Meet Our Staff

Lisa Lurie
Executive Director

(831) 464-2950 |

Lisa began her role as Executive Director in 2018 after five years with the RCD during which time she played a key leadership role in developing many of the RCD’s core programs and innovative projects related to stewardship in agriculture. Lisa believes passionately in the mission of the RCD and working collaboratively to find common ground solutions to difficult challenges.

Read Full Bio...

She is motivated by the spirit of community and the strength of relationships that are built through the act of caring for natural resources. Prior to joining the RCD, Lisa managed agricultural water quality partnerships and programs for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Lisa has degrees in biology and environmental studies from the University of Washington and a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University. Having worked on watershed management projects with communities in the Pacific Northwest, the Ecuadorian Andes, and coastal North Carolina, Lisa feels fortunate to have set down roots in her adopted home of Santa Cruz.

Ari Rettinger
Director of Finance

(831) 464-2950 |

Arianne Rettinger has been with the RCD since 2004 and has served as the Director of Finance since 2022. Ari values being able to assist in finding solutions to local conservation issues. Being a native of Monterey, CA, she has grown up understanding the importance of preserving our region’s ecosystems and resources, while recognizing the economic importance that industry plays in our region.

Read Full Bio...
In her prior role since 2012 as Grants Manager, she was responsible for managing grants, assisting in the procurement of funding, and facilitating programmatic planning and policy issues. Prior to this she was the Program Manager of the RCDs Pajaro Watershed Program. Arianne’s academic credentials include a B.A. degree in Biology and a certificate in Marketing from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master Degree in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California at Santa Barbara.Her other main interests include restoration of declining habitats, remediation, and the effects of pollutants on ecosystems and industry. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, running, and sailing.
Matt Abernathy

Forest Health Senior Program Specialist

(831) 464-2950 |

Growing up in the Santa Cruz Mountains instilled a passion for the environment that lead Matt to study Watershed Science at Colorado State University. While in Colorado he gained specific experience from monitoring forest fires and implementing forest restoration treatments both on private and public land.

Read Full Bio...
While working as the Conservation Forester for the Fort Collins Conservation District he found that working at the Resource Conservation District level allowed him to help individuals while benefiting the whole region. Matt has found his way back to the Santa Cruz Mountains to bring his experience and knowledge to the community he loves.

Laurel Bard

Program Assistant

(831) 464-2950 |

Laurel started with the RCD in September 2022. Their ecological education began as a child while exploring the redwood forests and coastal prairies of Santa Cruz. They value an interdisciplinary approach to land stewardship that recognizes humans as an integral part of ecosystem processes. They are interested in prescribed fire, intentional ecosystem management, and maintaining biodiversity.

Read Full Bio...

Laurel graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Society and Environment and a BA in Sociology. Since college, they have worked in Idaho, on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, in Lake County CA, and in the Bay Area. Their experience includes project management and implementation, botanical surveying, and stakeholder engagement. Outside of work, Laurel can be found hiking some of the same trails that the RCD helps steward – unless they’re too busy rock climbing or swimming in the ocean.

Tangi Chapman
Executive Assistant – Benefits Coordinator – Office Management - Board Secretary

(831) 464-2950 |

Tangi has been with the District since 2002. Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, she spent summers traveling the hill to get to Santa Cruz and Monterey beaches. She graduated with a BA from the Environmental Studies program at UC Santa Cruz with interests in Natural History and Agroecology.

Read Full Bio...

Looking for wide-open spaces she lived in northwestern Montana for several years working for the Forest Service and hiking the national forests on the Forest Inventory and Assessment crews in Montana, parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Her interdisciplinary background helped foster a love for plants, animals, and natural ecosystems. After returning to California, she settled in the San Lorenzo Valley to raise her two children, both now grown. Hobbies include hiking, backpacking, yoga, and gardening.

Tangi is dedicated to supporting the District and staff to make Santa Cruz a more resilient and sustainable community for all. Her interdisciplinary background helped foster a love for plants, animals, and natural ecosystems. It is this devotion that inspires her to work for an organization that seeks to find voluntarily win-win solutions that help people help the land.

Sharon Corkrean
Finance Manager

(831) 464-2950 |

Sharon Corkrean joined the RCD in February, 1982 and served as the Director of Finance until January, 2022. Sharon’s family has farmed in the Watsonville area for over 50 years. She loves spending time with her husband and two daughters. Sharon also enjoys spending time with friends, kayaking, walking on the beach, hiking in the mountains, baseball, and Saturday Mornings at the Farmer's Market.

Alfredo Cortes Jr.
Program Assistant

(831) 464-2950 |

Alfredo joined the RCD in February of 2022 after spending over a year in the private agriculture industry. Living his whole life in the agriculture-filled south county, initiated interests to study sustainable water resources at San Jose State University.

Read Full Bio...

He now aims to connect with local growers to improve irrigation efficiency in the face of California’s drought events.

