HomeAboutNewsEventsResourcesConservation AffairsMembership

Chapter Executive Board

Our Awesome Elected Officials

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 at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife working on conducting five-year reviews of state listed species. 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. As one of few women of color in the field, she is 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, in addition to advocating for meaningful inclusion of Indigenous people in discussions of conservation and returning stolen Indigenous lands. When not working, she enjoys searching for salamanders in the forest, drinking tea at home with her husband and cats, and playing Dungeons and Dragons (now on Zoom) with friends.

Vice 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

Past President & 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.

Secretary: Bennie Johnson Howell, 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: Sarah Estrella

Sarah has worked for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife since 1999. Since 2000, she has worked in the Suisun Marsh program with the salt marsh harvest mouse, CA Ridgway’s rail and CA black rail, western pond turtle, listed and invasive plants, and tidal marsh restoration.

She attended both UC Davis and CSU Sacramento for her undergrad studies and CSUS for her Masters, where she studied the invasive plant, perennial pepperweed.

In her spare time, she backpacks, runs, bikes, and swims in open waters.

Contact Us

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

Email: sac.shasta@gmail.com