P.O. Box 789, Santa Paula, CA 93061 contact@santaclarariver.org


Shawn Kelly






Shawn Kelly
Executive Director 

After graduating with a B.S. in OceanEngineering from Texas A&M University, Shawn worked as a Coastal Engineer for the Gold Coast City Council in Queensland, Australia for a short time.  He subsequently moved to Ventura County and began a career as an Ocean Engineer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center’s Ocean Engineering Department. After 10 years working as an engineer, he returned to graduate school and obtained a Masters in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Following graduate school, he worked for a state initiative called the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (WRP) in a number of capacities until taking a position with the Santa Clara River Conservancy.  Shawn has a broad range of professional interests and experiences, and as a 30-year resident of Ventura County, Shawn is excited to be working in the critically vital and compelling Santa Clara River Watershed.  Shawn is a passionate environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast, being a former competitive surfer as well as an avid mountain biker and snowboarder. He is the father of two boys.

Laura Pavliscak
Restoration Manager

Laura has worked as a field biologist and land manager in the southwestern U.S. and abroad since 2001, specializing in ecological research, restoration, and biological mitigation.  She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Agroecology from the University of California Santa Cruz, and a M.S. in Aridland Ecology and Management from the University of Arizona.

Leslie Magaña 
Education & Outreach Coordinator

Leslie is a graduate from California State University, Channel Islands where she received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Resource Management. Her admiration to educate and inspire younger generations led to her internship with the  Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. While working for the National Park Service, she led educational and interpretative programs for groups of various grade levels. Apart from teaching others on the importance of conservation and the health of the environment, Leslie enjoys visiting the beach, hiking, and exploring both National & International Parks. Leslie believes that educating others about the environment is key to achieving positive change in environmental attitudes.

Gus Vankirk
Restoration Technician

Gus is a graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. Before joining the SCRC team, he performed restoration along the Santa Clara River for UCSB’s RIVRLab and worked as a Peace Corps Agroforestry Volunteer in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa.

Alan Espinoza
Restoration Technician

Alan is a graduate from San Jose State University, with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Environmental Restoration and Natural Resource Management. His passion for environmental awareness and conservation has led him to volunteer for SJSU’s Environmental Resource Center and work for UCSB’s Marine Science Institute as a Lab Assistant. Through his experience, he’s had the opportunity to work on his school’s Green Office program, assist on the restoration of the Santa Clara River, and improve his knowledge on the native flora and fauna. On his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, watching movies, and finding new restaurants to enjoy.

Devina Schneider
Restoration Technician

Devina graduated from Texas State University where she earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology. Shortly after, she served as an agroforestry volunteer for the Peace Corps in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa. She has also worked as a biological technician on projects in New Mexico, collecting data on several vulnerable chipmunk species. She is enthusiastic about wildlife, conservation, and influencing others towards a more sustainable future and finds joy in cooking, running, and reading the latest sci-fi fantasy novels.


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