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



Sierra Institute Apprentice
Danielle joined the Sierra Institute as a Collaborative Landscape Stewardship Apprentice in fulfillment of her MS in Environmental Policy and Management at UC Davis. Born and raised in the southern San Joaquin Valley, she spent her free time in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park where she revered the studies of John Muir and developed a passion for the outdoors. Danielle received her BS in Biology and has acquired a range of experience from multiple facets of the environmental field. This experience includes everything from endangered species monitoring and forestry to environmental policy and compliance. Throughout her time working within private, public, and NGOs sectors she recognized the importance of interdisciplinary communication in the implementation and effectiveness of environmental stewardship. 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 and looks forward to being in the forefront of innovative natural resource management. Danielle is excited to dive back into the forestry realm and is looking forward to the many adventures the Sierras have to offer. Email Danielle.


Sierra Institute Apprentice
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.


Watershed Coordinator

Dov began his commitment to environmental stewardship at age ten returning bottles and cans to raise money for the local raptor rehabilitation center. He arrives at the Sierra Institute with diverse experience in collaborative processes and community engagement including researching watershed governance issues with the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy, directing a sustainable demonstration house, and three years of Peace Corps Service in the Philippines. Originally from Oregon, Dov received a MS in Environmental Justice and a graduate certificate in Natural Resources Conflict Resolution from the University of Montana. Though he is always planning his next creative writing project, he is happiest when moving on mountains. Email Dov

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Natural Resource Social Science Assistant

Hilary works on socioeconomic monitoring efforts and Sierra to California All-Lands Enhancement (SCALE). She graduated from Cornell University in 2018 with a BS in Development Sociology and a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she is thrilled to be back in California, and excited to expand her knowledge of forestry and watershed management and explore the Northern Sierra. 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



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



Fish Pathogen and Passage Fellow

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.



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

Nina joined the Sierra Institute in the fall of 2019 as the Office Administrator. 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 sierras 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



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.

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Social Scientist

Tracy manages a number of Sierra Institute initiatives working on community socioeconomic analysis
and (re)development efforts. These projects seek to simultaneously address pressing resource
management needs while benefiting economically marginalized rural communities. Tracy brings a
diverse set of skills and experiences to the Sierra Institute, having previously worked in ecological
restoration, the building trades, international wildlife conservation, and serving in Ethiopia as a Peace
Corps Volunteer with this wife. He has a master’s degree from Prescott College in Environmental Studies
and is currently finishing his PhD dissertation in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and
Management at the University of California, Berkeley. Email Tracy

Board of Directors


John Nickerson


Climate Action Reserve

Ukiah, California


Logan McCoy


Consultant, Environmental Resources Management (ERM)

Washington, DC


Martha Davis


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

Nicasio, CA


Gerry Gray


Forest Policy Consultant

Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, & State Lands

Salt Lake City, UT


Suzanne Plopper

Board Member

Public Health

Almanor Basin, CA


Terry Collins

Board Member

Collins Pine Company

Chester, CA


Ken Roby

Board Member

Hydrologist-Aquatic Ecologist

Greenville, 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