Our Administrative Staff
Clark Stevens, Executive Officer & Architect
Clark is a teacher, conservationist, and architect specializing in design for culturally and ecologically critical places. Ecological restoration to create recreational, educational, economic and spiritual value is at the core of his design practice. He is the architect of the recently completed Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project and the recently released Liberty Canyon Wildlife Overpass, which will be the largest of its kind in the world. In addition to leading his architectural and land planning practice, New West Land Company, Inc., Clark serves as Executive Officer of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. A lifelong naturalist, Clark serves on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission Board of Governors, is an instructor for and “Friend” of the Arid Lands Institute, a past advisory board member of Montana Audubon and a Life Member of Trout Unlimited.
Kristen Lorenzen, Administrative Assistant
Kristen joined the RCD in July 2021. She was born and raised in Southern California. She spends her free time hiking and enjoying the outdoors with her family. Kristen is excited to utilize her administrative skills working in an environment that promotes education and conservation.
John Hendra, Finance & Operations Officer
John Hendra started with the RCD as a Naturalist in Fall 2004, and moved into the office in November 2005. He handles the District’s financial, human resources, and office maintenance duties, and acts as Secretary for the Board of Directors. His goals are to update and streamline the District’s accounting procedures, improve employee benefits, create better organizational communication, and raise the District’s visibility within the community. Mr. Hendra holds B.A.s in English from UCLA and Environmental Biology from CSUN. He has experience editing a newspaper in Charlottesville, Virginia, managing the office of an academic research unit, coordinating events for the UCLA Alumni Association, and teaching high school science and English. Mr. Hendra is a native southern Californian, as is his wife Mary, both of whom have a deep concern for the region’s wildlife and environment.
Our Education Staff
Marilyn Brody French, Education Coordinator
Marilyn Brody French joined the RCD in 2020 as a Conservation Biologist, and in 2021 decided to further serve the RCD’s mission by taking on the role of Education Coordinator.
She began youth program development in 2017 while simultaneously achieving a masters from Cornell University in Conservation and Community Development, bringing real-world perspectives on earth stewardship and sustainability to youth programs. Throughout her 10 years of conservation research, her passion has always centered on sharing with young hearts the wonder of nature.
“Through my experience, I’ve learned that children, with their extraordinary curiosity, are the natural adventurers and scientists of our world and therefore the solutionists of our future. The RCD’s unique ability to weave local research into environmental education encourages kids to be just that – solutionists and caretakers of our land. And that’s why I’ve chosen to be here.”
Jelly Kahler, Education & Communications Specialist
Angelica Kahler (pronouns: she, her, hers), better known as Jelly around the office, is the RCD’s Education and Communications Specialist. Jelly started with the RCD in October of 2018 as a Watershed Stewards Program (or WSP) Member. She graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA in 2016 with Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology. As the Education and Communications Specialist, Jelly will lead environmental education field programs as well as classroom science programs, develop education and outreach materials, expand upon current education programs and develop new opportunities for environmental education, develop and coordinate community-based science programs, and coordinate RCD outreach through social media, newsletters, blog posts, virtual fundraising campaigns and annual reports. Jelly will also be charged with coordinating volunteer events.
Claire Sanders, Environmental Educator
While earning her Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies, Claire studied climate change and its impacts on coastal ecosystems. She began to focus deeply on environmental anthropology, and examine the relationships between humans and their environments. While working with the RCDSMM, Claire is excited to blend research/monitoring projects and environmental education– two avenues of conservation she is extremely passionate about. Claire is most looking forward to bridging research, monitoring, and education to protect and restore the Santa Monica Mountains and to enhance California waterways.
Our Research & Restoration Staff
Rosi Dagit, Senior Conservation Biologist
Rosi has been working at the RCDSMM since she moved to Los Angeles in 1987. She has initiated and coordinated numerous research, restoration and monitoring projects throughout the Santa Monica Mountains, starting with studies of Malibu Lagoon, Leo Carrillo State Beach and moving inland to watershed level analysis and sensitive species monitoring. She has published numerous technical papers, as well as a children’s book, Grandmother Oak. Currently Rosi serves as a member of the Los Angeles County Environmental Review Board and leader of the Topanga Creek Stream Team and is a certified Arborist. Rosi is also a member of the Los Angeles County Beach Commission, technical advisor for the CA Oak Foundation and former member of the City of Malibu Environmental Review Board.
