Welcome to the California Native Grasslands Association
Celebrating and conserving the ecological richness of California's grasslands

2018 Board of Directors & Administration

Officers

PRESIDENT:

Andrea Williams - Vegetation Ecologist, Marin Municipal Water District

VICE-PRESIDENT:

JP Marié - Manager, UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve

SECRETARY:

Jodie Sheffield - Sod and Seed Specialist, Delta Bluegrass Company 

TREASURER:

Jennifer Buck-Diaz - Vegetation Ecologist, California Native Plant Society, Sacramento


Committee Chairs

Jim Hanson (2018/2019), Conservation Committee Chair, Landscape Architect, natural areas conservation, planning and management

Kristina Wolf (2017/2018), Grasslands Committee Chair, H.T. Harvey & Associates

Emily Allen (2018/2019), Workshop Committee Chair

Billy Krimmel (2018/2019), Outreach & Development Committee Chair,  Owner, Restoration Landscaping Company


Board Members-at-Large

Emily Allen (2018) Environmental Biologist

Christopher Gardner (2018/2019)

Michele Hammond (2018/2019) Botanist, East Bay Park District and Staff Research Associate, UC Berkeley

Richard King (2018/2019), USDA/NRCS retired

Jaymee Marty (2018/2019) Owner, Marty Ecological Consulting

Felix Ratcliff (2018/2019)

Patrick Reynolds (2018/2019) General Manager, Hedgerow Farms Inc. 

Jeff Wilcox (2018/2019) Managing Ecologist, Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation


Board Alternate Members-at-Large

Robert Evans (2018/2019) Soil Conservationist, USDA NRCS Fresno



Administration

Diana Jeffery, Administrative Director


Biographies and Photos

Alphabetical by last name. 

Emily Allen, Alternate Member-at-Large

Emily has a deep appreciation for the native grasslands in California and the people who work preserving, restoring and managing them. She spent over 8 years at Hedgerow Farms working to ensure the availability of high quality, locally sourced native seed for revegetation and restoration projects of all sizes and scales. She is now based out of Ukiah and is gaining an appreciate for California natives found in the Coast Range. She obtained her B.S. in Environmental Biology from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA and was previously on the CNGA board in 2014-2016 and served as treasurer in 2015 and 2016. (2/2018)



  

  Jennifer Buck-Diaz, Treasurer
Jennifer is a vegetation ecologist and botanist with the California Native Plant Society where she surveys, classifies, and maps vegetation across California. Her work focuses on the classification and description of grassland vegetation including the study of spatial and temporal dynamics in these systems. She earned both a B.S. and a M.S. degree in Plant Biology from the University of California, Davis where she participated in a state-wide classification project looking at fine-scale vegetation in vernal pools. (10/2017)

  

 Robert Evans - Alternate Member-at-Large

Robert has been working in Conservation for 8 years. He graduated from University of Tennessee Knoxville with a B.S. in Environmental & Soil Sciences with a concentration in soils. He spent the subsequent year in Americorps as an Earthteam Volunteer for NRCS. He then became a Soil Conservation District (SCD) employee in Southeast Tennessee, working in several counties over a period of nearly 2 years. These two positions exposed Robert to Native Warm Season Grasses (NWSG) and their myriad of benefits. As an SCD employee, Robert oversaw renting out two grass seed drills one of which was specialized for planting NWSG. He also has some experience with prescribed burns. When Robert was hired on to NRCS full time in Fresno, California 5+ years ago, he brought his passion for rangeland and native grasses with him. Robert is now the lead range planner in Fresno County, and is working with multiple ranchers on establishing native grasses primarily in riparian areas and their surrounding uplands. (10/2017)

   Christopher Gardner, Member-at-Large

I am the Open Space Land Manager for the City of Davis. I also have experience in conservation policy and organizational development on a statewide level, as well as 10 years in the field as a restoration technician, then project manager around Northern California.  My Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies and Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration are both from Sacramento State. I am passionate about the work I do and for the conservation of our native grasslands.  I look forward for the opportunity to serve this great organization in several ways, including policy making in grassland conservation on a statewide level with the Conservation Committee.  I also understand the importance of organizational development and bring professional experience working to help the organization on the Development and Outreach Committee. 


