Land Trust Staff
Meredith’s family history in ranching dates to the late 1800s in Goleta and informed much of her work in conservation nonprofit leadership for the last 20 years in northern California. Her career has focused on permanently conserving land for future generations and developing public open space in the San Francisco Bay Area, including 7 years as the Director of Land Programs at the nationally accredited land trust, Save Mount Diablo. Meredith holds a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology from UC Davis and a master’s degree in Environmental Business Relations from San Francisco State University.
Among Meredith’s most important career accomplishments is the creation of the Dr. Mary Bowerman Science and Research Program, providing small grants, especially to students, for research projects on Save Mount Diablo’s properties and protected land network in the Bay Area. She also successfully worked on the expansion of the regional Marsh Creek Trail network and was instrumental in resolving the 40-year long fight to protect the last 95 acres of historic Anderson Ranch from subdivision, ensuring the property’s long-term preservation.
As the fourth executive director in the Land Trust’s four decades, Meredith brings a clear-eyed approach to the organization’s next phase of ambitious conservation projects.
Vanessa received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Service from Azusa Pacific University. She has worked in the non-profit world for over five years and is passionate about making a difference in her community. Having recently moved to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles, she is excited to experience the beauty that this county has to offer. Vanessa loves nature and the outdoors, especially tending to her garden and plants. In her free time she enjoys camping, cooking, and reading.
Land Programs Manager
Leslie is the former Deputy Director turned Land Programs Manager, a brand-new role at the Land Trust focusing on community outreach, program development, and project planning. Recently, Leslie was the visitation manager for the Dangermond Preserve at The Nature Conservancy. As the Land Programs Manger, Leslie will formalize program offerings such as Land Trust Treks and help the Land Trust engage more folks with our important work through community outreach.
Her background in community engagement and conservation planning will be instrumental in the establishment of a north county preserve and further implementing the Land Trust’s strategic plan and the Conservation Blueprint.
Sally works closely with the docents who lead programs for school children and adults at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve. She also coordinates volunteers for habitat restoration and trail maintenance work days.
Sally worked at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden for 20 years and is a former Director of Education. She has an M.A. in botany and several teaching credentials. She has taught at Allan Hancock College, in public schools, and she occasionally teaches classes for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Sally enjoys writing and nature photography and occasionally writes articles for local publications. For many years, she and her husband ran a herd of beef cattle on the family ranch which is protected by a conservation easement and located near Lompoc. Currently, she has a small cow herd, a horse, and other animals on her own little ranch.
Land Programs Coordinator
Born and raised in Oxnard, CA, Aldo’s love for the outdoors began with time spent at Lake Cachuma and Gaviota Beach. With a Master’s degree from the University of San Francisco in Environmental Management and a concentration in ecology, Aldo worked throughout California gaining restoration and forestry experience, most recently for Watsonville Wetlands Watch.
As the Land Trust’s first Land Programs Coordinator, Aldo is excited to engage a more diverse community in Santa Barbara County’s amazing and biodiverse ecosystems. When Aldo isn’t working on restoration projects or program development, he is taking long road trips to National and State parks, hiking with his dogs, and enjoying concerts and football games.
Lisa is returning to this position at the Land Trust, having worked here for seven years through early 2013. She brings a wealth of non-profit financial and administrative experience to the Land Trust having worked with local non-profits for nearly forty years including the Alpha Resource Center, Fielding Graduate University, Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care and the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. From 2010-2014 she served as a Trustee for Santa Barbara City College and currently is an active volunteer for other local organizations. She earned a degree in Business Economics from UCSB and has a CPA license (inactive).
Lisa is a long-time resident of Santa Barbara, having moved here with her family in 1969. She raised her three children here, enjoying the beautiful outdoors and all those special hiking spots unique to Santa Barbara. The family spent much of the time at the ocean, swimming and surfing. The mission of the Land Trust is very important to her as she supports the protection of open spaces for the enjoyment of future generations.
Development & Communications Director
Carrie Mullen comes to the team after twenty years as a non-profit executive specializing in strategic partnerships, programmatic diversification, marketing, and revenue advancement. After devoting much of her life to work with the University of Minnesota, West Virginia University, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, this native Californian is very happy to be home!
Carrie achieved a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Political Science, from the University of California, Irvine, and a Master of Arts in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. She has a passion for land and agriculture that dates back to her early years as an avid gardener and fondly remembers transplanting wild yarrow from her parents’ yard into empty peanut cans. She has been a California Certified Nursery Professional since her undergraduate years, active in community gardening projects (including Dowling Community Gardens in Minneapolis—believed to be one of the last remaining Victory Gardens still in use), and is a Master Gardener in Minnesota, Maryland, and West Virginia.
Land Stewardship Manager
Alison holds a dual Masters of Environmental Management and Masters of Forestry from the Nicholas School at Duke University. She previously worked at the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, where she developed a passion for working with landowners and using conservation easements as a tool to protect land. She’s worked in a variety of landscapes over the past ten years-from analyzing salamander habitat in the Southern Appalachians to studying birds in Belize to leading environmental education trips in Marin County, California.
Alison was born in San Francisco and grew up hiking throughout the Coast Range and Sierra Nevada mountains. These trips fueled her love of the outdoors and led her to pursue a career in conservation. She’s excited to be back in California, working to preserve and protect the beautiful landscapes and unique ecosystems of Santa Barbara County.
Bruce discovered his passion for wildlife, wilderness travel and reliance on the bare necessities early in life and pursued his interest in the natural world by making television nature documentaries for more than two decades. The birth of his daughter over 15 years ago compelled a desire to refocus closer to home and a return to his biologist roots. He now provides environmental consulting services to a variety of clients that includes document review and preparation, field surveys, compliance monitoring, habitat restoration, and research; he also serves on the Santa Barbara Channel Keepers Board. Bruce became Conservation Manager for the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County in 2012 and was promoted to Conservation Director in 2015.
Land Acquisition Manager
Devin’s lifelong passion for natural spaces has guided his work in land stewardship, ecological research, and environmental education from the midwestern US to New Zealand. He holds a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at University of California, Santa Barbara where he specialized in conservation planning. He comes to the Land Trust after spending the last three years working on community resilience and conservation in the Santa Barbara region at LegacyWorks Group. He is an avid hiker and naturalist, spending much of his time exploring trails across the County and getting acquainted with the unique landscape. Devin is thrilled to be joining the Land Trust where he can put his passion to work for the landscapes and community of Santa Barbra County.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Katie brings more than 5 years of storytelling experience as a writer and marketer to the Land Trust along with the skills needed to raise community awareness and engagement. Her background in fundraising, real estate, nonprofit, and natural foods make her particularly adept at reaching diverse audiences through compelling communications.
Jennifer Dunn & John Warner
Arroyo Hondo Preserve co-Managers
John has a great deal of experience when it comes to managing visitor activities and being responsible for overseeing business planning. John has a degree in Business Administration from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, California and experience as a Production manager which comes in handy for scheduling and managing large groups of people. In addition to working at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, John has three associate degrees from Santa Barbara City College in Nursery Production and Operations, Landscape Contracting, and Landscape Irrigation and owns his own California native plant nursery, Santa Barbara Natives, since 2003. John and his wife Jenn have been managing the Arroyo Hondo Preserve since 2005.
Jennifer is a very social person who has had experience as an event coordinator for Hind, an athletic apparel company in San Luis Obispo, California where she managed and scheduled public events and trade shows. Jennifer is a Registered Nurse who has been working at Cottage Hospital since 2003.