©Carley Sweet/USFWS, licensed by cc 2.0

©Carley Sweet/USFWS, licensed by cc 2.0

Board Members 


Past-President: Shawn Wagoner

Shawn is excited to serve as the Past President for our TWS Central Coast Chapter. He has brought more involvement and collaboration with the northern part of our Chapter range. Shawn is a wildlife biologist in the Monterey area with Burleson Consulting. He plans to continue to develop and foster relationships between our northern and southern chapter members, students and professionals through lectures, workshops, and events.

President: Rachel Perpignani

Rachel is a wildlife biologist and environmental consultant working in the Monterey area. A CSUMB graduate in Environmental Studies, Rachel has over a decade of experience working with special-status species in habitats impacted by invasive species, climate change, and a variety of anthropogenic factors. This background has given her a unique appreciation for the positive role humans can and must have in conservation and restoration. As President, Rachel’s goals include expanding the chapter membership base in Monterey County, contributing new ideas and venues for outreach and professional development events, and connecting with members to ensure that our programming meaningfully contributes to the realization of their professional and academic goals.


Secretary: Jackie Hancock

Jackie has served on the California Central Coast Chapter board as Professional Development Chair, President-elect, President, and Past President and now is transitioning to Secretary. She is the graphic genius behind the Chapter’s artwork! She has witnessed the Chapter grow from a few casual gatherings to an impressive group of many professionals and students who participate in trainings, lectures, and symposiums. Her goal as Secretary is to ensure that these wonderful opportunities continue to provide the relevant training and education for our members. Jackie has been a biologist for 20 years at Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County and she is hoping to continue to build Chapter representation. Jackie looks forward to meeting more of you and listening to your ideas and recommendations, and together we will continue to make this Chapter excel.

Treasurer: Jamie Miller

Jamie is delighted to transition to the Treasurer position on the California Central Coast Chapter Board. She graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and has been working as a wildlife biologist on the Central Coast for over 18 years. She started out tracking California condors at Hi Mountain Lookout, studying kangaroo rat ecology in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes and Carrizo Plains National Monument, and banding birds in the Amazon rainforest and Hawai’i. She earned her master’s from the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, specializing in conservation planning and environmental data science. Her master’s thesis work involved updating habitat connectivity assessments for The Nature Conservancy and the Staying Connected Initiative in the Adirondack Mountains. For the last 10 years she has worked at Vandenberg Air Force Base examining factors impacting snowy plover productivity and survivorship, and the effectiveness and sustainability of restored coastal dune habitat as it pertains to plover productivity. She strives to integrate sustainable land use practices, evidence-based management and policy decisions, and public outreach to protect both human communities and the natural environment.

President-Elect: Michaela Robbins

Michaela is ready and willing to transition to President-elect on the California Central Coast Chapter board. She has been a California Central Coast Chapter board member since 2013, serving as Secretary, President, Past President, and Treasurer. Michaela has developed many of the workshops and events that have built this Chapter into what it is today. She initiated the lecture series and social hours, Amphibian workshop, and the Annual Wildlife Symposium. Michaela graduated from Cal Poly, with a B.S. in Ecology and Systematic Biology and a M.S. in Biology. She has over 20 years experience working with endangered species and is currently a Senior Biologist at Rincon Consultants. Michaela is the recipient of the Central Coast Chapter’s 2021 Wildlifer of the Year. Michaela is ready to continue to serve the student chapters, grow membership support, and would love to chat with you at one of our upcoming events. Photo credit: Vince Gerwe.

Chapter Representative: David Kisner

David Kisner has been a Certified Wildlife Biologist since 2014 and has been working as an ecologist within central and southern California since 1993. David graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Evolution and Ecology and a MS in Biology from San Diego State University. His Master’s thesis examined the impact of Arundo donax (the giant reed; an aggressive non-native riparian plant) on the riparian bird community. Starting as an undergrad at UCSB, he started working with numerous listed bird species including least Bell’s vireo, southwestern willow flycatcher, snowy plover, least tern, Belding’s savannah sparrow, California gnatcatcher, and yellow billed cuckoo. Over the years he has branched out to include work with amphibians, reptiles, bird banding, plant identification, habitat restoration, and teaching. David and his wife, Johanna, run a small biological consulting firm with help from their three kids and numerous pets. They work on smaller habitat restoration projects, construction monitoring, ecological assessments, and avian-based research.

Appointed Positions

Professional Development Committee Chair: Open
Conservation Affairs Committee Chair: Kevin CooperKevin Cooper began his career in 1980 at the University of Montana studying grizzly bear ecology and working summers as a backcountry ranger and wildlife researcher with the US Park Service at Mount Rainier and Crater Lake National Parks. After completing graduate school at the University of Alaska and Oregon State University studying Rocky Mountain elk he moved to San Luis Obispo in 1987 to work as a biologist on the Los Padres National Forest, where he work as a district, zone, and finally the Forest Biologist before retiring in 2018.

Kevin supervised the Los Padres Wildlife, Fisheries, Botany, Range, and Watershed Programs and worked with interdisciplinary teams to mitigate project impacts to wildlife, conduct wildlife surveys, write NEPA and Endangered species Act (ESA) reports, monitor project effects on wildlife, and respond to litigation regarding forest programs such as developed recreation, wilderness management, oil and gas development, range management, wildfire suppression, and watershed management. Kevin participated in Forest land management planning and worked with other federal and local agencies to manage species across political boundaries on efforts such as the California Condor Recovery Team.

Kevin also worked throughout his wildlife career as a firefighter on hand crews, and eventually became the Lead Resource Advisor and Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) leader, coordinator, and liaison for large wildfires such as the 2018 Thomas Fire where he was able to bring together all of his skills as a leader to help organize the interagency flood assessment before, during, and after the Montecito debris flows.

Kevin looks forward to bringing his experience working with various federal and local agencies to develop the Chapters Conservations Affairs Committee.

Diversity Committee Chair: Ivett Plasencia
Membership Manager: Nicole GaudendiNicole is a wildlife biologist with a B.S. in biology from the University of San Francisco and has over 6 years of ecological field experience. She has worked with a variety of animals in the Carrizo Plain National Monument and spent a few seasons nest-searching and banding birds in Marin County. She recently received her M.S. in biology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she studied blunt-nosed leopard lizards in the Carrizo Plain. She currently works for California State Parks monitoring snowy plovers and least terns at Oceano Dunes. She is looking forward to being more involved in the Central Coast chapter this year.
Media Manager: Open

If you would like to contact the Chapter please email: cacentralcoastchaptertws@gmail.com