Alfred has prior experience working for a large local nursery to improve water management practices in various growing locations. He enjoyed taking on production responsibilities while collaborating with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (RCD) and UC Coopertive Extension (UCCE) to complete irrigation efficiency projects that best fit the nursery setting. With a degree in Environmental Studies, he now understands the connection between agriculture and maintaining groundwater resources.

Angela Gruys

Senior Program and Communications Specialist

(831) 464-2950 |

Angie came to the RCD in 2005 with over 12 years of sales, marketing, and program management experience from Silicon Valley start-ups and local environmental non-profits. She currently manages RCD programs focused on reducing sediment in local waterways to improve stream habitat and other beneficial uses. She also plays double duty as the RCD’s Communications Specialist where she puts her event management, graphics and outreach skills to work.

Read Full Bio...

Angie loves working with the community and supporting landowners and is forever inspired by their enthusiasm and openness for completing conservation projects on their own properties. In Santa Cruz since the age of three, Angie attended Cabrillo College and San Jose State University, and proudly served in the United States Air Force Reserves and currently lives in Soquel.

Outside of the RCD Angie is infatuated with exploring local creeks and streams and is always up for rock climbing or hitting the trails with her dogs.

Dan Hermstad

Ag Technical Program Specialist

(831) 464-2950 |

Dan started with the RCD in April of 2021 after a variety of roles in the agriculture and mapping worlds. Dan believes that everything can be learned and solutions can be created. He is thrilled to serve in a role that allows him to work directly with many different growers to assist them with the conservation and stewardship components of their businesses.

Read Full Bio...

Dan’s prior experience includes work with agricultural communities throughout Mexico and Central America, a four year sojourn at Apple Maps and, most recently, leading a team of specialists in organic certification. Dan has a degree in Environmental Studies from UCSC and a Masters in Geography from San Francisco State.

Sacha Lozano

Ag Stewardship Senior Program Manager

(831) 464-2950 |

Sacha Lozano joined the Santa Cruz RCD in 2011. Since then, he has been actively engaged in hands-on collaborative work with local communities, ag industry leaders, individual producers, non-profits, academic researchers, and public agencies to advance environmental stewardship in agriculture on the CA central coast.

Read Full Bio...

During the past 10+ years managing multiple ag-related projects, he has cultivated partnerships and addressed barriers to provide technical assistance, education and outreach to growers (in English and Spanish), focusing on soil erosion control, irrigation and nutrient management, soil health, water quality protection, climate change mitigation, and carbon farming planning. At the RCD Sacha has found fertile ground to promote inclusion of historically disadvantaged demographic groups and balance multiple perspectives when addressing complex natural resource conservation issues. Prior to joining the RCD, Sacha coordinated a multicultural education program (4 years) focusing on ocean and watershed literacy, with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Cameron McDonald

Ag Program Assistant

(831) 464-2950 |

Cameron joined the RCD in July 2022 as part of the agriculture stewardship team. He obtained a B.S degree from Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. Studying disaster risk reduction and agroecology at Huxley is where he first witnessed the great potential to link agriculture management with resilient ecosystems and communities.

Read Full Bio...

Cameron has worked for an irrigation mobile lab, as student farmer running an organic farm, and spent time on farms in Argentina. He also has a background commercial fishing in Alaska and working in the service industry where he gained invaluable skills. Cameron has experience visiting, living, studying, and providing technical assistant on hundreds of farms over the course of his career and education.

Cameron has also obtained a General Horticulture & Crop Production A.S degree from Cabrillo College. He plans to continue his passion for lifelong learning with a special focus on irrigation, agriculture conservation, and disaster risk reduction.

Daniel Nylen

Watershed Restoration Program Manager

(831) 464-2950 |

Daniel Nylen leads the Watershed Restoration Program at the RCD, working with public and private landowners to plan and implement effective watershed health programs to promote healthy ecosystems that are adaptable to climate change.

Read Full Bio...
Daniel has over ten years of experience planning and implementing habitat restoration projects in California. Prior to joining the RCD, he most recently worked as the San Joaquin Valley Senior Restoration Ecologist for River Partners and Associate Director of Central Valley River Restoration for American Rivers, both leading river conservation nonprofits. Daniel feels lucky to have joined the RCD as he believes strongly in place-based natural resource stewardship and is continually inspired by collaborations with local community members, organizations, and agencies, and the collective vision of protecting and enhancing the unique Santa Cruz bioregion. Daniel has a Master’s degree in Hydrological Sciences from UC Davis and is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner. In his spare time he enjoys photography, mountain biking, surfing, and getting his kids outdoors.
Angie Richman
Forest Health Program Specialist

(831) 464-2950 |

Angie joined the RCD in January of 2022 after working in a wide variety of land stewardship and roles from the Sierra Nevada to the Santa Cruz Mountains. She has a BS in Animal Ecology with a focus in Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University. She is also an ISA Certified Arborist and recently received a graduate certificate in Urban Forestry from Oregon State University.

