Chapter Executive Board

Our Awesome Elected Officials

Past-President: Trisha Velasquez

B.S. Biology: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation Concentration. California State University, Sacramento
A.A. Biology/Field Ecology Certificate. Sacramento City College

Trisha (she/her) is an Environmental Scientist working on wetland habitat restoration projects. She discovered her love of the outdoors and the study of wildlife and ecology while taking a Natural History course at Sacramento City College. She has worked with ringtails, bats and birds, and is a big fan of all herps, having been lucky enough to have worked multiple seasons surveying for giant gartersnakes. Over the past couple of years, she has been trying to reconnect with her cultural background of Mexican and Chumash ancestry, and is now dedicated to working with other members of The Wildlife Society to make the wildlife field a more accessible option for other people of color, who are currently remarkably underrepresented. Her dream is to open a California Natural History Museum to educate the public on all of the amazing habitats and species that occur in the state as well as teaching the real history of native communities that have and continue to live and care for this land. When not working, she enjoys searching for salamanders in the forest, drinking tea at home with her cats and husband, and playing Dungeons and Dragons (now on Zoom) with friends.

President: Bonnie Peterson

Bonnie is a wildlife biologist with a strong interest in botany. She has worked as an environmental consultant in Central and Northern California for 17 years and splits her time between working as a real estate agent and as a senior biologist/regulatory specialist for Madrone Ecological Consulting. She appreciated the on-the ground opportunities for a wide variety of special status species surveys, wetland delineations, nesting bird surveys, rare plant surveys, and always changing challenges that consulting provides. In her spare time she loves to bike, hike, kayak, and hang out in hammocks with her dog.

Contact Bonnie at bonnie(dot)e(dot)peterson(at)gmail(dot)com

TWS Western Section Representative: Erica Rhyne-Christensen

Erica has worked for the Department of Water Resources since 2011 starting out as a scientific aid. She has been working as a wildlife biologist for the past 7 years conducting protocol level surveys for listed species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley. She recently was permitted for fairy shrimp surveys. In her free time she enjoys educating the public about conserving natural resources, and helping low income children have fun in nature.

Vice President: Bennie Johnson, AWB®

M.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Biology
B.S. Wildlife Science, Virginia Tech
Associate Wildlife Biologist® (AWB®) Certification

Bethany (Bennie) Johnson is a Wildlife Biologist with Collins Pine Company, a small timber company in Northern California. For her M.S., Bennie studied amphibian communities in managed forests, and she continues that work in her current position. Bennie also studies special status species, both wildlife and plants. She works closely with state, federal, and non-profit groups, and seeks out opportunities for habitat restoration projects on the forest she works in and also with adjacent landowners. Bennie is active in her community where she provides environmental outreach to the local elementary school and also coaches youth soccer. In her spare time, Bennie enjoys snowboarding, paddle boarding, and hanging out with her two dogs.

Bennie also previously served as the Chapter Vice President in 2019 and President in 2020.

Treasurer: Hanika Cook

Hanika (she/her) is a data support specialist based in the Sacramento area working with wildlife survey data and protocols in California, Nevada, and Oregon. She is a UC Davis alum with a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, and she spent several years as a field biologist conducting surveys and monitoring birds, bats, and other mammals in Davis, Winters, and nearby areas. She’s also worked with endangered birds in Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys birding, sewing, crocheting, and video games. In addition to English, she speaks Spanish and German.

Contact Us

Mailing Address: 1017 L Street PMB 245 Sacramento, CA 95814