Save Mount Diablo is staffed by a small, hard-working team who are passionate about conservation and the outdoors. Learn more about our board of directors, leadership, and staff below.
Ted has been studying and working in the conservation field for over 30 years. He was an environmental studies major at the University of Vermont, and later received his Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School where he focused on land conservation law. Early on, Ted worked for the Outward Bound School and then for the Peace Corps national park program in Thailand. Then for years he worked for the Vermont Land Trust, Aquidneck Land Trust in Rhode Island, and Hawaiian Islands Land Trust—the latter two which he served as an Executive Director for. He started work for Save Mount Diablo in November 2015. Ted is passionate about his family, time outdoors, and working with others to create lasting public good by protecting and connecting people to the land which sustains us.
Seth M. Adams is Land Conservation Director for Save Mount Diablo. In 1988 he was the East Bay organization’s first staff. He focuses on advanced policy, land use, and advocacy; government relations; acquisition projects; and educational and media programs. Among his accomplishments are participation in preservation of tens of thousands of acres; creation of Urban Limit Lines; aid in development of hundreds of millions of dollars of conservation funding; the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservation Plan and the Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Plan; new recreational trails such as the 30-mile Diablo Trail; and reintroduction of endangered peregrine falcons to Mt. Diablo. He has been involved in many political campaigns throughout Contra Costa County and the East Bay. An avid hiker and weight lifter, he is also an amateur historian. He attended Michigan State University and the University of California – Berkeley. He lives in Martinez, California.
Karen joined the staff in 2016 as an Assistant Development Director and was promoted in 2019 to Director of Annual Giving & Events. After several years as a law librarian, she left the legal publishing field to pursue her passion for nonprofit fundraising and the preservation of public spaces. Most recently, she worked as a fundraiser and board member at The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. She developed her love of our spectacular western parklands as a student at the University of Montana, where she received a Bachelor of Arts. She also holds a Masters in Library Science from St. John’s University. Karen maintains a diverse collection of cacti and succulents and lives with her husband in Danville. You can often find them hiking and biking in Mount Diablo State Park.
As Land Programs Director, Meredith leads our land department and loves SMD’s unique mix of resource conservation, advocacy, stewardship, land use planning, and community engagement. Her passion for preserving our wild places comes from a childhood spent exploring California stuffed in the backseat of the family Volvo station wagon with her brother and sister. As the Director of Policy and Stewardship for the San Francisco Parks Alliance and the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Parks Council, she spearheaded improvements to city park systems with the belief that everyone deserves access to clean, safe, and exciting parks within walking distance of home. Meredith holds a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation Biology from UC Davis and an M.A. in Environmental Business Relations from SF State.
Monica was hired in 2006. She currently provides leadership to the organization’s finance and administrative functions. She and her husband enjoy sharing their appreciation of nature and open space with their daughter through camping, fishing, and kayaking.
Marcia has been in the development profession serving animal protection and wildlife conservation issues for over 25 years. She has served in leadership development positions at Save the Bay; The Humane Society of the United States; The International Fund for Animal Welfare; and most recently, Born Free USA. Working closely with supporters on wildlife conservation issues continues to be a joy and a privilege for Marcia. She holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She enjoys gardening, hiking, reading, and travel, and recently fulfilled her travel destination dream – Africa – where she went on a wildlife safari in Kenya and mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda.
A seasoned Marketing & Communications Manager, Caleb is a professional “jack-of-all” trades in digital media marketing and design. He brings 8 years of experience working across traditional and new media channels–including print, web, ux, social media, email and video. Originally from Upstate NY, Caleb moved to Western MA in 2005, where he earned a BA from Smith College in Visual Art & Design. Caleb now calls Oakland his home. He made the leap to the East Bay in 2015 and was thrilled to explore the Bay Area’s wild landscapes. In June 2016, Caleb was given an opportunity to pursue one of his passions–advocating for the preservation of our natural environment–and joined Save Mount Diablo as Communications Manager. He enjoys spreading his passion for water, natural landscapes and wildlife to others.
