Southern California Chapter: Officers

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President: Brock Ortega

Brock Ortega previously served as Treasurer and Member-at-large, and currently serves as President. He attended Humboldt State University where he obtained a B.S. degree in wildlife management. He is a senior wildlife biologist and principal at Dudek where he has been employed for over 26 years. He hold federal permits for several listed species, and particularly enjoys working on wildlife movement and renewable energy projects. Mr. Ortega has been involved with TWS for 25 years and with the local TWS chapter for the last 12 or so.  Mr. Ortega lives in San Diego County, and is trying to deal with “empty nest syndrome” and he has three kids in college (2 at University of Missouri, Columbia and one at Northern Arizona University).



Vice President: Callie Amoaku

Callie Ford Amoaku has been active in the Southern California chapter since 2012 as an Events Coordinator, and is currently the Vice President. After graduating from California Polytechnical University, San Luis Obispo in 2006 with a B.S. in Environmental Management, she has worked as an environmental professional in the biology department at Dudek. For the past 9+ years, she has worked in the field conducting surveys for birds, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. She is most interested in the ecology of an area and therefore spent time mapping vegetation and water resources with an emphasis on how different resources provide habitat for wildlife species. She is currently pursuing federal permits for surveying Casey’s june beetle, Quino checkerspot butterfly, El Segundo blue butterfly, and Palos Verde blue butterfly. She strives to continuously learn about wildlife species and enjoy taking courses and workshops, and networking with wildlife biologists.


Past-President: Wendy Loeffler

Ms. Loeffler is a senior project manager and senior biologist with RECON Environmental, Inc. She obtained both a B.A. and M.A in Biology from California State University, Fullerton, where she studied the diets of locally nesting seabirds. Upon completion of her advanced degree, Ms. Loeffler entered the environmental consulting world. She worked first and briefly in Orange County, and then settled with RECON in San Diego over 17 years ago. She holds a recovery permit to study and survey for the coastal California gnatcatcher, fairy shrimp, and the Quino checkerspot butterfly. She has trained and conducted surveys for desert tortoise and flat-tailed horned lizard, as well as focused surveys for rare plants, sensitive riparian bird species, burrowing owls and other sensitive raptors, and assisted with mammal trapping, insect inventories, and pitfall trapping.

Ms. Loeffler has been involved with the local chapter for almost 5 years, starting out as the membership chair and subsequently being appointed as the Interim President when the previous leadership stepped down. She looks forward to growing the local chapter and seeing the program expand to provide greater benefit to southern California wildlife biologists. Ms. Loeffler resides in La Mesa, California with her son Garrett.


Secretary: Susanne Marczak

Susanne Marczak is a Senior Research Associate in the Applied Animal Ecology Division of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, where she currently coordinates burrowing owl habitat and grassland research in San Diego County. She is interested in integrating research on animal behavior and habitat usage to help inform conservation and management decisions for native species within an evolutionary and ecosystem context. While obtaining her undergraduate degrees in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution (BS), and Economics (BA) from UCLA, Susanne conducted bioacoustics research on tropical frogs species in Central America, investigating the influence of neighbor proximity and anthropogenic noise on frog calls. Prior to joining the Institute in 2009, Susanne worked for the United States Geological Survey examining movement patterns and habitat associations of giant garter snakes in the California Central Valley, and assisted with collection inventory at the San Diego Natural History Museum Herpetology Department. Susanne credits her career in wildlife studies to her participation in a field biology course at UCLA, and seeks to encourage the next generation of biologists to experience conducting research outdoors.


Treasurer: Savannah Perez

Savannah Perez is a Research Assistant in the Applied Animal Ecology Division of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and currently works in the burrowing owl program. She is involved in assisting with burrowing owl field observations, trapping, genetic collection, banding, and translocation. Her research interests involve behavioral ecology, avian migration, and parasitology.  Savannah earned a bachelor’s degree in Zoology from University of California Santa Barbara, where she studied animal movement in proximity to human activity with camera trapping at Coal Oil Point Reserve. She has previously worked with hummingbirds in Costa Rica, raccoon roundworm in Santa Barbara County, and woolly monkeys in Ecuador. Savannah was a member of The Wildlife Society in college, and continues to learn about wildlife in Southern California through this chapter. She first realized her love for wildlife when she went on a year-long road trip as a child to National Parks around the United States.


Chapter Representative to TWS Western Section: Jeffrey L. Lincer, Ph.D.

Dr. Lincer is the Executive Director of Researchers Implementing Conservation Action (RICA, a non-profit) and Principal of Lincer and Associates, LLC, a woman-owned environmental consulting firm. He has a strong history of scientific involvement and environmental policy. Over the last four decades, he has worked on major projects from Alaska to Africa, addressing ecological monitoring, environmental impacts, ecotoxicology, endangered species, wetland structure and function, estuarine ecology, coastal zone management and habitat protection and acquisition. He, currently, holds Adjunct Scientist positions with the San Diego Zoo (Institute for Conservation Research), San Diego Museum of Natural History (Department of Birds and Mammals), and Mote Marine Laboratory; has produced over 100 scientific publications and papers; authored dozens of consultant reports; and served as advisor to high-level governmental offices aa well as national/international conservation programs. He is most well-known for his work with raptors and many threatened and endangered wildlife species. He was the founding Director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Raptor Information Center (Washington, D.C.) and has been involved in the leadership of The Wildlife Society and the international Raptor Research Foundation for many years; serving as RRF’s President from l982 to l988. He remains active and is Chair of the Leslie Brown Award Committee, which funds African raptor research. Jeff resides in San Diego with his wife, Judie, a Naturalist Educator, and has been involved in environmental research, education and consulting in Southern California since 1991. He is also a past president of the Chapter.


Member at Large: Lisa Fields

Lisa Fields has worked as an ecologist for California State Parks since 1998. She is currently based in San Diego at the Southern Service Center, which takes her to parks extending from the Mexican border to central California. She has also worked in California State Parks throughout the Sierra Nevada. Her passion is raptor management, particularly her research with the Osprey at Mono Lake – a piscivorous bird on a fishless lake.


Student Affairs Liaison: Collen Wisinski

Colleen Wisinski is a Research Coordinator in the Applied Animal Ecology Division of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, where she has worked with golden eagles and cactus wrens and is currently the field team leader on the burrowing owl project. Colleen earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay, and her master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University in Bozeman, where she examined survival and habitat use of greater sage grouse in southwestern Montana. She is interested in conservation biology, population dynamics, and habitat use of birds. Before coming to the Zoo, Colleen worked as a wildlife rehabilitator where she trained several raptors for educational purposes, and as a whooping crane tracker where she used radio and satellite telemetry to monitor a reintroduced population of whooping cranes. She has been a member of The Wildlife Society since college and has presented her work at a number of conferences over the years. Colleen loves that she gets to work outdoors and be creative to figure out how to answer research questions in the field. Her love for animals and nature grew from her time spent outdoors in the North Woods of Wisconsin.