Sarah Vroom, Executive Director

Sarah Vroom first became involved with the MRC in 2017 as a member of our Board of Directors. As our new Executive Director, Sarah brings a unique mix of experience in and out of the field. For 8 years, she owned and managed an edible landscaping and permaculture design company with a specialization in home scale water management solutions. Sarah has taught community college classes on permaculture, soil health and water management, and has been a resident of the Mattole Valley for the last 5 years. Her field experience includes a wide variety of work ranging from fisheries technician to soil health consultant to fly fishing guide. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Mills College and is currently working on a Masters in Natural Resource Management with a specialization in fire ecology.

Nathan Queener, Watershed Information Science Program Director

Nathan has worked for the MRC since 2007, with a focus on the design and implementation of approaches to monitoring in-stream sediment conditions in the watershed, and analysis of trends in stream habitat conditions. He holds an MS in Watershed, Wildland, and Forest Science from Humboldt State University (2014). Nathan served as the Executive Director from 2018-2020, and has now returned to his prior position as program Director for our Watershed Information Science Program.

Ali Freedlund, Working Lands Human Communities Program Director

Ali has been working for the Council continuously since 1996, beginning as a watershed advocate where forestry was concerned. Currently, she coordinates the Working Lands and Human Communities program for the Council.  Most of the WLHC program projects in the past several years have been focusing on reducing the wildfire threat by implementing fuels reduction projects throughout the watershed with MRC’s many partners. She is also available to assist with information about the Mattole PTEIR, the watershed-wide permit for landowners wishing to do selection forestry.

Hugh McGee, Restoration Ecologist, Ecosystem Restoration Program Director

Hugh has spent the last 2 decades designing and implementing riparian, grasslands, in-stream and oak woodland restoration projects. Hugh joined the MRC in 2006. Prior to his time with the MRC, he worked for private ecological restoration firms, the National Park Service, and as a private consultant designing and implementing wetland and riparian restoration projects throughout the western United States. He holds a BS in Environmental Science (University of Vermont, 2002) with an emphasis on conservation biology and ecological restoration. He is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner and a CA licensed contractor.

Flora Brain, Field Institute and Watershed Newsletter Project Coordinator

Flora joined the MRC staff in 2007 to work primarily as grantwriter. Her prior work experience includes leading trail crews in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, conducting soil and veg surveys for a private conservation firm, working on a citizen science invasive weeds mapping program for the University of Montana’s Wilderness Institute, and as a naturalist at an environmental school. Flora has a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Montana School of Forestry and in 2010, she reduced her MRC workload in order to earn a Master’s degree in Environment and Community Social Science. Her Master’s research was focused on the place she loves best: the Mattole River watershed.

Christina Cortez, Native Plant Materials Project Coordinator

Christina is joining the MRC Ecosystem Restoration Program after having worked in restoration for the past 4 and a half years here in Humboldt. She has a background in cultivation and specializes in native plant propagation. She is a graduate of Humboldt State University, with a degree in Rangeland Resource Science and Wildland Soils, and a minor in Wildlife Management. In her spare time, she also enjoys knitting, building and riding bicycles, blacksmithing, and creating anything with her hands. Christina has been local to Humboldt County for 12 years and can often be found enjoying outdoor adventures with her four legged and two legged friends.

Jane Dexter, Invasive Plant & Revegetation Crew Leader, Nursery Assistant

Jane received a bachelor’s degree in Geology from Humboldt State University with a focus on hillslope morphology and watershed management. During which she began her love affair with the Mattole Valley. She conducted various studies of the wildly fascinating geology that comprises the mountains, valleys and beaches of the Mattole watershed. Since then she has also worked in solar design and sales for multiple start-ups. She has also worked in fields where she learned much of horticulture, and plant propagation. Jane is no stranger to the wonderful world of plants, but is new to native plant study and their propagation needs and is excited to learn!

Pamela Conn, Bookkeeper, Contract Manager

Pamela joined the MRC in 2007. She is a graduate from Humboldt State University and holds a BS in Wildlife with emphasis in Conservation Biology and Applied Vertebrate Ecology, and an MBA coupled with a certificate of study in natural resources policy & administration. Guilty of raptor rapture, Pam has participated in several research projects on birds of prey within northern CA. She is also an avid drag racer and dog lover.

