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Our Talented Team


Financial Manager & Youth Recreation Coordinator

For the past 30 years, Amy has led outdoor education and leadership training trips throughout the U.S., including the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. At the Sierra Institute, she co-coordinates the summer P-CREW internship program and was instrumental in the development of the Greenville Outdoor Adventure Learning and Friday Night for Teens programs. In addition to the diverse experience in outdoor leadership programming Amy brings to our youth programs, she has also served as the financial manager for the organization since 1998. In her spare time, you can find Amy hiking with her dogs, working diligently in her garden, and serving as the community mom to the youth of Indian Valley. Email Amy

Amy Stephens


P-CREW Assistant Coordinator

Amy joined the Sierra Institute for the 2019 P-CREW season as the Assistant Coordinator. She graduated from Northern Michigan University with degrees in Environmental Studies, Sustainability, and Spanish. Amy served three summers working on trails and performing data collection in the Kootenai National Forest in Montana, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan, which imparted to her a comprehensive and dynamic background in conservation and land management. In her free time Amy enjoys mountain biking, hiking, painting, and exploring her new home in Indian Valley. Email Amy



P-CREW Manager

Ashley manages Plumas Conservation Restoration and Education in Watersheds (P-CREW), bringing rural and urban youth together to perform landscape restoration projects in the northern Sierra. She has a B.S. in Agronomy (Soil Science and Environmental Quality) and a minor in Geology from Iowa State University. She came to California in 2011 to join a conservation corps and immediately fell in love with the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the corps life. She’s thrilled to be in a position that helps youth from a variety of backgrounds have a positive experience living and working in the mountains while connecting with nature. Ashley is also an Indian Valley Parks and Recreation District Board member locally and helps coach the local 5th/6th grade soccer team. Email Ashley

Austin Schuver Photo


Natural Resource Social Science Apprentice

Since January, Austin has helped the Sierra Institute improve rural water systems, secure local forestry jobs, and build resilient forests and small town economies. He earned his B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and will pursue a master’s degree in natural resources management this fall. Austin’s experience from Maine includes water quality monitoring, seabird research, and community engagement for a small land trust. If you see him in the wild, he’s probably crouching uncomfortably behind his camera or staring at a faraway bird. Be sure to say hello. Email Austin.



Stewardship Project Coordinator

Danielle began working for the Sierra Institute in 2019 as the Stewardship Project Coordinator and is involved in both the collaborative forest stewardship and wood utilization initiatives. Prior to this, she served as the Sierra Institutes' Collaborative Landscape Stewardship Apprentice. She recieved a B.S. in Biology from CSU Bakersfield and an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Management from UC Davis. Born and raised in the southern San Joaquin Valley, she spent her free time in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks where she revered the studies of John Muir and developed a passion for the outdoors. Throughout her time working within private, public, and NGOs sectors, Danielle has acquired a range of experiences and has come to recognize the importance of interdisciplinary communication in the implementation and effectiveness of environmental stewardship. As an advocate for the conservation of natural resources, she is interested in the application of environmental science to real-world environmental policy and management issues. When Danielle is not working you will likely find her partaking in the many adventures the Sierras have to offer. Email Danielle.



Watershed Coordinator

Dov began working for the Sierra Institute as the Watershed Coordinator and works to support and broaden the network of collaborative groups committed to forest and watershed management and rural development in the Sierra Nevada. He arrives with diverse experience in collaborative processes and community engagement that includes researching watershed governance issues with the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy and serving as a coastal resource management Peace Corps volunteer for three years in the Philippines. Dov earned a MS in Environmental Justice and a graduate certificate in Natural Resources Conflict Resolution from the University of Montana. When he’s out of the office, Dov enjoys photography, creative writing, and trail running. Email Dov



Rural Communities Development Specialist
Drew joined the Sierra Institute in 2019 and assists with the organization’s collaborative forest management and socioeconomic monitoring projects. Drew received his BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Management from the University of Tennessee, followed by his MS in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri. Drew’s experiences range from working with rabid raccoons and protecting tropical birds from poaching to building hiking trails and interviewing residents in Missouri and abroad about urban green space design. He hails from the Tennessee Appalachians and is happy to be in some mountains once again. When not at work, Drew can be found attempting to fish, enjoying a tasty beer, trying out a new board game, biking Indian Valley, or enjoying a good story.  Email Drew.