Denise joined the staff in 2018. As the Stewardship & Outreach Associate, Denise works closely with the Land Stewardship Associate and helps coordinate fieldwork, outreach events, volunteer programs, hike programs, and colloquiums. She received her B.S. from UC Davis in Environmental Horticulture & Urban Forestry with emphases in Ecological Restoration and Biodiversity. Born in Argentina and raised in the deserts of southern California, Denise is a strong advocate for natural land restoration and conservation. She likes to spend her free time hiking, going on long backpacking trips, and buying more plants than she has room for.
Hidemi was hired to assist the Finance Director with Save Mount Diablo’s accounting, starting as the organization’s bookkeeper and has since been promoted to Senior Accountant. She has more than 10 years of experience in accounting. Hidemi loves to hike, camp and fish with her husband, two children, and their dog Sugar. She grew up in Japan and now lives in Pittsburg where she enjoys the beautiful weather and the beauty of nature.
Juan Pablo joined the staff as the new Land Use Planner in 2013. He grew up in Benicia, but since high school has lived and worked in Costa Rica, Mexico, Washington D.C. and different parts of California. Juan Pablo has always loved animals and been interested in learning about and protecting them and the habitats they live in – even since kindergarten when he brought an octopus in for show and tell. Juan Pablo graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution and a minor in Political Science. Then after working in Mexico for a year, he pursued an M.S. in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Juan Pablo’s work experience ranges from bird and marine mammal researcher, environmental educator and environmental consultant on NCCP/HCP projects. He now comes to Save Mount Diablo to help protect the area that has provided him with so many great hiking and birding experiences over the years.
Shannon was hired in 2011. In addition to handling senior level administrative duties, she assists the Executive Director. Shannon holds a B.S. in Business Administration from St. Mary’s College and has several years of office manager expertise. Neighbor to the mountain with her family, she is a dedicated hiker embracing the peaceful escape of Diablo’s slopes and foothills.
Dana was hired in 2011. She works at the front desk handling emails, phones, and processing donations while also assisting staff with various projects and events. Dana holds a B.A. in Exercise Science from U.C. Davis and has 5 years of administrative assistant experience, having worked at both Stanford University and U.C. Berkeley. Dana grew up in the East Bay enjoying Mount Diablo. She continues to enjoy being outdoors with her husband and two children and treasures her beautiful view of Mount Diablo from her home in Walnut Creek.
Katie is our Accounting & Administration Associate; she joined the staff in March of 2017. She brings almost a decade of accounting experience, along with some administration experience to Save Mount Diablo. She grew up in the beautiful state of NM, from there moved to AZ, and most recently moved to Northern California about 3 ½ years ago with her husband & two dogs. She loves to explore the beautiful landscapes of the Bay Area by hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding. Katie is very passionate about preserving our natural lands and is excited to help fulfill the mission of Saving Mount Diablo.
Roxana began as an intern in 2016 and joined our staff permanently in 2017. As our Land Stewardship Associate, Roxana supports programmatic elements, events, outreach and fieldwork within Stewardship. She also maintains the mapping program for Save Mount Diablo. She attended San Francisco State and earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Natural Resource Management and Conservation. As a student, she gained valuable experience with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the San Francisco based non-profit, Nature In the City. Roxana is from Bay Point where she currently lives and is passionate about preserving the lands she grew up with.
Joanne joined the staff in 2017. She is a lifetime Bay Area resident and earned her Bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State. For several years, she organized the activities for Walnut Creek Warrior Lacrosse Club and most recently provided administrative support to the East Bay Regional Park District. Joanne takes pride in serving her local community and supporting families in their efforts to be active. She considers Mount Diablo her home. You will often find her out in her wild ‘backyard’, running and hiking the hills with her family. She is excited to support the mission of SMD to preserve our beautiful open space for future generations.
Since moving to California several years ago, Lili’s passion for hiking and exploration has rapidly expanded, using the unique California wilderness as her playground. She first heard about Save Mount Diablo at Diablo Valley College where she obtained an A.S. in Biology: Natural Science. In the fall, she is transferring to UC Davis, where she will pursue a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning—with a minor in Sustainability in the Built Environment. Lili is here for the summer as the Development and Event Intern, working to grow her knowledge about non-profit fundraising and the many facets of land conservation.
