Babs Kavanaugh, Chair
Babs Kavanaugh brings a wealth of experience in education, health care, and community development to the Friends of the Petaluma River Board, including more than 15 years experience as a governance trainer with the California School Boards Association, 25 years as a consultant in health care, and expertise in organizational development and community health.
A committed environmentalist, hiker, and cyclist; Babs is a great believer in getting kids outside– she and her family spend annual vacations at Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp near Yosemite. As a regular volunteer, she has seen the impact Friends of the Petaluma River has made on the community and is pleased to contribute her knowledge and connections in the community to help sustain and expand the important work being done. Her membership on the board is informed by her passion for the environment and community development.
Patrick Campbell, Vice Chair
For many years, I did my kayak training on the Petaluma River, and learned to love its quirky beauty: around every bend was a new miracle….waterfowl, breaching salmon, a tidal creek, wind waves, a vast marshland. I’m particularly interested in encouraging human-powered boat use and discouraging wetland development on the River. I am recently retired from nearly fifty years in the international wine business; live happily with Gina Cloud – a fellow kayaker, in Bloomfield; and have three grown daughters.
Andrew Packard, Secretary
Andrew is a public interest attorney specializing in representing citizen enforcement groups under state and federal environmental laws. His law firm, which also specializes in “right-to-know” laws promoting consumer product safety, recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary.
He served on the boards of the Russian RiverKeeper and Petaluma Community Access before serving as the founding chairman of the Friends of Petaluma River board in 2006. He was first inspired by the late David Yearsley to join the river community that has evolved into the Friends of Petaluma River. His family of five has enjoyed kayaking and boating on the river and the marsh ever since.
Elizabeth Howland, Treasurer
Elizabeth is Managing Director of Development at the McKesson Foundation and is also a proprietor of Clementine EcoEvents, a company that is committed to saving the planet, one event at a time. She is also a principal in andHow, a marketing consulting firm. Earlier in her career, Elizabeth was Vice President of Marketing at Athleta, the premier women’s sports apparel retailer, where she oversaw all marketing functions and spearheaded the design and production of the Athleta catalog and web store. Prior to Athleta, Elizabeth spent several years in executive positions for multi-channel retail firms including Triplex, Gymboree and Bio Bottoms. Elizabeth is a founding member of Friends of the Petaluma River. She has lived in Petaluma for 25 years and is an active outdoor enthusiast and musician.
Kelin Castleberry is the Director of Events and Partnerships for the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco. Previously, Kelin was the Managing Director for the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation which hosts the Sonoma County Wine Auction and Taste of Sonoma. Previous to that work, she was one of the owners of Clementine Eco Event Planning and worked for Jared Huffman for Congress. She is one of the founders of our annual fundraiser Rivertown Revival, and has been a longtime Board Member of Friends of the Petaluma River. She loves being a part of Petaluma’s community. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends in our beautiful watershed.
Sam Dobson is an Asset Manager and Financial Planner at Dobson Asset Management located in Petaluma, where he focuses on low cost management and ethical investing.
Sam has spent a lot of time on rivers and in marshes. He worked as a river rafting guide during and after college, leading overnight trips on whitewater rivers throughout the Sierra Mountains. One of his passions growing up, and currently, is waterfowl hunting, where he spends many hours and days cultivating healthy marshes for migratory and local birds. Theses activities have lead to a greater appreciation for the impact that a healthy and flourishing watershed can have on a community.
Sam and his family live in Petaluma and you can often find them messing about in boats.
Paul is the Executive Director of Literacyworks, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting educators and learners in the fields of adult and family literacy. He is also the director of the federal Department of Education’s LINCS Region 4 Regional Professional Development Center serving adult education and literacy programs in 16 states throughout the West, Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii. He is also a Sonoma County Library Commissioner. He believes in lifelong learning as a path towards opportunity and fulfillment.
Paul grew up on lakes and rivers in Michigan. He loves to scuba dive, kayak, raise bees, read, talk space stuff, and, to the dismay of many, pun.
As a consulting geologist, Andy has been in the environmental management profession since 1986. Andy founded ECON (Environment, Community & Opportunity Network) in 1999 – a for-profit cooperative network of local independent professionals and specialists.
Important to Andy is giving back to the community in which he lives and works. In addition to being a board member for FOPR, Andy is involved with the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation; the Petaluma River Cleanup Committee , California Coastal Cleanup, Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce and the North Bay Watershed Association.
Andy is married with two daughters and lives on a small farm located in the Liberty Creek subwatershed.
David Hansen (Advisory Council Liaison)
New Zealand born landscape architect David Hansen retired from a successful career working for three Bay Area open space districts. His work over 33 years was with the Marin County Open Space District (Planner and Acquisition Manager), the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Land Manager) and the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (General Manager). He was a founder and first chair of the Bay Area Open Space Council. David was responsible for the acquisition and management of over 70,000 acres of protected open space and farm land in four counties of the Bay Area. Aside from FOPR he is a co-founder and/or current Board member of several environmental non-profit organizations including the Bay Area Ridge Trail, The Trail Center, Whole Access, Sonoma Land Watch, Marin Open Space Trust and LandPaths. Among numerous avocations David enjoys singing with Sonoma Chanson, gardening, backpacking, running and kayaking. David has an art degree from Willamette University and studied for his Masters in Landscape Architecture at U.C. Berkeley. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil for three years in the ‘60s, served as Director of the Oakland Zoo Society in 1974 and was a planning commissioner in the town of Fairfax in the late ‘70s. David lives in Santa Rosa with his wife Marjorie and has two adult children Alexander and Miranda.
Executive Director – Stephanie Bastianon
Serving as Executive Director since 2013, Stephanie came to Friends in 2011 after working for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey as both a Congressional staffer and Campaign Coordinator. She is an alumnus of Sonoma State University and UC San Diego where she received a Masters Degree in International Politics and Non-Profit Management. She is mother to two youngsters that love to accompany her to the River Heritage Center and attend nature camps and barn dances. “I love to connect people with the outdoors and give them opportunities to support our local environment.”
Program Director – Michelle Sauceda
Environmental Educator – Mich Swannucci
Hi there! My name is Mich Swannucci. I have studied natural sciences, environmental studies, environmental horticulture, social & behavioral sciences and humanities to develop a framework for my position as an environmental educator. I believe bridging science with nature connection is important and have found the best way to engage youth with nature is through exploration, creativity, curiosity and play with open communication, community building and lots of laughter! I am continually inspired by the enthusiasm and awe of youth as they discover and learn about the natural world around them. I grew up in Petaluma and find it especially rewarding to be back in my hometown working with the next generation of nature’s nurturers.
Environmental Educator – Aidan Ward
I am Aidan Ward, a native Petaluman who is excited to be joining Friends of the Petaluma River! After graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 2012 with a B.S. in Health Sciences, I have been charting a course toward outdoor education and hands-on science-based learning for children and adults of all ages. I have long studied the riparian areas of the Petaluma River watershed, and I am grateful and excited to share my knowledge and learn in the process. I look forward to nourishing a spirit of community stewardship and lifelong learning as an instructor with Watershed Classroom.
ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS
Dr. John Shribbs
Jaimey Walking Bear