Elections are OPEN for the 2024 Board
Executive board positions are voted on every fall for the coming year. Article V of the Chapter bylaws has five elected positions and several appointed committee chairs. Even in an uncontested election, a list of candidates for elected positions is submitted to voting chapter members (members who have paid dues) before the new Board takes office at the Western Section Annual Meeting. The ballot for elected board members is available from December 1, 2023 through January 15, 2024.
If you are a Chapter member, please check your email to vote.
Executive Board Candidate Statements
Nominated candidate: Bonnie Peterson
I am a wildlife biologist that dabbles in wetland ecology and botany, having worked as a consultant in Central and Northern California for over 20 years. With a background in regulatory permitting and project management. I am ecstatic to be back in the field conducting special-status species surveys, wetland delineations, nesting bird surveys, rare plant surveys, and habitat assessment for public and private projects, balanced with a heavy dose of monitoring mitigation banks and open space preserves. I have relied on the training available through the Sac-Shasta Chapter of the Wildlife Society (SSTWS) for professional development, and enjoy the opportunity to network with other wildlife biologists. I previously served on the board of the SSTWS as Treasurer, Western Section Representative, Vice President, and President look forward to continuing to support the Chapter as Past President in 2024.
Nominated candidate: Bennie Johnson
I am a wildlife biologist in Northern California, where I have been living and working for over 8 years. I have a long background working with amphibians and more recently have been involved with montane meadow restoration projects, as well as projects which promote healthy forests, and over the last year I have assisted with post-fire restoration work within the Dixie Fire burn footprint. I have been a long-time member of the Wildlife Society and have been involved with the SSTWS Board since 2018. I served as the Chapter President in 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and I look forward to serving on the board as the President again in 2024.
Seeking Qualified Applicants!
Nominated candidate: Robyn Smith
My name is Robyn Smith and I am excited to perform the role of Secretary for the Sac-Shasta Board. I have been involved on the board since 2017 and was Chapter President in 2019. Most recently I have been serving as scholarship committee chair. I currently work for JNA-Consulting as a Project Biologist conducting surveys for rare Sierra Nevada wildlife and plants and writing environmental documents for NEPA/CEQA/CWA/ESA compliance. I am excited to serve our chapter by recording meeting notes at our board meetings and documenting chapter events over the course of the next year.
Nominated candidate: Erica Rhyne-Christensen
I have served on the board of the Sac-Shasta Chapter of the Wildlife Society since 2020 and was the President in 2021. Currently I am working on restoration for the sake of doing restoration. In my free time I enjoy educating the public about conserving natural resources, and helping children enjoy science.
Nominated candidate: Hanika Cook
I am a data support specialist based in the Sacramento area working with wildlife refuges to organize and streamline their wildlife survey data and protocols in California and Nevada. I spent several years as a field biologist conducting surveys and monitoring birds, bats, and other mammals in Davis, Winters, and nearby areas, and more recently have surveyed birds and grasses at various refuges. I have been part of the SSTWS board since 2022, and I look forward to continuing my role as Treasurer in 2024.
Chapter Executive Board 2023
Our Awesome Elected Officials
|Past-President: Trisha Velasquez|
2022-2023 B.S. Biology: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation Concentration. California State University, Sacramento
A.A. Biology/Field Ecology Certificate. Sacramento City CollegeTrisha (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 garter snakes. 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 dogs.
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, CWB®|
M.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, B.S. Wildlife Science, Virginia Tech
Certified Wildlife Biologist® (CWB®) 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 dogBennie 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.
|Secretary: Robyn Smith|
Robyn Smith is a Project Biologist with Janelle Nolan & Associates Environmental Consulting, a small woman-owned consulting firm. Robyn mainly works on implementing wildlife and botanical studies for hydroelectric relicensing projects and conducting biological analysis in support of NEPA/CEQA processes. Robyn routinely conducts protocol-level surveys for California spotted owl, northern goshawks, great gray owl, willow flycatcher, yellow-legged frogs, and Yosemite toad. Robyn is a certified wetland delineator and is recently investigating the intimidating but exciting world of botany. Robyn is generally interested in avian population ecology, amphibian conservation, and Sierra Nevada natural history. She also has a special fondness for the Hawaiian islands – for her masters degree, she studied the impacts of a non-native frog species on Hawaiian bird communities. In her spare time, Robyn enjoys birding, backpacking, kayaking, and hiking with her dog.
Mailing Address: 1017 L Street PMB 245 Sacramento, CA 95814