, she served as a Finance Coordinator at Oregon State University. She holds an MBA in nonprofit finance and accounting from UC Davis. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Meredith is a certified whitewater raft guide, has traveled to 20 countries, and volunteers to help people with disabilities and youth with fewer resources experience the outdoors. 

Meredith’s favorite park is South Yuba River State Park. 

Amanda Zhu

Programs & Grants Intern

Assisting in grant program implementation and partnership research efforts.

Amanda Zhu joined Parks California as Programs & Grants Intern in September 2023, and will assist the Programs team in the grant program implementation and partnership research efforts.

Amanda grew up around the forests of Northern California, fostering a love for the environment and a belief in the protection of people and the planet. Combined with their background in business and research, they are deeply curious about corporate sustainability, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and access to green spaces. 

Amanda is attending the University of California, Irvine, where they are studying business administration with an honors track in Sustainable Societies. Their previous experiences include influence measurement research for World Wildlife Fund’s business case studies, peer academic advising for students of UCI’s Campuswide Honors Collegium, and digital marketing development with the Marketing and Communications team at UCI’s School of Biological Sciences. 

In their free time, they like to hike, ID plants and animals, make art, and water their plants. Amanda’s favorite state park is the Portola Redwoods State Park. 


Steve Lockhart

Chair, Founding Board Member

Chief Medical Officer, Sutter Health (Ret.), David and Lucile Packard Foundation Trustee, and Parks Forward Commissioner.

Dr. Lockhart formerly served as Chair of the Board of NatureBridge and formerly served on the Board of Directors of REI. As a member of the National Park Service Second Century Commission, he advocated for environmental and science education within the national parks. He is an Eagle Scout, a Rhodes Scholar, and an avid mountain climber.

Deanna Mackey

Vice Chair

General Manager, KPBS San Diego.
Founder, Public Media Women in Leadership.

Deanna Martin Mackey is General Manager of KPBS in San Diego, and was previously president and executive director of the Public Television Major Market Group (PTMMG), a consortium of the 40 largest PBS member stations in the U.S. Mackey focuses her time on leadership/culture, revenue generation, audience development and digital on behalf of the group as well as national partnerships and system leadership activities. Previously, Mackey worked for 25 years at KPBS, San Diego, serving as COO in her final six years at the station, before returning in 2022 as GM. Mackey is credited with spearheading KPBS.org as a third content platform and creating KPBS’ converged newsroom.

In 2015, Mackey co-founded Public Media Women in Leadership, to provide mentorship/training for women in her industry and address issues of gender inequity in public media. Mackey serves as a Girl Scout troop leader for 17 high school girls and spent 10 years in board governance for Girl Scouts San Diego. In 2018 Mackey received the Hera Heroine Leadership Award from Hera Hub, workspace for women. In 2014 Mackey was named a YWCA Tribute to Women & Industry (TWIN) honoree for her work mentoring women at KPBS and via the Girl Scouts. She was named Outstanding Alumnus from SDSU’s Daily Aztec newspaper the same year and in 2010 was named one of five “Women who Move the City” by San Diego Magazine.

Prior to working at KPBS, Mackey was a writer and editor for several San Diego-based publications. She spent her early years in journalism as a radio news writer. Mackey earned her Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University with a double major in journalism and political science. She lives in San Diego and is married to Christopher Ingalls. She and her husband have five children between them, one granddaughter, and one lovely Lab.

José G. González

José G. González


Founder and Director Emeritus of Latino Outdoors. Member of California State Parks Boating and Waterways Commission. Environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor.

José G. González is the Founder and Director Emeritus of Latino Outdoors. He is an experienced educator as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. As a Partner in the Avarna Group and through his own consulting, his work focuses on Equity & Inclusion frameworks and practices in the environmental, outdoor, and conservation fields. Jose was recently appointed by Governor Newsom to California State Parks’ Boating and Waterways Commission. He is also an illustrator and science communicator.

Tony Lillios


Tony Lillios is an executive coach and entrepreneur. He is the subject of the documentary, Crossing Bhutan.

Tony Lillios is an executive coach and entrepreneur. He has founded five businesses, most notably Speck Products, and facilitates growth in the organizations he now serves. Tony is an athlete, adventurer, and an outdoorsman. He is the subject of the documentary, Crossing Bhutan, that explores the country’s policy of Gross National Happiness (GNH).