Laura Kindsvater has a passion for protecting land for native plants (especially oaks and rare plants), wildlife, and people. She also loves graphic design, cartography, and working with words (she is a self-proclaimed word nerd). She previously worked at Save the Redwoods League as a conservation planner, at California Wilderness Coalition as an editor and graphic designer, and at TechSoup as an editor. She holds a Ph.D. in geography from UC Davis, with specializations in biogeography, plant ecology, and GIS. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, gardening, quilting, bike riding with her son, and volunteering with Save Mount Diablo’s DiRT team. She is thrilled to be working on Save Mount Diablo’s maps; print publications; website; social media; email newsletters; and other communications, outreach, and stewardship projects.
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Board of Directors
Malcolm received his B.A. and M.L.S. in Environmental Planning, from UC Berkeley, and then worked for the Marin County Planning Dept. for four years. In 1979, he joined LSA Associates and is now a principal in natural resources management and environmental planning, managing their Point Richmond office. An avid outdoorsman, Malcolm feels that Mount Diablo is a wonderful visual resource and that the open space we are protecting is not just for people, but is essential to the protection and stability of the greatest possible diversity of biological resources in the central California region. Malcolm and his wife Casey live in Moraga.
Burt received his BS in Business Administration from the University of Illinois and did his graduate work at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Labor and Employment Relations. He has held a variety of human resources positions with Exxon and Eastern Airlines, and he is the principal of Bassler Associates, Inc., a human resources consulting firm he established in 1982. He lives in Danville.
Claudia has a Master Degree in Chemistry and Science Education from Oregon State University and a B.S. in Chemistry and Natural Science from Muhlenberg College. She is a Chemistry Professor at Diablo Valley College since 1989. As an educator, I’m a strong believer in the Baba Dioum quotation ‘We will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.’ Supporting Save Mount Diablo’s mission to protect open space and ensure wildlife corridors is paramount to helping people understand nature’s importance in our lives.” Claudia has served on the Board of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and the Mount Diablo Audubon Society. She lives in Concord with her husband, Scott, who is also a Save Mount Diablo board member.
Dr. Felton is currently a Senior Biomedical Scientist-Retired (LLNL) and was Assoc. Dir. for Cancer Prevention and Control (UC Davis Cancer Center). Dr. Felton was the Deputy Associate Director for Biology and Biotechnology at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2001-2004). He was on staff at LLNL for 32 years in various positions. He received his AB in Zoology at UC Berkeley, his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the State University of NY, Buffalo. Since retirement, he has taught courses related to Cancer for the Osher Lifetime Learning Institute (CSUEB) and been active as a steward with Save Mount Diablo. He has been a volunteer advisor at LLNL and science tutor at San Ramon Valley High School continuing education program at Del Amigo HS. He also with his wife, Bette, manages an award-winning winery and vineyard in Danville, CA.
John has been cycling, hiking, and backpacking since childhood; his first exposure to Mount Diablo was a Boy Scout trip to the long-defunct Camp Force. When John was just 14 he rode his bike from his native Berkeley to the summit of Mount Diablo and he continues this feat in our annual Mount Diablo Challenge. He can frequently be found somewhere on Mount Diablo, on foot or bike. He is one of the Beacon Boyz who coordinated the restoration of the beacon atop the summit building. A retired veterinarian, John lives in Danville with his wife, Tena. Tena and their two grown children also enjoy hiking.
Joseph Garaventa joined Save Mount Diablo’s Board of Directors in 2019 and serves on the Development Committee. Prior to joining Hall Sports Ventures as President, Joe was the CEO of Concord-based Garaventa Enterprises, a family-owned business that has been serving Contra Costa County since the 1930’s. Now, the Garaventa business has developed into one of the few remaining local, family-owned recycling and resource recovery companies in Northern California, primarily serving Contra Costa and Solano Counties. Through his long career and varied civic and philanthropic ventures, Joe has gained an in-depth understanding of the social and political landscape of Contra Costa County and neighboring East Bay cities. A graduate of De La Salle High School, Joe was also an accomplished soccer player in his youth. Joe has always loved the outdoors and enjoys sharing his passion for recycling and recovery with the entire community. He aims to help others explore the many ways they can make a real difference in the quality of our environment.
