Dr. Charles Lester
Dr. Charles Lester has been working in the field of coastal and natural resource management for more than 25 years. In addition to serving as the Conservancy’s Executive Director, Charles recently joined the Marine Sciences Institute at UC Santa Barbara, where he conducts research, writing, teaching and advising about sea level rise, coastal resilience, and other aspects of California coastal law and policy. Previously, Charles worked many years for the California Coastal Commission, including serving as the agency’s fourth executive director from 2011 to 2016. Before coming back to California in 1997, Charles was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he taught environmental law and policy, with a focus on public lands governance and coastal zone management. He received his Ph.D. and J.D. from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. in Geochemistry from Columbia University. He lives in Ventura County with his wife and daughter, two dogs, and two cats.
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.
Hannah graduated from UC Davis in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology. She has worked with several different agencies before coming to the SCRC including the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Hannah manages SCRC’s restoration and education grants, is the secretary of the board, and updates SCRC’s social media platforms. When not working, Hannah likes to hike in the Los Padres National Forest with her husband, spend time with her four sisters, and watch Lifetime movies with her cat, Mila.
Education & Outreach Coordinator
Leslie is a recent 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.
Jose is currently an undergraduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara studying Geography and Geographic Information Science. He’s currently is an undergraduate research assistant with RIVRLab and manages the Santa Clara River Conservancy website. Raised in Oxnard, California, his interest in the Santa Clara River was always present but did not blossom until his time at community college where he volunteered his time with various Santa Clara River non-profit groups. He enjoys spending his time taking nature walks, identifying plants, playing too many video games, and creating Dungeon & Dragons characters (mostly mages).
Desirae is a recent graduate from Sonoma State University with a double major in Environmental science and Spanish and a minor in Biology. She spent a year abroad in Spain which not only helped her Spanish, but also fueled her urge to travel. Before coming into the team, she has worked as a field Biologist with a variety of taxa around Sonoma county and recently started working with Ca Dept. of Fish and Wildlife in Ventura. In her free time Desirae enjoys kayaking, hiking, and other outdoor activities that keep her active and connected with nature.