Daniel S. Cooper, Ph.D, Senior Conservation Biologist
Dan is a lifelong resident of southern California, and is regarded as an expert on the birds and natural history in southern California. Through research and independent consulting, he has spent more than 20 years conducting surveys and drafting reports in the region, and co-authored a landmark conservation analysis for the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone for L.A. Co. Department of Regional Planning in 2014. Prior to being an independent consultant, Dan was the Conservation Director for Audubon California in the early 2000s, where he helped develop the Audubon Center at Debs Park, and wrote Important Bird Areas of California. Dan has published several dozen peer-reviewed papers on biodiversity patterns and local plant and wildlife species, and was named a Research Associate in the Department of Ornithology at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum in 2020. Since 2012, he and his family have made their home in Oak Park.
Jamie King, Conservation Biologist
Jamie joins the RCDSMM with over 20 years of professional experience in resource conservation, restoration, environmental planning, and land management in Southern California. Jamie enjoys working with public, private and non-profit partners to problem solve local environmental issues and facilitate community involvement. She recently had the pleasure of supporting such projects as the Malibu Lagoon restoration, removal of barriers to steelhead migration along Arroyo Sequit Creek and planning for the removal of Rindge Dam, among others. Her favorite days are spent tromping along local creeks surveying for special-status species and reconnecting to the land.
Akosa Ibekwe, Watershed Stewards Program Member
Akosa Ibekwe joins the RCD from the California Conservation Corps’ Los Padres center, where he worked on different projects including conducting fish passage barrier assessments, native plant propagation, and setting up a trail camp in Big Sur. He is very excited to blend his interests and continue to follow his curiosities while serving with the RCD. He will get involved with research and monitoring and educational programs, and while sharing his love of nature with the diverse communities in and around the Santa Monica Mountains, he will learn about what it means to build community resilience.
Steve Williams, Conservation Biologist
Since joining the RCDSMM staff in 2001, Steve has assisted on numerous projects, including monitoring southern steelhead trout populations, habitat mapping surveys, water quality sampling, biological monitoring, amphibian monitoring, and turtle trapping. He served as Project Manager for a major fish passage restoration project in Solstice Creek, and is the RCDSMM’s native vegetation guru. Prior to coming to the RCD, Steve worked for the National Park Services as a Biological Science Technician on the Channel Islands National Park and as a Park Ranger at Paramount Ranch. Currently Steve splits his time between the RCDSMM, Selva International, and Surfrider Foundation.
Our Community Resilience Staff
Antoine Kunsch, Community Resilience Coordinator
Antoine started with the RCDSMM in February 2019. He is a Doctoral Candidate in Environmental Science and Engineering at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Before UCLA, Antoine worked as a Sustainability Manager for private organizations in France and in the U.S. focusing on sustainable sourcing and carbon footprint of the supply chain. In 2018 as a graduate researcher at the UCLA Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department, he researched the impact of heatwaves on the water and carbon flux of three native plants (coast live oak, laurel sumac, toyon). His mission with the RCDSMM is to provide guidance for sustainable defensible space landscaping in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and southern California in an effort to increase wildfire resilience in the wildland-urban interface by improving homeowner management of their defensible space zone.
Pauline Allen, GrizzlyCorps Fellow
Pauline joins the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains as their first GrizzlyCorps Fellow, an Americorps program dedicated to increasing wildfire resilience and regenerative agriculture. She has a background in education, having worked for her family’s solar education nonprofit, The Rahus Institute in Northern California and taught preschool in Oregon. Pauline holds a B.S. in ecology from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and a certificate of fine art from Rønnongen Folkehøgskole in Oslo, Norway. She plans to combine her skills in ecology, education, and art to work in science communication and social justice. Pauline is concerned about the inequalities of climate change and disaster response/preparedness. At RCDSMM she’ll be working on community resiliency and helping people in the wildland-urban interface prepare their homes for wildfire. In her free time Pauline likes to bike, hike, and play music in community street bands.
To reach a staff member, dial 818-597-8627 plus the extension below.
|Staff Member||Position||Extension||Email address|
|Clark Stevens||Executive Officer||x 105||Send an email to Clark|
|John Hendra||Finance & Operations Officer||x 102||Send an email to John|
|Kristen Lorenzen||Administrative Assistant||x 101||Send an email to Kristen|
|Marilyn Brody French||Education Coordinator||x 103||Send an email to Marilyn|
|Jelly Kahler||Education & Communications Specialist||x 103||Send an email to Jelly|
|Antoine Kunsch||Community Resilience Coordinator||x 101||Send an email to Antoine|
|Rosi Dagit||Senior Conservation Biologist||x 106||Send an email to Rosi|