Liz Harvey, Chief Development Officer with The Nature Conservancy, has over 30 years of experience in Bay Area philanthropy and currently works for the Conservancy’s California Chapter, connecting her love of the outdoors with her concern for the environment. She joined Save Mount Diablo’s board in 2017 and serves on the Development Committee. Recent prior experience includes serving as Director of Major Gifts at Mills College and Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at San Jose State University. Ms. Harvey received her B.A. from Westmont College with her M.B.A. from Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Based in Danville, she loves running, camping, kayaking, and hiking.
Scott has a Doctorate in Analytical Chemistry from Oregon State University and a B.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University. He is a founding principal of Diablo Analytical, Inc, a small technology business located in Antioch. Scott is also a naturalist, birder, hiker, and nature/conservation photographer whose images grace the pages of our publications and walls of our office. Scott was appointed by the Concord City Council to serve on the original Community Advisory Committee for the Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Project. He has received Diablo Magazine’s Threads of Hope award for his volunteer efforts with Save Mount Diablo. He has lived in Concord since 1988 with his wife Claudia, who is also a board member.
Margaret holds a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from California State University, East Bay and a Bachelors Degree in Liberal Studies from Sacramento State. She recently retired after 37 years in public education, the most recent 25 years having served as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources in the Brentwood Union School District. Margaret has volunteered on East Contra Costa County land use and urban limit line issues, advocating for the protection and conservation of open space and managed growth in the area. She lives in the beautiful rolling hills of the Marsh Creek corridor of Brentwood, where she strives to instill in her four grandchildren a sense of wonder for what nature has to offer—as well as the attention and effort required to preserve and protect the land.
Frank Martens is president and founder of Peninsula Engineering Solutions where he oversees the sales, marketing and operational aspects of the company. Martens has more than twenty years’ experience in microwave, cellular and alternative power systems. His experience includes sales, production, customer service, inventory management, quality assurance, accounting and general business management. Martens holds a BS in Accounting from State University of New York at Albany and an MBA from Long Island University. Martens has also been a CPA in New York State. He served on the Hospice of the East Bay Board of Directors as Executive Secretary and Chairman of the Audit Committee from 2009 to 2017 and is currently on the SMD Finance Committee. Martens lives in Danville and enjoys Hiking, Biking, Squash and watching SMC College Rugby.
We welcome Bob Marx back to our Board! Bob was a Board member from 1997–2004. Bob & his wife Joan own Summit Ranch in Alamo which is 22 ½ acres bordering Mount Diablo to the North and East. Summit Ranch is a private horse boarding facility accommodating 100 horses. Over the past 30 years, he has spent many hours every week riding horses on the trails of Mount Diablo. Bob was the recipient of Save Mount Diablo’s Mountain Star Award in 2009. Bob’s love and appreciation of Mount Diablo goes beyond words!
Robert Phelps is an Associate Professor of History at California State University, East Bay and the Executive Director of Cal State East Bay’s branch campus in Concord. The author of numerous articles on the history of California and the American West, Phelps has also worked extensively in the realm of public history, serving as an interpretive advisor and content editor for a number of historical museums, including the Oakland Museum of California. As campus Executive Director, he has worked extensively to preserve the Galindo Creek section of university property. Phelps holds an MA and Ph.D. in United States History from the University of California, Riverside and a BA in History from San Diego State University. Born and raised in San Diego, he is a member of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians of California and a former tribal vice chairman. He lives in the North Bay region with his wife Meri and son Aaron.
Jeff graduated from UCLA with B.A.’s in Political Science and Communications, and a J.D. from UC Davis, King Hall. Following Law School, Jeff immediately went back into a family construction business, Diamond Construction, based out of Lafayette. Expanding his Dad’s business, Jeff currently works in construction, transactional real estate, and development. Jeff’s non-profit experience includes a 6 month stint as Deputy Director of China Business Development for the US China Green Energy Council in Beijing, China. Above everything, Jeff enjoys the outdoors with his wife Lauren, and their Miniature Australian Shepherd, Bella.