Our Staff and Board of Directors
We owe the success of our chapter to our small staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors. Our large group of talented volunteers allow us to accomplish many of our goals with a small budget, putting more of our hard-earned donations to good use. Read about our current honorees in the volunteer spotlight.
Stephanie Ellis, Executive Director, joined SCVAS in January 2014, bringing extensive experience in communications and public relations that will help fulfill the mission of our chapter. Her current responsibilities include interfacing with the public, administering chapter finances, managing staff, working with the Board of Directors, and overseeing all programs. Prior to joining SCVAS, Stephanie was Executive Director of Wild Care, Inc., a wildlife rehabilitation hospital located on Cape Cod where she oversaw 800 to 1,200 wildlife patients annually. Her background also includes managing outreach and educational programs at San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, and being an active member of SCVAS as part of the Board of Directors and the Environmental Action Committee. In the future, she looks to continuously improve organizational communications and activities to support our very important environmental, educational, and birding programs. Stephanie can be reached at (408) 252-3748 or [email protected].
Susan Bell, Office Manager, has worked for SCVAS since 1999. She manages our delightful Nature Shop and office and is the friendly face that greets McClellan Ranch visitors. Susan is a sixth generation San Josean coming from a farming family that raised pears on North First Street, so she has a deep appreciation of the important work that SCVAS does in trying to preserve this precious valley and its wildlife. Her educational background is in Early Childhood Education, and she has worked as administrative support for nonprofits for 15 years. You can contact Susan at (408) 252-3747 or [email protected].
Toby Goldberg, Programs Coordinator, is responsible for SCVAS' Education and Volunteer Programs. She sits on the Education Committee and works closely with volunteers, educators, community organizations, and other individuals interested in receiving our various services. Toby has a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University and an M.A. in Ecology from UCSB. She has worked in conservation research in several countries and has been involved with education programs in a wide variety of settings. Ella habla Español. If you would like to learn more about SCVAS' Education Programs and Volunteer opportunities, contact Toby at (408) 252-3740 or [email protected].
Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate, works to protect and promote wildlife habitats and to include avian conservation in local development plans. She represents the Chapter before local governments and decision makers addressing issues of land use, birds, wildlife habitat, and environmental impacts. Shani (pronounced shaa-knee) works closely with our Environmental Action Committee and volunteers on a plethora of conservation issues throughout Santa Clara County and its Cities. Shani earned her Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis and has contributed to conservation research, advocacy and planning in a variety of ecosystems in the US and overseas. To join our group of advocates, or to alert us to ecological concerns and opportunities in your community, contact Shani at (650) 868-2114 or [email protected].
Andrew Bradshaw, Assistant Programs Coordinator, facilitates education programs and outreach events for SCVAS. He works in classrooms with youth, leads bird walks, coordinates volunteers, and can also be found supporting the SCVAS in various office roles. Andrew also works for the Belize Raptor Research Institute as a field researcher and crew leader studying neotropical raptor species. He also volunteers as a raptor bander with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. Andrew has a B.S. in Ecology, Range, Wildlife and Fisheries with an emphasis in Wildlife Conservation. You can contact Andrew at (650) 252-3740 or [email protected].
Joshua McCluskey, Burrowing Owl Conservation Project Manager, has a B.Sc. in Environmental Studies with a focus on restoration and resource management with a minor in Urban Studies from San Jose State University, in addition to Associates degrees in Environmental Stewardship and Biodiversity Specialist from De Anza College. He has worked locally to protect Coyote Valley and contributed to wildlife connectivity research in the South Bay Area. If you are interested in working with Josh on the Western Burrowing Owl issues, contact him at (408) 252-3747 or [email protected].
Rachel Beck, Environmental Intern, is entering her senior year as an Environmental Studies and Political Science double major at Eckerd College in Florida. She worked with SCVAS last summer as a camp counselor, and we are glad to have her again this summer to help with our many local environmental efforts.
Ricardo Fernandez, Burrowing Owl Conservation Intern, is currently attending San Jose State University to obtain a B.Sc. in Environmental Studies with a restoration focus. He is currently working to help monitor and protect the western burrowing owl populations in Santa Clara County. During his free time, Ricardo loves to hike and mountain bike where he gets a chance to admire California's wildlife and native vegetation. At home Ricardo enjoys maintaining a sustainable vegetable garden as well as restoring his yard to a native garden.
The SCVAS Board of Directors is always open to new ideas and suggestions from members. We work hard to uphold our bylaws, maintain fiscal responsibility, ensure that our programs support our mission, promote local conservation, and provide fun and exciting learning experiences for both children and adults.
Board of Directors and Executive Director.
Back: Pete La Tourrette (Treasurer), Peter Hart,
Vivek Khanzode, Tom Grey.
Front: Melanie O'Brien, Stephanie Ellis (Executive Director),
Bob Hirt (President).
Missing: Joan Leighton (Secretary), Morteza Danesh, and
Diane Hart (Vice President).
Updated August 2014
Burrowing Owl © Tom Grey
Donating Benefits our Communities
Your tax-deductible donation allows SCVAS to increase the number of youngsters, many from low income families, that we reach with our local science education programs. Your donation dollars also support our many conservation efforts that make us one of the most effective conservation organizations in the Bay Area. We have many different ways that you can volunteer and donate.
How to Volunteer for SCVAS
Fill out our Volunteer Sign-up form or contact our Programs Coordinator at (408) 252-3740 or at [email protected].
Check out our most pressing needs, plus our list of individual and committee opportunities.
Become a volunteer for conservation.
View our volunteer calendar.
Upcoming Events at SCVAS
Saturday August 30, 10:30AM-1:30PM.
Summer Whale Watching with Young Audubon
Observe some of nature's most magnificent creatures - possibilities include California Grey, Humpback and maybe even Blue Whales - during the peak of their northern migration!
Wednesday September 3, 7:30-9PM
Bay Area Bird Photographers Meeting
Annual Members' Slides Program
Wednesday September 3, 12:00 PM (one hour)
City of Sunnyvale Landfill
Contact organizer Silviana Ruiz (408) 730-7545 to attend.