Having served as CCCC TWS Vice President (President Elect) over the past year, I look forward to serving as President. Our chapter has come quite a ways over the last few years, thanks in large part to our current President, Michaela, and all of the board members – past and present. Our board members donate their (not-always-so-free) time and effort to making things happen. But, our chapter is made up of everyone that pays the small membership fee, shows up at events, and stays involved in our community. As we strive to bring more cohesiveness and opportunities to the chapter, we always welcome advice and help. So, say hello at events, offer input, and get involved! Thanks, and I look forward to a great year.
Vice President: Tiffany Whitsitt-Odell
I have enjoyed the past year serving as Secretary alongside a strong Central Coast Chapter board that has worked hard to provide more opportunities for our membership. I would like to continue serving your Chapter as President-Elect. I have worked to ensure events are hosted in Santa Barbara County and I want to work to continue that effort as our chapter grows. I have enjoyed getting to meet many of you at events or via email and want to continue to hear from you about what kind of opportunities you would like to see the Chapter offer.
Past-President: Michaela Koenig
I have been on the board for three years, two as Secretary and one as President. In that time I have worked diligently to establish a current chapter roster, chapter website, developed our outreach program, grow membership, and help build a solid Executive Board. It is my hope to continue to listen to what the chapter members want as far as professional development, continuing education, and overall wildlife related experiences. My goals continue to be to encourage and support our student chapters and membership, as well as to continue to expand our reach into Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties. As the 2016 Chapter President, I am uniquely qualified to serve as the Immediate Past President for 2017. As Past President I will continue to serve the California Central Coast Chapter and I look forward to this new role!
Secretary: Melissa Blundell
I am excited to serve as Secretary for TWS CCCC. I am currently a Wildlife Biologist with Dudek and first became a member of TWS in 2008. I am an alumna of Humboldt State University and UC Davis and have worked on wildlife projects throughout California. Although I am a new member to the CCCC, I have experience serving on committees with other organizations (e.g., AOU). I am excited to be an active member of the Executive Board, continue the efforts of my predecessors, and contribute my experiences in supporting chapter goals.
Treasurer: David Hacker
Last year I drafted the by-laws amendment that the chapter voted to approve, which will allow us to invest our funds. Please vote for me again so I can continue that work by getting our money invested according to our newly amended by-laws. Then we will realize our long-term goal of earning more income from an endowment to support the chapter goals, especially supporting student activities.
Chapter Rep: Sara Snyder
I am thrilled to serve another year as Chapter Representative. I have worked as a wildlife biologist in the San Luis Obispo Area for the last seven years. I was first introduced to The Wildlife Society while working in the San Francisco Bay Area and shortly after I joined the local chapter. When I moved to San Luis Obispo for graduate school I joined the Central Coast Chapter.
Professional Development Committee Chair: Halden Petersen
Halden Petersen earned a degree in Environmental Management and Protection from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has worked as a wildlife biologist for over five years. In his professional career, he has been involved in many local projects and conducted biological work throughout the Central Coast and surrounding areas. Halden has enjoyed and benefitted first-hand from a number of workshops and other events put on by The Wildlife Society and he is excited to get involved and contribute to the continued growth and collaboration of the chapter and its members.
I am a recent graduate from the University of California Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution. I am currently working full time as a Junior Environmental Planner and am a graduate student at Colorado State University’s online program getting a Masters in Natural Resource Stewardship with an emphasis in Ecological Restoration. I am pretty new to The Wildlife Society and am so excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Chapter!
Membership Manager: Natalie Rathjen-Gonzales
Natalie studied Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis. In the years since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2010, she has observed fish-eating birds on the Columbia River, tracked desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert, hiked after spotted owls in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and scoped snowy plovers and least terns at the Oceano Dunes. Currently, Natalie can be found following power lines and listing trees for trimming as a consulting utility forester for Davey Resource Group. On occasion, she gets to perform nest surveys in dead and dying trees and hopes to be part of the growth of the ecological services division of the company. In her spare time, she trains and frolics with her ponies, discovers the world of board games, and takes in the views of our beautiful state. Perhaps she will paint that blank canvas that has been nagging her too. Feel free to add to the nagging so it doesn’t stay blank forever. 😉
Newsletter Manager: Andrea Dransfield
Andrea is a wildlife biologist with a background in marine mammal research. Her Master’s thesis focused on humpback whale habitat modeling and reducing ship strike risk in the Bay Area and her undergraduate thesis focused on harbor porpoise habitat use in British Columbia. She has contributed to a variety of other projects researching harbor seals in Point Reyes National Seashore, monitoring gray whales along the coast of California, studying Irrawaddy dolphins in Thailand, and aerial and boat-based monitoring of large whales species such as blue whales at risk of ship strike in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Andrea enjoys biking, SUPing, horseback riding and scuba diving. She is a new member of The Wildlife Society and is thrilled to be a part of the team.