California Native Grasslands Association
Promoting, preserving, and restoring the diversity of California's native grasses and grassland ecosystems through education, advocacy, research, and stewardship.

2017 Executive Board


JP Marié - Manager, UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve


Andrea WilliamsVegetation Ecologist, Marin Municipal Water District


Jodie Sheffield - Sod and Seed Specialist, Delta Bluegrass Company 


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

2017 Directors-at-Large

Michelle Cooper (2016/2017) Stewardship Manager, Marin Agricultural Land Trust

Robert Evans (2016-2017) Soil Conservationist, USDA NRCS Fresno

Elise Gornish (2017/2018) UC Cooperative Extension Specialist in Restoration Ecology

Michele Hammond (2016-2017) Botanist, East Bay Park District and Staff Research Associate, UC Berkeley

Jim Hanson (2016-2017) Landscape Architect, natural areas conservation, planning and       management

Richard King (2016-2017), USDA/NRCS retired

Billy Krimmel (2016-2017) Owner, Restoration Landscaping Company

Jaymee Marty (2017/2018) Owner, Marty Ecological Consulting

Jeff Wilcox (2016-2017) Managing Ecologist, Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation

Kristina Wolf (2017/2018) Research & Academic Coordinator, Russel Ranch Sustainable Agriculture facility, Agricultural Sustainability Institute UC Davis 

Board Biographies and Photos

Alphabetical by last name. 
 Jennifer Buck-Diaz

 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.
 Michelle Cooper
 Michelle joined the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) in 2013. She and manages MALT's stewardship program and also represents MALT in local and regional organizations, activities and projects related to land stewardship and conservation planning. Prior to joining MALT, she served as land steward at the University of California-Bodega Marine Reserve where she managed invasive species and conducted grassland restoration research projects and natural resource monitoring. She earned a B.S. in botany from the University of Washington and a M.S. in biology from Sonoma State University.
 Robert Evans

Robert has been working in Conservation for 6.5 years. He graduated from Unviersity 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 many 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, 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.

 Elise Gornish

Dr. Elise Gornish has been a Cooperative Extension Specialist at the University of California, Davis since January 2015. Her research focuses on using integrated approaches to develop and deploy effective restoration and land management strategies in working and natural grassland systems. She conducts extensive outreach programs throughout the state focused on both restoration of grassland systems as well as invasive plant management.

 JP Marié
 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. 
 Michele Hammond

Michele is Botanist for the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) and Staff Research Associate with the Range Ecology Lab (REL) at U.C. Berkeley She has studied California grasslands and their ecology and management for the past 15 years. Her work for REL has taken her all over California to assess the native diversity and restoration potential of grasslands within the State Park system. More recently her REL lab focus is on using livestock grazing to manage for native annual forbs and blunt nosed leopard lizards on the Tejon Ranch in the southern San Joaquin Valley. She is also involved in mapping the native grasslands of Point Reyes National Seashore as part of a larger effort to help with grassland management plans for their grazed grasslands. Splitting her time between REL and EBRPD allows her to make interesting connections helping her to plan, recommend and implement actions for grassland management. Recent monitoring in EBRPD grasslands involves rare plant populations such as the introduced population of Santa Cruz tarplant, Holocarpha macradenia, in Wildcat Canyon and newly acquired parkland within the East Contra Costa Habitat Conservation Plan.

 Jaymee Marty

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.

 Jodie Sheffield

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.  

 Kristina Wolf

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 currently works as the research coordinator for the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility, which is housed in the U.C. Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute. She collaborates with researchers around the globe to investigate sustainable farming practices to reduce pesticide use, improve soil health and quality, increase yields, conserve water, and enhance ecosystems services derived from agricultural lands. Kristina completed a PhD in Ecology with a focus in agroecology and restoration ecology at U.C. Davis, and have additional advanced degrees in Animal Science (BS, minor in Range Resources) and Soil Science (MS) from Cal Poly, SLO. She researches and manages 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 measuring a variety of interacting factors 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 both public and private lands in collaboration with other researchers, agency personnel, farmers, and ranchers.

 Andrea Williams

 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 15 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 invasive plants, mapping, and prioritization.

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