Michael Camuñez

Board Member

Trustee of Stanford University and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Independent Director for Edison International, the American Funds, Amplify, and Welcome Tech. Former Special Counsel to the President in the Office of the White House Counsel, and Special Assistant to President Obama.

Named “one of the 100 most influential Latinos in the world” by Bloomberg in 2022, Michael served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce at the International Trade Administration. He managed a global portfolio leading the U.S. government’s efforts to open new markets for U.S. goods and services. He played a critical role in rebalancing U.S. economic policy toward Mexico. He was the chief architect of the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue, which he proposed and helped launch as a member of President Obama’s delegation and visit to Mexico. The HLED was co-chaired by then-Vice President Joe Biden, who reinstituted it as a top bilateral priority upon becoming President.

Michael also served as President Obama’s representative on international economic issues to the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

Previously, he served as Special Counsel to the President in the Office of the White House Counsel, as well as Special Assistant to President Obama.

His favorite State Park is Big Basin Redwood State Park.

Rosie Clayburn

Board Member

Rosie is an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe, leading the Cultural Resources Division. She is a key partner to the California State Parks North Coast District.

As a member of California’s Yurok Tribe, Rosie understands the importance of connecting history and community. Rosie has dedicated her life to the preservation and revitalization of Yurok Culture and is a key partner to the California State Parks North Coast District. She understands parks are not only a place to recreate but are ancestral lands many people call home.

Rosie earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, with a concentration in Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management at the University of Oregon and a Master of Art in Museology from the University of Washington. She held multiple positions within the Cultural Resources Division before the Yurok Tribal Council appointed her to lead the department.

For her master’s thesis, she collected data and analyzed Yurok objects held captive in institutions around the world. Her efforts helped return home thousands of cultural items. Overseeing the Chah-pekw O’Ket’- oh Visitor Center, Rosie was integral to the recent renaming of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-Meg State Park.

Michael Mantell

Board Member

Michael is the former president of Resources Legacy Fund and one of the original founders of Parks California.

As a founding member of Parks California, Michael has a long history of mentoring and organizing teams around great ideas.

Since the late 1990s, Michael has designed and participated in programs and projects that broadened the leadership and constituency for natural resources protection. Alongside this, he brought into greater focus the need to ensure equity and engage with historically underserved communities.

Michael led the campaign that prevented a rollback of California’s landmark climate change legislation. In 2021, Michael retired as the President of the Resources Legacy Fund, an organization founded to help design and implement initiatives for philanthropic foundations and individuals.

Previously serving as Undersecretary for Resources for the State of California, General Counsel for the World Wildlife Fund, and as Deputy City Attorney in Los Angeles, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge in both the public and non-profit sectors.

Gayle Miller Parks CA Board of Directors

Gayle Miller

Ex Officio - Proxy for Joe Stephenshaw, Director of California Department of Finance

Gayle Miller is the Chief Deputy Director of Policy, California Department of Finance.

Gayle Miller was appointed chief deputy of policy at the California Department of Finance by Governor Newsom in 2019. Gayle had previously served as a senior policy advisor for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and deputy controller, director of policy in the Office of the State Controller. She also served as a principal consultant in the Office of the California State Senate President pro Tempore in addition to holding several positions in the California State Senate. Gayle earned a Master of Business Administration degree in strategy and communications from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Business Administration degree in economics and finance from Columbia University.

Dawn Ortiz-Legg

Board Member

Combining a vision for the future alongside her passion to protect California’s central coast communities through innovative energy policies, Dawn Ortiz-Legg works with Parks California on its Board of Directors.

Dawn has called San Luis Obispo home for 28 years, contributing to her community while working in energy, infrastructure and economic development. She is best known in her community for implementing California’s renewable energy policy to positively impact people’s lives. The development and construction of multiple utility-scale solar projects created long-term opportunities for both central coast residents and businesses. 

In 2018, Dawn was appointed as the 3rd District Planning Commissioner to make land use decisions on water, agriculture, energy and transportation. 