Read Full Bio...

Angie is looking forward to using her knowledge and experience in land management to benefit the forests, wildlife and people in Santa Cruz County.

Originally from Iowa, Angie came out to California in 2013 to join a Santa Cruz based conservation corps. After working on the Pacific Crest Trail for a season, she decided to stay. In her free time she enjoys fishing, trail running a reading a good book.

Sara Sternberg

Watershed Restoration Program Specialist

(831) 464-2950 |

Sara joined the RCD in June of 2023 after working in various roles in agriculture, landscape construction, and natural resource management in California. After earning her B.S in Biology and working for many years on livestock ranches and farms in Northern California, she founded and operated a gardening and irrigation business specializing in on-site water reuse systems such as greywater, rainwater catchment, and stormwater mitigation.

Read Full Bio...

Wanting to increase her knowledge of larger-scale watershed restoration and managed aquifer recharge techniques, she obtained her Masters in Natural Resource Management with a concentration in Hydrology and Watershed Management Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She is excited to work with the RCD because of it’s unique and interdisciplinary role advocating for environmental restoration as well as supporting working lands and private landowner interests. In her spare time, Sara can be found riding her dirt bike, practicing yoga, and gardening.

Additional Support

Kelli Camara

Environmental Consulting

Kelli is the Consulting Technical Director for the RCD. Kelli utilizes her education in Soil Science and 20 years of planning, permitting, biological monitoring and construction oversite experience to assist the RCD in restoration activities aimed at species recovery, riparian restoration and ecosystem health, and managed aquifer recharge.

Read Full Bio...
In 2012, Kelli was honored by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors for her work to implement hundreds of conservation projects and increase environmental awareness and conservation values among residents of Santa Cruz County. Kelli recognizes that the RCD plays a unique and important role in voluntary conservation in the county, providing resources to landowners through education, technical assistance and funding to be responsible land stewards.
Dillon Beatty

NRCS Agricultural Engineer

(650) 726-0494 |

As the Agricultural Engineer for NRCS in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, Dillon’s work focuses on the technical aspects of planning and designing conservation systems to conserve our soil, water, energy, plant, and wildlife resources.

Read Full Bio...
He graduated from Cal Poly with a Bachelor's degree in BioResource and Agricultural Engineering with an emphasis in water resources and agricultural automation.

Alanna Burhans

NRCS Soil Conservationist

(831) 227-2905 |

Alanna Burhans is a Soil Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service. She has been with NRCS since 2021 and was originally stationed in The Merced Field Office.

Read Full Bio...
Prior to this, she worked for the USDA- Agricultural Research Service from 2018 to 2021 as a Biological Science Technician and oversaw plant propagation, vineyard maintenance, and data collection for research on table grapes. Alanna has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture with a focus in Biodiversity and Restoration from The University of California, Davis.
Drew Mather

NRCS District Conservationist

(831) 227-2902 |

Drew Mather is a Soil Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service. He’s been with NRCS since 2006 working as both a soil scientist and a soil conservationist. He’s been on soil survey crews in Wyoming, Nevada, and California, and since 2011 has been working with farmers and ranchers in the Pajaro and other watersheds throughout the Central Coast to conserve natural resources on public, private, and...

Read Full Bio...
Drew Mather is a Soil Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service. He’s been with NRCS since 2006 working as both a soil scientist and a soil conservationist. He’s been on soil survey crews in Wyoming, Nevada, and California, and since 2011 has been working with farmers and ranchers in the Pajaro and other watersheds throughout the Central Coast to conserve natural resources on public, private, and tribal lands. Drew holds a master’s degree in Soil Science from The Pennsylvania State University, and when not working, can be found dawn patrolling at Manresa or Pleasure Point, playing one on one full court basketball with his son, Matthew, or walking on the beach with his wife, Chihiro.
Jennifer Nowark

NRCS Program/Eligibility Assistant

(831) 975-7754 |

Jennifer has served as Program Assistant for the USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service since July 2010. She provides a variety of specialized administrative support for these counties along the Central Coast; San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.

Read Full Bio...
She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the application/eligibility process and contract management with payments and modifications until completion. With over 35 years of customer service background and a business management degree, Jennifer takes ownership in all programs and strives to give personal attention and support to all participants. She is a huge asset to all her NRCS offices. Jennifer has been in Santa Cruz County since 1994 and lives in Aptos. Her daughter is a graduate of Montana State heading to Nashville to pursue her degree in teaching and child psychology. Her son is in his 3rd year at Humboldt State studying Forestry/ Environmental Engineering. And her youngest son is a freshman at Aptos High School. As a family we enjoy all sports, biking, the beach, travelling and just hanging out in the beautiful place we live in!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Receive our latest program anouncements and news updates, delivered directly to your inbox.


Copyright © 2024 RCD of Santa Cruz County. All Rights Reserved.