 

Michele Hammond, Member-at-Large

Michele is the Botanist for the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) and currently assesses rare plant communities and practices vegetation management for parkland in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. She maps and manages rare plants including the introduced Santa Cruz tarplant, Holocarpha macradenia, in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park as well as newly acquired parkland within the East Contra Costa Habitat Conservation Plan. Michele earned a B.A. and M.S. in Environmental Science from U.C. Berkeley. (10/2017)

   Jim Hanson, Conservation & Advocacy Committee Chair










 

Diana (Immel) Jeffery, Administrative Director

Diana served two terms on the CNGA Board of Directors as chairman of the Education & Information Committee before taking over as Administrative Director in July 2016. She has worked closely with USFW on reintroduction projects with the federally endangered grassland plant, showy Indian clover (Trifolium amoenum). She is co- author of the Sonoma Marin Coastal Grasslands Working Groups's “California’s Coastal Prairies” website (http://www.sonoma.edu/preserves/prairie).  She received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Sonoma State University and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis.



Richard King, Member-at-Large

I have 36 years of experience in USDA-NRCS as a rangeland management specialist (and biologist) assisting landowners before retiring. I worked in Flagstaff, Arizona, for eight years and subsequently throughout northern California since 1982.

I am a member of the Society for Range Management and strive to help the range profession shed its old paradigms because I know that rangeland health in California’s “annual” grasslands can be greatly improved. I believe: (1) that we underestimate how “native” perennial species on “annual” grasslands can be increased by mimicking the natural processes in which the perennial species evolved, (2) our “invasive species” are typically a symptom of biodiversity loss from past or current management,  (3) planning livestock use based on perennial species vigor and reproduction remains the most misunderstood and underutilized tool for grassland management and “restoration”.

Since 1991, I have enjoyed raising grass-fattened beef, building biodiversity above and below ground, and watching “native” perennial grassland species increase on 40 acres that were part of my great-grandparents’ farm.  I’m excited that genuine shifts in long-held paradigms are steadily occurring in California as people become better observers of what’s happening on the land and how livestock can be used to improve soils, land health, and wildlife productivity.

I’m a Certified Rangeland Manager with the California State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Society for Range Management.  I’m also a Certified Holistic Management Educator with both Holistic Management International and the Savory Institute.  My passion is helping others learn this new framework for decision-making that will simultaneously address the complexity of managing land, people, and money successfully, both short-term and long-term. (10/2017)

   Billy Krimmel, Outreach & Development Committee Chair

Owner, Restoration Landscaping Company

Billy studied plant-insect ecology while completing his undergraduate degree at Brown University, his PhD at UC Davis and post-doctoral research at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on ecological and evolutionary interactions between plants and insects, particularly as they relate to plant defense and plant trait evolution.

During his PhD Billy became increasingly interested in science outreach and native species restoration, and started a landscaping company with the goal of restoring urban and suburban areas while telling the intriguing stories about native plants and animals that share millions of years of evolution. Billy quit his post-doctoral position at the University of Arizona in May 2015 to run the company full-time. The company, Restoration Landscaping Company, is based in Sacramento with a wide range from the foothills to the Bay, and currently employs about 10 full-time ecologically-minded landscapers.

As cities and suburbs continue to grow, the front for native species conservation may be in human-dominated ecosystems, which account for the vast majority of land use in the lower 48 states. The movement to push people to reimagine the front yard aesthetic – which CNGA has been a key regional player in – is a critical piece of this new conservation movement. Plants can be more than decorations, and people’s yards are part of urban ecosystems that need help.

Billy’s experience explaining the value of native species to clients and companies has provided him insight into how to make the case for natives, and how to explain to people from outside of science why they are so special and worth investing in. He also brings on-the-ground experience after more than two years of running his landscaping business and is excited to be a part of CNGA’s efforts to broaden its impact on pushing native landscaping that create habitat, through workshop series and other outreach efforts. Billy is thrilled to serve on the board of directors. (11/16/17)




  JP Marié, Vice-President & Workshop Committee Chair
JP is the Manager of the U.C. Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve where he is in charge of the day-to-day management and operations of the Reserve. With 20 years of experience in land restoration, land management, erosion control, native grassland implementation and invasive plant control, he has an extensive knowledge of native grassland restoration techniques and vegetation management. JP is the Chair of the CNGA Workshop Committee and has been serving on the CNGA Board for seven years. 