In 2020, Dawn was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the District 3 Supervisorial Seat. Her priorities include: The economic repurposing of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, along with safe decommissioning, housing and homelessness, and childcare availability.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University, and a Master of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Armando Quintero

Ex Officio

Armando Quintero is the Director for the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

An experienced parks professional with expertise in park operations, outdoor education, equity and access, and diversity and inclusion in hiring and retention, Armando is an environmental scientist by training. Since 2015, he has been executive director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at the University of California, Merced, where he was also director of development from 2008 to 2014. He has also served as a member of the California Water Commission since 2014.

Former Board Members

Teresa Alvarado

Teresa Alvarado

Founding Board Member

Regional Vice President for South Bay/Central Coast, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Principal, Morado Consulting and Chair, California Water Commission.

Teresa Alvarado is Principal of Morado Consulting specializing in supporting leaders, across sectors, to create positive economic, environmental and social impact. She also serves as a Gubernatorial appointee and chair of the California Water Commission.

Belinda Faustinos

Founding Board Member

Belinda Faustinos is the Executive Director of Nature for All.

Prior, Belinda served as the Executive Officer of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC). She was also the Executive Officer of three joint powers entities: the Watershed Conservation Authority, the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority and the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority. She retired from these positions in May of 2011 after 40 years as a California State employee. A native of Southern California, Belinda was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College.

Advisory Council

Lauren B. Dachs

Lauren B. Dachs is president and founder of the Laural Foundation. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a board member of Sustainable Conservation and the Water Foundation, and on the Advisory Council for Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center.

Lauren B. Dachs is president and founder of the Laural Foundation. Previously, Lauren was president of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, which successfully completed its planned spend down in December 2020.

Since its founding in 1957, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation dedicated its philanthropy to advancing the prosperity and well-being of California and its citizens, with a focus on K–8 STEM education and conserving California’s natural resources.

Lauren is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a board member of Sustainable Conservation and the Water Foundation, and on the Advisory Council for Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center. Lauren has also been an advisor or board member for many environment, education, and health organizations, including Stanford University, Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, and The Nature Conservancy of California.

Sharon Farrell

Sharon Farrell

VP of Conservation and Stewardship, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Acting Director of the One Tam Initiative, and facilitator of the California Landscape Stewardship Network.

Ms. Farrell has worked for all three organizations within the Golden Gate National Parks—the Conservancy, National Park Service, and Presidio Trust–over the past two decades. She oversees the planning and implementation of a number of cross-boundary community stewardship, science, and landscape-level restoration programs and projects. Sharon was a founding board member of Parks California.

Erica Flores Baltodano, Esq.

Campus Dean at San Luis Obispo College of Law, San Luis Obispo County Civil Service Commissioner, and attorney with over 20 years of advocacy in the areas of civil rights, environmental justice, employment law, and non-profit management.

Erica Flores Baltodano has over 20 years of experience as an attorney, policy advocate, professor, and writer in the areas of civil rights, environmental justice, employment law, and non-profit management. A graduate of UCLA and UC Berkeley School of Law, Baltodano became Campus Dean at San Luis Obispo College of Law in 2023. She was appointed as a San Luis Obispo County Civil Service Commissioner in 2019 and currently serves as Vice President of the commission.

A skilled advocate and organizer, Baltodano began her career in Los Angeles reshaping the  environmental justice movement on behalf of communities of color, low-income communities and youth organizations. Addressing the civil rights and health equity issues associated with access to public resources, including parks, beaches and other green spaces, she played an instrumental role in creating Rio de Los Angeles State Park, Los Angeles State Historic Park, and other urban parks. Baltodano’s efforts helped pave the way for groundbreaking legislative changes, including key amendments to the California Coastal Act.

In 2011, Baltodano relocated to the Central Coast, where she co-founded and served as the managing partner of a successful civil rights and employment law practice that has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of wronged workers. The firm received the 2017 Access to Justice Advocate award from San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation. In 2018, she began scaling down her practice to focus on teaching and public service. Baltodano is the immediate Past President of San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation and a founding Board Member of San Luis Coastal Education Foundation.

In 2021 Baltodano received the prestigious John L. Seitz Award from the SLO County Bar Association for her enduring commitment to community service. In 2018 she received the 2018 Outstanding Lawyer Award from the Women Lawyers Association of SLO County for her long-standing commitment to mentorship.

Baltodano lives in San Luis Obispo with her husband and their two children, and enjoys exploring her local park, Montaña de Oro State Park.

