Matt returns to our board after taking an obligatory year off. He served as Board Chair for 3 of his 6 previous years with us. He is head of the Global Business Partner program for Intapp, a cloud solutions company serving the legal, accounting, consulting, and financial services markets. He is an advisory board member of Arlington Garden and former board member of Pasadena YMCA. He is a UC Santa Barbara and Harvard Business School alum.
After attending medical college in Wisconsin, Janice became a dermatology resident at the University of Southern California. Janice established her private practice in Pasadena in 1991 and continues there today. As a member of the Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project, Janice raised funds to set up clinics and provide dermatologic care in Massai villages in Tanzania. An avid hiker, Janice is a volunteer with the Glendale Trail Safety Patrol to help maintain the safety of visitors, plants, animals and archeological resources of Glendale’s parks and open spaces. Janice loves the outdoors and believes access to open space is vital to our health and well being.
Don Hall has been a resident of Pasadena for over 30 years. He is on the Advisory Board for Pasadena Heritage and is Treasurer for Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy. Each Sunday his hiking group ascends up a trail in the San Gabriel mountains to engage in nature. Over the years he has served on several non-profit boards, including Pasadena Heritage. Currently he is a financial advisor at Hall Capital, which he founded.
Born in Albany, NY, Olivia grew up in Boston. She attended Williams College and Boston University, then married a Californian and has lived in Pasadena for thirty years. She taught piano at PCM for ten years before devoting herself to raising three children and exploring the outdoors. Hiking has always been her preferred activity, especially here in the San Gabriel Valley. Olivia volunteers in a reading program at Hillsides Education Center and serves on the Board of Trustees at Hiram College in Ohio. She also gives garden tours at the Huntington focusing on the history of the Huntington family and, of course, the incredible botanical diversity there. She looks forward to helping steward the land that has brought her such enjoyment.
Cal’s impressive career includes Vice President and Los Angeles office Managing Principal of Keyser Marston Associates, Inc., a prominent real estate advisory firm, Chief Operating Officer of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles and Manager Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ( L.A. Metro).
Now Cal provides strategic real estate consulting to public and private clients. He is a member of Lambda Alpha, former member of The Urban Land Institute and Vice Chair of its Public/Private Development Council (Blue Flight), a former member of the Pasadena Educational Foundation, and prior chair and Board Member of Pasadena Heritage. He has been a frequent lecturer at USC and UCLA graduate programs in real estate, planning and public policy. His real estate expertise helps guide AFC in its strategic land acquisitions program.
Smrithi was born in Bangalore, India, but her father’s army postings had the family living in different towns and cities every couple of years. Her first encounter with wilderness was as a child, at Kaziranga National Park in Assam, a breathtakingly beautiful corner of India which still remains mostly untouched. That experience of watching deer, elephants and rhinos roam wild and unafraid in open grassland made an indelible impression on her and was the beginning of a love affair with all things wild. The understanding of the urgent need to protect fast-dwindling wild places came in later years.
Smrithi moved to Chicago after she got married and got a degree in Accounting from Loyola University. She trained to be a CPA in California, where she has lived for thirty years.
Her first love has always been art, even though she was not able to pursue a career in it; work as a CPA and raising a son did not allow her to pursue it part-time. She did volunteer as a docent in the Japanese Pavilion at LACMA for ten years and did a stint as Secretary for the East Asian Arts Council. She has also served as Treasurer on the Board of the Music Circle in Pasadena.
In the last few years, she has been able to take classes at the Art Center. She now makes the time to combine her passions for wildlife and painting to raise funds for and awareness of the need to preserve what is left of our precious wilderness- right here in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond.
She believes we are not outside witnesses to nature, we are a part of it.
Ethan attended Pomona College, Oxford University, and UCLA Law School. A partner for more than 30 years in the Los Angeles office of the international law firm, Paul Hastings LLP, he specialized in compensation and employment matters, representing many of the most prominent companies in the world. He invented or pioneered numerous new concepts, such as the 401(k) plan, nonqualified savings plans for partnerships, and using convertible debentures for equity grants. He also wrote a number of legal treatises, such as the leading treatise on workforce restructuring. Ethan serves or has served on the boards of four other non-profits, most notably, The Huntington Library (where he chaired its Botanical Gardens Committee for six years) and Pasadena Heritage. Ethan and his wife, Joanne, own an off-the-grid cabin near Kearsarge Pass in the Sierras. They are frequent hikers there, in the Alps, and the Canadian Rockies. They live in Pasadena’s lower Arroyo Seco at a house frequented by bobcats.