 

Jaymee Marty, Member-at-Large

Jaymee is an ecologist and the owner of Marty Ecological Consulting based in Sacramento, CA. She has over 20 years of academic, military and professional experience in the fields of ecology and conservation biology. Prior to starting her own business, she spent 13 years working for The Nature Conservancy as an ecologist leading teams of scientists to address complex conservation issues using cutting edge science and planning methodologies. She has extensive experience with research, restoration and management of riparian, vernal pool, seasonal wetland and grassland habitats. Jaymee worked for 17 years as an officer in the Air Force Reserves applying her ecological expertise to natural resource management issues at Travis, Beale and March Air Force Bases. She previously served on the CNGA Board from 2004 to 2007. Jaymee earned a B.S. in management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis.(10/2017)

   Felix Ratcliff, Member-at-Large

I am a rangeland ecologist broadly interested in the processes that influence plant and animal communities, and in how management decisions can affect conservation outcomes on rangelands. My research focuses on riparian and grassland vegetation and wildlife dynamics, and the effects of cattle grazing on these systems. In my work I collaborate with land managers, public agencies, and park districts in California to produce data that’s relevant to conservation and management. I completed my PhD at UC Berkeley with Dr. James Bartolome in the Rangeland Ecology Lab in 2017. I’m now a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Luke Macaulay’s lab at UC Berkeley, where I continue to investigate the impacts of rangeland management on vegetation and wildlife. Before starting graduate school, I worked for five years at a biological consulting firm in the Bay Area.



 Patrick  Reynolds, Member-at-Large
I am the General Manager of Hedgerow Farms where I manage the daily operations of Hedgerow Farms’ business processes. My work includes implementing corporate strategy, ensuring quality customer service and managing the processes and procedures associated with supplying native seed for habitat restoration projects.  As a restoration ecologist with more than 25 years of professional experience in habitat restoration, I utilize my habitat restoration and management expertise to ensure Hedgerow Farms’ mission of growing and selling high quality native local ecotype seed, plugs and straw is fulfilled. As a member of the Yolo County Planning Commission I use my knowledge of Yolo County and its biological resources to evaluate proposed projects under the purview of the Yolo County General Plan.


  

 Jodie Sheffield, Secretary

I am currently the facilitator in charge of Research & Development for Delta Bluegrass Company located in Stockton, California. With over 25 years of experience in the Turfgrass Industry, I have worked with plant breeders, seed producers and research facilities throughout California and the Pacific Northwest developing premium quality turfgrass sod. Working towards creating awareness of the vital importance of climate appropriate landscaping, I am enthusiastically spreading the word about the use of California native grasses.  I was a presenter at the Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend Event in 2014 and the PG & E Water Conservation Showcase in 2015.  I am also a frequent presenter at Bay-Friendly, Co-Operative Extension Master Gardener Meetings and other industry events and workshops.  



 Jeff Wilcox, Member-at-Large

Jeff Wilcox is the Managing Ecologist for the Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation, primarily responsible for management of the Foundation’s Mitsui Ranch near Petaluma. Much of his professional experience is in the ecological management and stewardship of large tracts of rangelands. He designs and implements programs such as annual use of prescribed fire and seasonal grazing for the purpose of encouraging re-colonization of native amphibians and plants, primarily native perennial grasses. His research and observations have been published in eight national and international peer-reviewed journals. Jeff graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Resource Sciences. (10/2017)



 

 Andrea Williams, President

Andrea began her work in grasslands in college, with three seasons of monitoring and helping set up an experiment on Cascade Head in Oregon. She has spent portions of the past 20 years on coastal grassland study and restoration projects from Redwood National and State Parks to Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area to her current post at Mount Tamalpais with the Marin Municipal Water District. She is best known for her work with plant identification, invasive plants, mapping, and prioritization. (10/2017)b

 

Kristina Wolf, Grasslands Committee Chair, Editor

Kristina has almost 20 years of combined supervisory, research, and practical experience in business management, agricultural lands’ resource management and reporting, inventory and status, wildlife monitoring, water quality planning, soils and erosion control, and adaptive management and decision-making processes. She is a restoration ecologist with H.T. Harvey & Associates in Sacramento, and previously worked as a researcher at U.C. Davis, collaborating with scientists and land managers around the globe to investigate sustainable agricultural and natural resource management practices to reduce pesticide use, improve soil health and quality, increase yields, conserve water, and enhance ecosystems services derived from working landscapes. Kristina completed a PhD in Ecology with a focus in agro-, rangeland, and restoration ecology at U.C. Davis, and has advanced degrees in Animal Science and Soil Science from Cal Poly, SLO. She works in complex agricultural systems in which plants, soils, animals (livestock and wildlife), and the humans that manage these systems interact in the changing and dynamic climate of arid and semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystems. Her work includes natural, manipulative, and social experiments and resource management in natural and working ecosystems, and includes assessing and management of interacting variables in rangelands, riparian areas, and croplands, including soil chemical and physical properties, plant community structure and composition, wildlife diversity and abundance, livestock management (e.g., species, stocking rates, timing, behavior), and human management frameworks, on public and private lands in collaboration with other researchers, agencies, farmers, ranchers, and other managers.


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