Dr. Caryl Hart

Chair of the Great Redwood Trail Agency, Vice Chair of the California Coastal Commission, board member for Save the Redwoods League, the Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity at UC Berkeley, and the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

Dr. Hart brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in organization and leadership. She spent 15 years as a member of the California State Parks Commission, seven of which were as Chair, and was a member of the California Parks Forward Commission. She was the Director of Sonoma County Regional Parks from 2010 to 2017.

Dr. Hart received her Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources, where her focus was on the role of parks in addressing climate change. She is also an attorney licensed in the state of California.

Her favorite State Park is Sonoma Coast State Park

Doug McConnell

Host of Bay Area Backroads on KRON, OpenRoad: Exploring the West on national Public Television, and Mac and Mutley on KPIX and the Discovery Channel

Mr. McConnell has worked in Bay Area television since 1983. He has produced and hosted Bay Area Backroads on KRON, OpenRoad: Exploring the West on national Public Television, and Mac and Mutley on KPIX and the Discovery Channel. As co-founder of Convergence Media Productions, Doug also develops and oversees many other media projects in support of parks and open space agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Woody Smeck

Woody is a big believer of merging the beauty of the outdoors with our personal experiences. As a landscape architect, his career spans more than 30 years of working with the National Park Service.

Woody grew up recreating in California’s state parks: Topanga Canyon, Point Mugu and Malibu Creek. He credits these experiences in influencing his passion for outdoor spaces. His career led him to serve as the Deputy Regional Director for the Pacific West Region, where he oversaw national parks in California, Arizona, and Nevada, and led the park planning, design, construction, and maintenance programs.

Woody also served as superintendent of several iconic western national parks, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. He also served as superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the nation’s largest urban national park unit.

In December 2021, his unending contribution to supporting parks was met with the Distinguished Service Award by Secretary Deb Haaland for Woody’s outstanding contributions with the Department of the Interior.

Woody’s work around parks continues, as he advises on several non-profit boards supporting parks, recreation, sustainable tourism, and access for underserved communities. He is an advisor and guest lecturer for the California State University system in landscape architecture and protected area stewardship. Woody’s favorite park is Point Mugu State Park in southern California.

Louise Stephens

Louise Stephens

Director of Strategy at the Kennebunkport Climate Initiative, an organization focused on mobilizing youth around climate change.

Director of Strategy at the Kennebunkport Climate Initiative, an organization focused on mobilizing youth around climate change. Ms. Stephens previously served as the Manager of Special Projects for the Tennessee Aquarium, after earlier working on its freshwater conservation strategy. She has a long-standing interest in sustainable seafood and conservation. Previously she conducted market research for Manta Consulting Inc and IMPACTS Research and Development. She is partial to any California state park that involves water.

Sean Woods

Chief of Planning for Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation

Mr. Woods previously served as the Los Angeles Sector Superintendent for California State Parks where he implemented the Department’s Urban Strategic Initiative. Through this initiative, State Parks worked with local partners to address the needs of underserved urban residents by committing resources to community outreach and development of urban parks. Mr. Woods oversaw the acquisition, planning and development efforts at Rio de Los Angeles State Parks, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and Los Angeles State Park – representing a $150 million dollar investment in the urban core of Los Angeles.

In Memoriam

Nina Roberts

Dr. Nina Roberts

Professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism at San Francisco State University and faculty director of the university’s Institute for Civic & Community Engagement.

Nina served as a professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism at San Francisco State University and faculty director of the university’s Institute for Civic & Community Engagement. Nina volunteered with Parks California as an advisory council member. Her unending work in addressing ways to break down social and access barriers impacted countless communities.

Nina was a Fulbright scholar whose expertise includes park access, outdoor recreation across cultures, women/girls outdoors, and youth development. She spent the majority of her career in the field including leading wilderness experiences with varied populations. Dr. Roberts’ research on DEI has been widely published and is highly regarded.

Over the years, Nina’s voice in educating leaders in the outdoor recreation, natural resource, and conservation space with new ideas has been invaluable in addressing the need to respond more effectively to changing demographics, cultural shifts and trends across the U.S.

Nina will be forever a friend to all of us. Parks California honors her legacy posthumously as a lifetime advisory board member. Her vision for parks will forever inspire us.