Dr. Dianne Philibosian has been actively involved in community non-profit organizations and governance of public agencies for over 40 years. Professionally, Dr. Philibosian is the former director of the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing at California State University, Northridge where she was an administrator and faculty member from 1973-2015. In her work both professionally and in the community, she brings an interdisciplinary focus to promoting collaborations among organizations to strengthen individuals and communities through creative partnerships and education in response to regional needs.
“I have been involved in wildlife advocacy and nature preservation through a variety of organizations since my college years, and with the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy for the past 10 years as a participant in community educational programs and ultimately as a donor and advisor. Conservancy land acquisition has never been more critical. Our sensitive areas are under attack from the federal government, and we need to proceed with all haste to protect critical environments. As a board member, I am honored to promote the AFC’s mission to secure, protect and steward our precious open spaces and nurture the next generation of land stewards.”
Joe is an Altadena resident and Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, the branch of the Disney Company that creates everything from cruise ships, to theme parks, to rides and attractions, to hotels and infrastructure systems. Joe has spent thirty seven years with the company, starting his career as a model designer on Epcot, and continuing with projects at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World, Paris Disneyland Resort, and Hawai‘i. He is also a Fellow of the renowned Explorer’s Club. His personal adventures have taken him to many of the most remote corners of the world.
Born in Pasadena, Laura Solomon has been an environmentalist all of her life. She currently serves as president of the Pasadena Audubon Society after ten years as their conservation chair, and she recently served two terms on the City of Pasadena’s Environmental Advisory Commission. Professionally, she runs her own small business, WordWise Consultancy, after teaching Rhetoric and Composition at Cal State L.A. for over 20 years, and her pastimes include birding, camping, hiking, reading, singing, and gardening. She lives in Pasadena with her husband Gavin.
Philip A. Swan has a 35-year career in the investment management business and currently serves as a Vice President of UBS Wealth management in Downtown Los Angeles. He was Director of Investor Relations at Griffis Residential in Denver, CO and previous to that held various positions in sales, marketing and client service at The Capital Group in Los Angeles. He is Board Chair of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, a director of the National Audubon Society, a Trustee of Colorado College, and a Director of the Della Martin Foundation, the Ann Pepper Foundation and the Cygnet Foundation (the Swan family foundation focused on supporting conservation efforts in Southern California). He also serves on the Board of Governors of The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. Phil received his B.A. cum laude in History from Colorado College. He is a life-long Pasadena/South Pasadena/San Marino resident with a son at San Marino High School and a daughter at Westridge School.
Tim has a passion for creating and maintaining wildlife corridors to preserve a vibrant environment in which we live and breathe. He is the former chair of AFC and seeks to actively engage community members in our mission. He has served as Chair of the Pasadena Planning Commission, the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee, and the Pasadena Recreation and Parks Commission. He is currently an Advisory Committee member for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Tim is a professional civil/environmental engineer, and has 30 years of experience cleaning contaminated properties. He lives in Pasadena with Joanne, his wife of 25 years.
Advisors offer their unique expertise in areas like biology, habitat restoration, map-making, communications, wildlife tracking, and engagement with scouts.
George retired in 2011 as Vice President for Advancement for the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, upon completion of a campaign that raised $244 million. In his 9 years the Advancement office raised over $500 million. He previously served 24 years in the senior administration at USC, focusing on fundraising. Earlier in his career he organized what is now known as the Southern California Grantmakers, and also worked on the staff of the Norton Simon Foundation.
Holding a Ph.D. in religion and social ethics, he is a scholar in the field of philanthropy, with particular expertise about the responsibilities of nonprofit trustees. He is also a Presbyterian minister. A 35-year resident of Pasadena, George grew up roaming the wilds of the Hollywood Hills, summering in the San Bernardino Mountains, and skiing and backpacking in the High Sierra. In retirement George enjoys advising nonprofits on organizational strategy, board development and fundraising.