Emily McDonald, Office Manager

Emily migrated to the Mattole Valley in 2011 after she graduated from Western Kentucky University with a BA in History. After getting settled she worked a wide variety of jobs in the valley, everything from helping with cattle brandings, years of administrative experience with various small businesses and co-operatives, and is a long time board member at the Mattole Valley Community Center. In her free time, Emily enjoys gardening, food preservation, hiking and swimming with her partner and 4 legged menagerie and tending to her chickens

Miles Kinman, Watershed Information Systems Technician

Miles graduated from Humboldt State University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in Geospatial Analysis. That June, he was hired as a seasonal employee by the MRC to update the Mattole Valley Volunteer Fire Atlas. In November of the same year he was then brought on as a Watershed Information Systems Technician. Prior to working for the MRC, he interned and worked for HSU’s Campus Center for Appropriate Technology.

Joseph Sandoval, Prescribed Fire & Forest Restoration Project Coordinator

Joseph first found his way to the Mattole Valley in 2005, where he was stationed at the Honeydew CDF fire station. In the subsequent years, his love for the ecology and community in the region led him to form a deep bond to the area and his love of the valley never left him. Joseph went on to spend 14 seasons as a firefighter/EMT for Cal Fire while being stationed all over Humboldt County. Throughout that time he built his knowledge base as a teacher & instructor as well as gaining other certifications related to his work outdoors. Joseph continues to work and volunteer in his community in several capacities, including the role of training officer, firefighter and wilderness EMT for the Petrolia Fire Department, as well as lab instructor in the EMT course at College of the Redwoods. Joseph serves as board co-president along with his duties as logistics/responder coordinator with JM medical services. Joseph currently holds the position of a Prescribed Fire & Forest Restoration Project Coordinator with the MRC and is leading up the prescribed fire training program at the Mattole Restoration Council.

Hollin DeProspero, Invasive Plant Crew Lead

Hollin deProspero lives on Prosper Ridge and likes to garden, burn piles, and hike with his dog Kiba.

Invasive Plant Crew
Currently working in the Humboldt Bay, the following staff members make up the Invasive Plant Crew:

from left to right: John Summers, Chandler Maskill, Mike Camilleri, Otter Anderson, Marty Maskill, Jillienne French, Miles Kinman (Not featured).

Sam Keener, Forest Restoration Crew Lead

Samuel Keener started working for the MRC Fuels Crew in 2019 on the Redwoods to the Sea Fuel Break project as a sawyer. A Northern California native, Sam grew up on the Van Duzen River in Hydesville, CA. Sam fell in love with the coast while Hiking in the NorCal mountains and surfing from Shelter Cove to Trinidad. Sam spent a couple of decades exploring and rambling all over from the West Coast to the East. In that time, he lived and worked in an isolated fire lookout in Southern Oregon and spent five years in New England learning timber frame construction. As it turns out, he prefers it here and resides in Honeydew, CA. We’re proud to call him our saw crew lead.

Forest Restoration Crew
Currently working in the Salmon Creek and Mattole Watershed, the following staff members make up the new forest restoration saw crew:

from left to right: Shira Brown, Sam Keener, Dave Liming, Wyatt Leach, Bill Leach, Miles Oliart, Liam McPhee, Sam Epperson, and Jordan Anderson.

Theresa Vallotton, Nick’s Interns Coordinator

In spring of 1977 Theresa and her husband, Ken, brought their two young children to live in the headwaters of the Mattole River. She was a teacher’s aide at Whitethorn School in the 1980’s, fostered teens in the 90’s, then hired by MRC in 2003 to be an upriver landowner liaison for the Good Roads Clear Creeks program. In 2006 Theresa became Nick’s Interns Program Coordinator working with participating agencies, schools, staff and students. “I love this job! It connects me with so many wonderful people and brings life changing experience to the students we hire.” Theresa remains the upriver contact for the Whitethorn Office.