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


Shawn Kelly

Shawn Kelly
Executive Director 

After graduating with a B.S. in Ocean Engineering 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.

Shelley Littleton
Education and Outreach Coordinator

A Ventura native, Shelley has long valued and appreciated this area’s rich history and beautiful environment. She attended the University of Hawaii, Manoa earning a B.S. in Biology. As a graduate student, she worked as a field instructor at Hawaii’s Nature Center; that’s when she vowed to continue work in environmental education. Returning home, she temporarily set aside that goal, and enjoyed 20 years of diverse experiences in biotech and life science industries. She attended California State University, Northridge earning a M.P.H., specializing in Education. The last 10 years she has worked in education as a tutor, math instructor, nature guide, and Interpretive Specialist; delivering history and nature-study programs in local classrooms, parks, estuary, beach, and museum sites. Shelley is thrilled with this opportunity; she looks forward to supporting the SCRC mission, while sharing her passion for her home and environment.

Gus Van Kirk
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. When he’s not worrying about the health of the earth, he enjoys spending his time playing basketball, watching movies, and discovering 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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