Denis Callet, wildlife tracker and photographer, has over 10 years of experience photographing images of animals in the wild. He utilizes custom made equipment to provide the lighting needed to capture detailed images. He helps AFC gather data and provides beautiful images of animals on AFC properties. Check out his photo gallery at: http://www.deniscallet.com/.
Trained as a mechanical engineer (PhD, Caltech) Mark has developed an eclectic mix of skills in scientific research and analysis, machining and fabrication, information technologies, intellectual property management, business development, and graphic design. Mark advises AFC on the collection and structured storage of field data, performs spatial analyses of the data, and produce maps communicating study results and guiding land acquisition and field activities.
Thomas is currently an aquatic veterinarian who previously worked as an endangered species biologist in the western US, the Pacific, and Caribbean. Now residing permanently in Europe, Thomas devotes his time to the development of sustainable, welfare-based aquaculture species such as sea cucumbers and wrasses as well as working on the preservation of endangered freshwater biodiversity in the Indian Ocean. Thomas strongly advocates for the preservation and promotion of pollinator corridors that would help preserve rapidly declining species such as the western monarch butterfly and the long-tongued bat. Furthermore, he promotes the preservation and reintroduction of the bigcone spruce to lower canyons in the region as well as finding locations for restoring self-sustaining populations of Nevin’s barberry and slender-horned spineflower. Another long term goal Thomas advocates for is the restoration of native fish and amphibians species such as the arroyo toad, arroyo chub, and unarmored threespine stickleback to the local waterways; this requires habitat and groundwater restoration as well as the elimination of invasive species.
Roger Klemm is a software engineer at the Jet propulsion Laboratory, and has been involved with various community groups promoting conservation and environmentally sensible landscaping for over 20 years. He has renovated community and school gardens, planted trees in local parks, and is introducing native plants on the campus where he works (“guerrilla gardening”). He is involved with the eradication of invasive exotic plants in the Angeles National Forest and at the Rosemont Preserve, and is spearheading the renovation of a community entrance garden at Sunland Boulevard and the 210 freeway in Sunland. Roger has a wealth of real-life knowledge of native plants, both where and how they grow in the wild, and how they can grace our cultivated landscapes.
Mickey retired in 2011 from his position as natural areas administrator for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, having spent 39 years working in the county’s Natural Areas Division. As administrator, Mickey operated the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Altadena, along with 18 other natural areas. He has taught college environmental biology and human ecology courses, and currently teaches bird identification, botany and ecology classes for the county’s nature centers. Mickey is currently on the Conservation & Rare Plant Committees for the San Gabriel Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, as well as a past president of the Pasadena Audubon Society. He advises AFC in habitat evaluation and restoration and assists with public education.
John has worked as a consulting arborist and landscape manager in the Los Angeles area for the last 20 years specializing in urban forestry and restoration ecology. He managed the nursery and grounds at Treepeople’s center for community forestry where he studied arboriculture. He also served as the resident caretaker at the Theodore Payne Foundation where a deep appreciation of the California landscape was reinforced. He is currently spearheading the Altadena Community Garden revitalization project which will showcase local native and useful Mediterranean plants. He first fell in love with his wife and Millard canyon when they hiked to the waterfall there on their first date. They now live near the mouth of the canyon and have been committed to restoring and protecting it as an important watershed and wildlife corridor.
Barb grew up hiking in local woods and nature preserves near Chicago. She is a CPA, MBT with a boutique tax practice, she volunteers for Girl Scouts and is a member of the Friends of Rosemont Preserve. After hearing about the fund raising needed to buy the Rosemont Preserve, she and her husband helped their daughter and her nature club friends raise money for AFC at their elementary school. Barb helped start the student education program at Rosemont and she enjoys teaching elementary school students about native plants, trees and more at Rosemont. Her Girl Scout Troop was the first to earn a GS award at Rosemont. The Troop’s Bronze project is a docent guide of native plants and trees with original photos and research including Latin and Tongva names with key assistance from Rich Toyon. She helps Girl Scout Gold and Silver candidates with projects for AFC.
