President: John Nickerson
John has a rich and diverse background that has focused on natural resources, ecosystem services, and community development. He has been influential in the development of the technical and policy elements in making forest carbon a real asset for forest owners. Employed by the Climate Action Reserve, John continues to support the domestic protocol while working with a stakeholder group in Mexico to develop a forest carbon protocol for forest projects in Mexico. John is also leading the Reserve’s revision of the urban forest protocol. In addition, he has participated in task forces focused on furthering forest carbon markets with the Governor’s Climate and Forest Task Force in Brazil and with the German Technical Assistance in China.
Graduate Student, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
New Haven, Connecticut
Logan McCoy is a joint master’s degree candidate in EnvironmentalManagement and Business Administration at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Yale School o
f Management. His studies focus on sustainability metrics, supply chains, and stakeholder engagement. Logan has worked with a diverse range of organizations across sectors including Patagonia, New Belgium Brewing Company, 1% for the Planet and the US Forest Service. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara.
Treasurer: Martha Davis
Executive Manager for Policy Development, Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA)
As Executive Manager for Policy Development at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, a municipal water district serving 830,000 people in the western portion of San Bernardino County, since 2000, Ms. Davis has led many of the Agency’s award-winning conservation, planning, and green programs including initiatives promoting water conservation, renewable energy, storm-water capture, and recycled water.
Ms. Davis graduated from Stanford University cum laude with a degree in human biology and received her master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is the recipient of an honorary PhD in Public Policy from the Kennedy College in Oakland, California. She currently serves on the boards of Mono Lake Committee, Water Reuse Association of California, the Biogas Association of California and Earth Island Institute, where she serves as President of the Board.
Secretary: Gerry Gray
Living in Washington D. C., Dr. Gray serves as a consultant with NGOs and public agencies on forest policy issues and community forestry. He holds a Ph.D. in Resource Economics and brings a wealth of information to the Sierra Institute in exploring innovative national policies.
Suzanne Plopper, resident of Lake Almanor, comes to us with a background in public health training, program design and evaluation, along with non-profit experience. She has spent most of her career as a consultant in reproductive health in Africa. Currently she is a CASA Advocate and volunteers for the American Red Cross. She is on the board of Friends of Burkina Faso, where she serves as treasurer and project manager for a girls’ education project in Burkina Faso. A graduate of UC-Davis, and the University of Hawaii, Suzanne holds a Masters in Public Health.
Mr. Collins is a fourth generation family member of the Collins Pine Company, the first privately owned forest products company to be independently certified by the Forest Stewardship
Council. Collins Pine has 90,000 acres of sustainable managed timberland and a state-of-the-art sawmill in Plumas County.
Cooperative Extension Specialist, Emeritus, UC-Berkeley
Having worked with the UC-Berkeley Environmental Science, Policy, and Management Department’s Cooperative Extension Forestry program, Gary Nakamura, now retired, brings his expertise in policy and the environment to Sierra Institute. “I will make the case that a sustainable forest landscape must be considered and defined at a number of geographic and temporal scales, given the dynamic nature of forests and the effects of human and natural disturbances.”
Hydrologist – Aquatic Ecologist
Mr. Roby IS A long time resident of Indian Valley. An aquatic ecologist recently retired from a long career with the US Forest Service, he currently works as a consultant on watershed and aquatic resource management issues.
Associate Professor, UCD
Dr. Beth Rose Middleton Manning is a faculty member in the Dept. of Native American Studies at UC Davis and currently holds the Yocha Dehe Endowed Chair in California Indian Studies. Her research centers on creative applications of environmental law and policy to support Native-led conservation and site protection. Her broader research interests include intergenerational trauma and healing, rural environmental justice, and Indigenous analyses of and responses to climate change. Beth Rose received a BA in Nature and Culture from UC Davis, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley. She has written two books: Trust in the Land: New Directions in Tribal Conservation (University of Arizona Press 2011), on Native applications of conservation easements, and Upstream (forthcoming 2018), on the history of Indian allotment lands at the headwaters of the California State Water Project. Beth Rose is passionate about increasing under-represented perspectives, especially indigenous perspectives, in environmental policy and planning. Beth Rose has worked with Sierra Institute on studies supporting rural economic development and rural environmental justice.
Associate at Beveridge and Diamond
With a background in engineering and law, Zaheer brings a creative a new perspective the the Sierra Institute. Zaheer received a BS in Civil Engineering from Cornell University, a Masters in Environmental Management from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and most recently a Juris Doctor and Certificate in Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law.
Currently a veterinarian at the Indian Creek Veterinary Clinic. Suzie holds an Associates Degree from Feather River College, a B.S. from Humbolt State University and a DMV from University of California Davis.
Founder and Executive Director
Jonathan Kusel is the founder and executive director of Sierra Institute for Community and Environment. He received a Ph.D. in natural resource sociology and policy from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a visiting scholar and instructor before launching the Sierra Institute. Jonathan’s research focuses on social indicator use and evaluation, community well-being and assessment, and community-based group processes.