Staff

Susannah Ferson

Division Director (707) 269-2058 sferson@rcaa.org

Susannah has 20 years of experience working in aquatic and terrestrial biology in Humboldt County. Her experience includes watershed and fisheries habitat restoration, eelgrass/estuarine ecological research, endangered species monitoring and habitat conservation, and invasive species research and removal. Susannah has collaborated extensively with a variety of agencies and landowners – including federal, state, county and tribal governments – to design and implement diverse research and restoration projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. She has particular interest in estuarine ecology research, climate change adaptability, and habitat restoration. She currently serves as the president of the Board of Directors for Friends of the Dunes and chairs the Humboldt Weed Management Area and the Humboldt County Regional Spartina Eradication Program working group, and participates in the Humboldt Bay Initiative work group. Susannah has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and a M.S. in Natural Resource Management.

Denise Newman

Projects Coordinator (707) 269-2060 dnewman@rcaa.org

Denise has been planning, developing and implementing natural resource interpretation and environmental education projects since 2002. Her interpretive signage projects include Humboldt County's Hammond Coastal Trail, BLM's Falk Headwaters Trail, City of Eureka's Hikshari' Trail, PALCO Marsh Trail and Sequoia Park Zoo Watershed Heroes Exhibit, Northcoast Regional Land Trust's Freshwater Farms Nature Trail and the most recent sections of the City of Eureka's Waterfront Trail. As an environmental educator, she develops grant-funded projects to bring watershed education into K-12 classrooms; from stormwater-focused 'Adopt a Storm Drain' cleanups to sea level rise climate science. She is currently working as an Environmental Literacy coach with the Humboldt County Office of Education and leading interpretive waterfront bike tours with youth groups through her 'Bikes on the Bay' project. Denise has a M.S. in Natural Resources Interpretation and Planning from Humboldt State University and works extensively with educators, environmental scientists, biologists and historians to deliver the most relevant and accurate natural and cultural stories of our area.

Natalie Arroyo

Projects Coordinator (707) 269-2059 narroyo@rcaa.org

Natalie has been working on public health promotion, environmental health, community outreach, fisheries restoration and planning projects since 2005. She has led and supported projects in both the Active Living and Watershed programs of NRS, including multiple trail planning projects, North Coast Stormwater Coalition’s Non-Point Source Pollution Prevention Program, the Eureka Street Trees program, Loleta and Samoa Peninsula Community-building Initiatives, Mad River Watershed Management Plan, and many more. Natalie is particularly interested in projects that involve community engagement as well as a connection between habitat enhancement and healthy human communities. She is a graduate of the Cascadia Leadership Training program. She has many other community roles in public service which are an extension of her desire to create positive changes on the north coast.  Natalie is also completing her M.S. in Environmental Science and Management at Humboldt State University. 

Chris Lohoefener

Projects Coordinator (707) 269-2062 ChrisL@rcaa.org

Chris graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt with a degree in Natural Resources Planning & Interpretation. He focuses on programs that support equitable community development, with particular interest toward safe and affordable transportation options, food sovereignty, and building healthy and sustainable relationships between communities and their natural surroundings. He previously managed projects such as the Humboldt Bay Water Trails Program, the North Coast Community Garden Collaborative, Eureka Street Tree Program, and has designed interpretive materials for local jurisdictions, CA State Parks, Bureau of Land Management, among others. Chris was also a team member on numerous local trail planning/implementation projects such as the Hammond Trail, Annie & Mary Trail, and Bay Trail, as well as many bike/pedestrian feasibility studies and regional transportation plans. He is currently managing the Peninsula Beautification Project, outreach efforts in Humboldt County for the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan, and the Eureka Community Bike Kitchen.

Kristin Schmidt

Projects Coordinator (707) 269-3057 kschmidt@rcaa.org

Kristin joined the Watershed Management staff at RCAA in spring of 2022. She has worked as a professional wildlife biologist her entire career, first with the US Forest Service and later the National Park Service.  She has a background in endangered species management and compliance and wildlife management and has actively participated in interdisciplinary work in watershed rehabilitation, forest restoration, fish habitat restoration and invasive plant management.  Kristin has spent many seasons working and recreating in our local mountains and coastal areas and is interested in projects that improve fish and wildlife habitats. She has a B.A. in Zoology from Humboldt State University and a M.S. in Environmental Biology. 

Carol Vander Meer

Projects Coordinator (707) 269-2068 cvandermeer@rcaa.org

Carol has more than 25 years of experience working in natural resource conservation, environmental education, community outreach and nonprofit management. She served as the Executive Director of Friends of the Dunes from 1996-2015, where she helped develop the Bay to Dunes School Education Program and the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. As a consultant, Carol taught Introduction to Grant Writing, facilitated strategic planning for several local nonprofits and played a lead role in developing the Humboldt Bay Trail Fund. Carol has B.A. and M.S in Biology and is a graduate of the Cascadia Leadership Training program.

Candace Reynolds

Planner II (707) 834-1141 creynolds@rcaa.org

Over the last 21 years that Candace has lived in Humboldt, she’s built a relationship with both the natural world and the community here and feels a personal responsibility to conserving our natural resources. She worked as a Natural Resources Specialist in the local community for several years on management projects for the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, specializing in invasive plant removal and endangered species monitoring on the Lanphere and Ma-le’l Dunes, while building her leadership skills as a field coordinator. From 2015-2020 she was also a lead researcher for the Humboldt Coastal Resilience Project, a region-wide collaborative project addressing coastal resiliency and adaptation strategies to rising sea levels. Currently, Candace is most interested in ecological restoration and climate change adaptation and developing projects to benefit the RCAA team and community. In addition to her project management duties, Candace also manages the Restoration Field Crew. Candace has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology and is currently pursuing a Masters in GIS through Penn State University.

Matt Drummond

Planner II (707) 269-2071 mdrummond@rcaa.org

Matt graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fisheries Biology. He pursued work in the fisheries field, surveying steams and rivers throughout California. Just recently he switched gears towards a career focused on community health. He started his work in the community as a Nutrition Education Coordinator for Food for People, promoting CalFresh and healthy eating county-wide. Matt now helps others gain the skills they need to start their own gardens. He is also the Coordinator of the North Coast Community Garden Collaborative (NCCGC), a network of community gardeners that work together to plan events, start new garden, and improve existing gardens. 

 

Emily Allee

Planner II (707) 269-2065 eallee@rcaa.org

Emily joined the Watershed Management team at NRS in the Fall of 2022. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection from Cal Poly Humboldt, and a M.S. in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California. Her recent work experience includes natural resource management, environmental education and outreach, and estuary-based ecological restoration. Emily is glad to be supporting salmonid habitat restoration and invasive species removal projects at RCAA, and is exploring projects in habitat creation and food sovereignty through kelp forest restoration.

Alysia Bixler

Planning Specialist II (707) 269-3055 abixler@rcaa.org

Alysia grew up on the Central Coast of California, where she developed a deep connection with the land and coastal communities. She has worked on multiple organic vegetable farms from Briceland in Southern Humboldt to Long Island, New York. Alysia co-owned and managed Green Oaks Creek Farm in the Santa Cruz mountains until the 2020 CZU Lightening Complex fires. After spending a year working on the Restoration Field Crew at RCAA, she joined the NRS Active Living team in the Summer of 2022. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B. A in Environmental Studies holds an M.S. in Conservation and Land Management from Bangor University in Wales and a Master of Forestry from the University of British Columbia.