Jim oversaw our financials as Treasurer and provided land acquisition advice based on his years of experience in real estate during his 6 year tenure on AFC’s Board of Directors. His guidance was critical to AFC’s success in defining the Hahamongna ~ Tujunga Wildlife Corridor and the purchase of our first 2 parcels in Cottonwood Canyon. Jim recently termed out, graciously offering to continue advising our land acquisition program and we happily accepted!
Lew has been a resident of Pasadena for three decades. He and his wife have been very active in historic preservation matters in the community, and he sees preservation of the natural environment and the built environment as equally important. He is semi-retired as a public relations consultant, having worked for more than 50 years in the fields of journalism (as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Rocky Mountain News and Estes Park (CO) Trail) and public relations, including heading the PR departments of Southern Pacific Railroad and Southern California Edison, as well as 20 years of crisis PR consulting. Lew grew up in Colorado and spent much time in remote parts of the Colorado Rockies, so his attachment to the rugged peaks, canyons and foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains comes naturally.
E. J. Remson, Senior Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy in California, supervises both the Santa Clara River Project and has worked on other projects in Southern California. He joined The Nature Conservancy in 2000 as director of the Santa Clara River & Coast Project after working in the fields of urban planning and commercial real estate development for 24 years. Mr. Remson’s planning career spanned 12 years, much of it as planning administrator for the City of Pasadena. He began his career in commercial real estate development, working on retail, industrial, office, and hotel projects throughout southern California. His interest in the preservation of natural lands led him to specialize in planning for growing communities without contributing to urban sprawl. With The Nature Conservancy he has acquired nearly 50,000 acres valued at over $100M and works with local government agencies to protect wildlife linkages, promote green infrastructure and implementation of the California Groundwater Sustainability Act. He has a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from California State Polytechnic University, and a master’s degree in real estate development from the University of Southern California. He holds a California Broker’s License and has served on the boards of nonprofit organizations.
Nancy L.C. Steele is the Executive Director of Friends of the Verde River, a river conservation organization in Arizona. Nancy founded AFC in 2000 with three other women – Astrid Ellersieck, Dianne Walters, and Lori Paul – and was AFC’s Board President and CEO through 2011. Nancy’s experience includes serving as the Executive Director of the Council for Watershed Health, Executive Director of Infrastructure Funding Alliance, President of Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena, and leadership roles in various other nonprofits and government agencies. Nancy and her husband Bruce have run a beekeeping business, Chaparral Mountain Honey Co., for over 30 years. Nancy took her doctorate at UCLA in Environmental Science & Engineering and earned biology degrees from Arizona State University and Occidental College. She currently lives in Cottonwood, Arizona, but continues to maintain her home in Altadena, CA.
Laura Stotler, AICP actively served the community as a professional urban planner for over 30 years until her retirement as Principal Planner for the City of Glendale in 2019. Laura’s planning career included working with the City of Santa Clarita in environmental planning, General Plan and Specific Plan policy development, annexations, subdivisions, transit and grant-writing. With the City of Glendale Laura was primary staff to the Glendale Planning Commission and supervised subdivisions and advance planning, including General Plan policy implementation and drafting of subdivision and zoning ordinances to implement state planning and housing laws.
Through her career as a planner, Laura developed a deep interest in balancing protection of environmental resources with reasonable land use to create a sustainable future for our children. Laura was responsible for identifying tax-defaulted properties for open space protection, writing the 75-page denial for the 500-unit Oakmont V project and review of ridgeline and blueline stream permits in Glendale. In Santa Clarita she worked with developer Newhall Land, biologists and the Army Corps to permit the use of soil cement with native plantings, rather than concrete channeling, for bank protection on Santa Clara River and San Francisquito Creek.
Laura is a member of the Association of Certified Planners, California Planning Association and American Planning Association. She has a B.A. in Political Science and Master of Public Administration from Cal State University, Northridge.
A 14th generation Native Californian and La Crescenta native, Rich Toyon is a cinematic production designer by profession, conservationist by heart. He is active in Boy Scouts, local politics, and in representing the Tongva Nation for various environmental and public issues and serves on the board of directors for the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center. Rich has been the guiding hand for many boy scout eagle projects on AFC properties. He is the president of V.O.I.C.E., Volunteers Organized In Conserving the Environment and current member of the Friends of the Rosemont Preserve.