Rural Community Development Project Specialist

Hilary works in the Rural Community Development program at Sierra Institute, conducting socioeconomic monitoring to assess forest collaborative impacts on local communities and supporting the development of small-scale biomass utilization facilities across the Sierras. She earned her BS in Development Sociology with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences in 2018 from Cornell University, where she developed an interest in sustainable natural resource management and environmental justice. Her work at the Sierra Institute has taken her to many different rural communities in California, and she loves getting to know the communities and the people advancing important forest restoration work across the state. Outside of the office, Hilary enjoys hiking, baking, and teaching ballet at the local dance studio. Email Hilary

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Executive Director

Jonathan founded the Sierra Institute in 1993 and has directed the organization ever since. He received a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Sociology and Policy from U.C. Berkeley, where he was an instructor before launching Sierra Institute. His dissertation focused on how rural northern Sierra communities changed following the departure of their wood products anchor businesses. This work, at the intersection of community and forest and watershed health formed the basis for the Sierra Institute’s mission and approach. He also holds a Masters in Forest Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Jonathan lives in Indian Valley with his wife, Amy, and two dogs, Dobby and Sadie. In the rare occasion that he’s not working to promote rural well-being or advance opportunities for his organization, you can find him hiking around the valley or coaching the varsity boys basketball team at Greenville High School. Email Jonathan



Financial Assistance

Kristie joined the Sierra Institute in October 2019 to assist our Financial Manager Amy Hafsrud. Kristie grew up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in our neighboring town of Quincy, CA. She spent 10 years in upstate New York, in the Adirondack Mountains but returned to the area in 2010. Kristie has a variety of work experience in Billing, State and Federal Program Case Management and Human Services. When not at work she enjoys spending time with her boys and enjoying the abundant outdoor activities provided in Plumas County, including kayaking on the local lakes and rivers. Email Kristie



Collaborative Forestry Program Manager

At Sierra Institute, Kyle manages our work with a growing network of collaborative groups working on forest management issues across California, and rural development efforts focused on rebuilding capacity in forest communities across California. Kyle brings a diverse background to this work that includes surveying hemlock trees and monitoring bog turtles on the Blue Ridge Parkway, studying human dimensions of endangered species conservation planning across the Southeast, and prior work at the Sierra Institute on a range of projects from watershed coordination to youth programming. When he isn’t at the office, you might find him coaching youth soccer or hiking with his wife and dog. Kyle holds a BS in Conservation Biology from Clemson University and a MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of Tennessee. Email Kyle



Aquatic Resource Technician

As a part of a partnership between the Sierra Institute and Trout Unlimited, Laurel is coordinating a project assessing an invasive aquatic pathogen and conducting surveys to improve fish passage in the Feather River Basin. She is originally from Maine and has a BSc in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine in Orono. She later earned an MSc in Biology from the University of Saskatchewan where she studied fish parasites. Laurel is happiest whenever she is outdoors and loves hiking, biking, and canoeing. This is her first visit to California, and she is enjoying exploring the Sierras and living in Indian Valley. Email Laurel



Collaborative Forestry Management Apprentice

Mila comes to the Sierra Institute with over a decade of diverse conservation experience spanning from island restoration in Alaska to nature preserve management in Colorado. At the Sierra Institute, she works to promote forestry restoration efforts within the South Lassen Watershed Group project boundary. Mila graduated with a BS in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University and attained a Masters in Environmental Management from Western Colorado University. When she’s not in the office, Mila can be found recreating in the incredible landscape of the Northern Sierra Nevada, often accompanied by her dog. She is also an avid cook and loves making meals to share with family and friends.Email Mila.



Director of Development

Moorea began her non-profit career at age nine stuffing envelopes after school at a nearby university office of advancement.   A frequent volunteer at UC California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography during high-school, she has always had a passion for maintaining the well-being of Earth's environment.  While completing her BA at Scripps College, she worked in the development and alumni office, taught literature and composition to disadvantaged high-school students, and during her Junior year abroad in France, volunteered at an elder care community.   While living in San Clemente, Moorea worked in the development office at Casa Romantica, a community cultural center and children’s education garden.  In 2002 she founded a business in kitchen design before moving to Indian Valley, in 2015.  Moorea is excited to pursue her passion for holistic approaches to community, economic, and environmental health by joining the team at the Sierra Institute.. Email Moorea



Office Administrator and Communications Specialist

Nina joined the Sierra Institute in the fall of 2019 as the Office Administrator and Communications Specialist. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in International Agricultural Development with an emphasis in community development and digital media. Additionally, she has a certificate in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership. Her varied experience working in marketing and media, program planning, and the outdoor industry gives her a well balanced approach to supporting the goals of Sierra Institute. As a Plumas County local, Nina is happy to be working in what she believes- is one of the most beautiful valleys in the high sierra and supporting the conservation and preservation of the places she loves. When she’s not in the office you will find her on the river, cruising the valley on a bike, or obsessing over her cat Juniper. Email Nina

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Resource Specialist

Noah joined Sierra Institute in 2019 as a resource specialist to help analyze the potential hydrologic effects of forest restoration projects proposed by the South Lassen Watersheds Group (SLWG). Noah received a B.S. in Geology from CSU Chico and an M.S. in Geology from the University of Nevada, Reno where he focused on studying surficial processes and geomorphology. Noah has a diverse background that includes experience as a geologist, hydrologist, and forester and has been involved with many aspects of natural resource management. When he’s not working, Noah enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, and fly fishing throughout the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades. Email Noah



Resource Specialist

Renee joined the Sierra Institute in 2019 as a Resource Specialist where she focuses on analyzing the effects of forest restoration projects on wildlife. She previously attained an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Northern Arizona University; she also holds a Parks and Recreation Management degree from Arizona State University and a degree in International Affairs from Marshall University. Renee has worked with federal land management agencies through her time with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and with nonprofits through a full-time internship she completed with a wildlife rehabilitation center in the Sonoran Desert. She has extensive experience with collaborative interdisciplinary efforts thanks to years spent working on a team of over one hundred researchers who endeavored to determine the viability of forestry projects across North and South America. Originally from the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia, Renee is excited to explore her new home in the Sierras. You can usually find her hiking, working on personal writing projects, or catering to her felines. Email Renee



Forest Biomass Utilization & Climate Change Program Coordinator

Sam joined the Sierra Institute in 2020 as the Forest Biomass Utilization & Climate Change Program Coordinator, working to support the development of a wood products campus in Indian Valley. She brings with her a commitment to rural community development spurred by her work promoting sustainable cashew production with the Peace Corps in Senegal. Recently, she delved into California forestry through her master’s project modeling cost-effective forest management for carbon storage, and through research on funding large-scale forest restoration with the Public Policy Institute of California. Sam holds a Master’s of Environmental Science & Management from UC Santa Barbara. Outside of the office, she likes to hike with other people’s dogs, read National Geographic, and do paddleboard yoga. Email Sam



Resource Specialist

Sophie works with a team of NEPA specialists at Sierra Institute to plan for forest restoration projects within the South Lassen Watershed Group project boundaries. She brings experience with natural resource management and restoration through prior work for federal agencies, including the Tongass National Forest and the BLM in New Mexico, and with an environmental consulting firm performing wetland restoration and invasive cordgrass control. She has a BA from UC Davis in International Relations: Global Health & Environment and minors in Environmental Policy and Spanish. Raised in the SF Bay Area, Sophie grew up exploring the Sierra. She spent the last two winters skiing in Japan and is excited about the local recreation opportunities. Email Sophie.

Zoe website


Rural Community Development Program Manager

Zoe joined the Sierra Institute in the Spring of 2020 as the Rural Community Development Program Manager. At the Sierra Institute, she works to improve rural water systems, secure rural forestry jobs, and support rural health and well-being. Zoe earned a BA in Political Science at UC Santa Barbara and an MS in Community Health at MSU Bozeman where she investigated the effect of climate change on food systems and women’s health in fishing communities in Arctic Greenland. She is
currently working toward a Ph.D. in Community Health from the OHSU/PSU School of Public
Health. Her research has focused on social and environmental drivers of health inequities. This
includes research on housing instability, food security, and air quality. Zoe grew up in the
southern Cascades and enjoys skiing, mountain biking, rafting, and kayaking throughout the
Cascades and the Sierras. Email Zoe

Board of Directors


Logan McCoy


Consultant, Environmental Resources Management (ERM)

Washington, DC


Gerry Gray

Vice President

Forest Policy Consultant for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, & State Lands

Salt Lake City, UT


John Nickerson


Climate Action Reserve

Ukiah, California


Martha Davis


Executive Manager for Policy Development, Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA)

Nicasio, CA


Robert Doty

Board Member

Partner at Cox, Castle & Nicholson, LLP

San Fransisco, CA

sheri elliot picture

Sheri Elliott

Board Member

Retired Budget Director for the US Forest Service, Washington Office.

Nevada City, CA


Ken Roby

Board Member

Hydrologist-Aquatic Ecologist

Greenville, CA


Suzanne Plopper

Board Member

Public Health

Almanor Basin, CA


Terry Collins

Board Member

Collins Pine Company

Chester, CA


Beth Rose Middleton

Board Member

Associate Professor, University of California, Davis

Davis, CA


Zaheer Tajani

Board Member

Associate at Beverage & Diamond

Washington, D.C.


Jonathan Kusel

Board Member

Executive Director

Taylorsville, CA