Johanna, wildlife photographer and tracker, has over 10 years of experience tracking and capturing images of wildlife. She studied through the UC Davis Mountain lion study in Anza Borrego State Park and completed several tracking classes. She gives public presentations about mountain lion behavior and coexisting with wild predators. She works closely with the National Parks Service to document mountain lion movement patterns and health in advance of their plans to collar the cats. Johanna shares the trail camera’s view of animals on her Facebook page and Cougarmagic.com and also helps document wildlife on AFC’s website.
John is an M.S. and M.P.A candidate at the University of Washington where he studies spatial ecology and wild-lands management. Having earned a B.A. in geology from nearby Occidental College, John has since worked in environmental geology and conservation from California to Alaska. Principally using geospatial tools for habitat prioritization and monitoring, his contributions to conservation include identification and stewardship of single land owner conservation easements, agricultural easements, and private and public acquisitions in excess of 40,000 acres. Currently away from California, John uses mapping and cartography to help inform AFC’s conservation strategy and to visually tell the story of our lands.
Amanda Zellmer is an Assistant Professor at Occidental College studying spatial computation ecology with an emphasis on applications for conservation biology. Her research utilizes species distribution modeling and landscape analyses to investigate how species populations shift in response to environmental change, including global climate change and habitat fragmentation. She is especially interested in how organisms utilize and move through urban environments and is particularly fond of amphibians, such as the slender salamanders of California.
Sharon Scull lives near Cottonwood Canyon and offered to help save the canyon starting in 2015. She became a founding member of the Friends of Cottonwood Canyon. As the contact person for Putney Area Neighbors, she kept the neighborhood advised of Cottonwood’s preservation status. In addition, Sharon helps AFC with grant writing.
Sharon has an M.A. in comparative literature and was a professor of English at Glendale Community College. She is a published author. Sharon created and coordinated two innovative model programs for GCC: Interdisciplinary Humanities featured interactive team teaching of critical thinking and writing that stimulated student analysis of connections among often disparate disciplines. The multi-faceted Staff Development program included specialized activities for administrators, faculty, and staff. Sharon wrote several grants to fund these programs.
In 2020, John celebrated his tenth year as the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy’s first Executive Director. “My dad brought me up backpacking. My passion has always been the environment. You can’t do much better than protecting remarkable natural areas forever, so I couldn’t be happier than to have the privilege of helping where I grew up.” As a real estate attorney, John represented The Nature Conservancy in acquiring 14 open-space properties and the Trust for Public Land in acquiring three. John is a lifelong Pasadena resident.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Barbara grew up hiking and skiing in the local mountains and the Sierra Nevadas. An avid volunteer, Barbara joined forces with AFC when she discovered them acquiring the Rosemont Preserve, adjacent to her home. Barbara uses her background in journalism and law to promote awareness of the need to conserve urban natural open space. She launched AFC’s remote wildlife camera program and works tirelessly to ensure AFC is a leader in the conservation community at both the regional and state level.
Tim Martinez graduated from Cal State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies and Planning, with an emphasis on environmental planning and sustainability. He served on the Board of Directors of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, and is a founding member of Pasadena Eco Advocates. Tim works to help AFC more actively engage and connect its protected lands and conservation efforts with the communities we serve. A lifelong Pasadena resident, Tim is passionate about preserving native habitat and creating a world free of plastic pollution.
Anna is a native of Southern California and one of the original “valley girls” from Panorama City (San Fernando Valley). An avid hiker, Anna hiked the many trails of Griffith Park with the Sierra Club, spent a sleepless night freezing in a sleeping bag at the top of Mt. Baldy and, recently, conquered the Inca trail in Machu Picchu, Peru. Anna has over 20 years experience in executive and legal administration in the private and public sectors. She plans to use this experience to run an efficient organization.
Maggie graduated from Occidental College in 2020 with a degree in Biology. She began as an intern for AFC in 2019 and helped with their Urban Wildlife Information Network research for the next year. She now continues this research with AFC and helps lead field trips for local kids. She is passionate about sharing her love for plants, animals, and spending time outdoors with the community.