San Diego Canyonlands

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Carrie Schneider | President

Carrie Schneider is a biologist who never fails to be entertained by the unique and fascinating qualities of San Diego's natural habitats. She grew up in the verdant countryside of the Hoosier state then moved to the east coast, where she earned a Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is now a consultant in biotechnology company. She led the Environmental Systems subcommittee for the City Wide Canyons Sewer Maintenance Task Force, whose proposed improvements to City procedures for accessing sewer infrastructure in open space parks were adopted by the City Council in 2002. She is a co-founder of San Diego Canyonlands, started the Friends of Switzer Canyon in North Park, and continues to lead volunteers to restore upland and stream-side habitat. She enjoys contributing to the Herbarium collections at the San Diego Natural History Museum as a trained parabotanist for the Plant Atlas project and was president of the San Diego chapter of the California Native Plant Society from 2002-2004.

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John Hanley | Treasurer

John Hanley is the leader of the Friends of Olivia/47th Street Canyon in City Heights since June 2009 and participates in monthly canyon restoration and cleanup events. Through the hard work of volunteers and partnerships with other local organizations there has been a great transformation in this canyon. He is active in his community with block cleanups and other canyon cleanups in the area. He also volunteers working with foster youth. He has a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management and spent twenty years in operations, sales and accounting at various hotels and resorts. He also worked twelve years for The Downtown San Diego Partnership in finance and administration. The Partnership is a non-profit organization promoting growth in Downtown San Diego. He currently works for a software company. Originally from Wisconsin, he has lived in San Diego since 1988 and appreciates the natural beauty and great weather that San Diego has to offer. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and paddle boarding.

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Susan Krzywicki | Secretary

Susan Krzywicki is a California native plant landscape designer in San Diego County. She was the first California Native Plant Society Horticulture Program Director, a 50-year-old and 9,000 member-strong advocacy organization. She worked extensively across the state to promote the projects that spearhead California’s oldest and most recognized native plant gardening program.

Susan started as chair of the San Diego Chapter Gardening Committee which inaugurated the popular San Diego Native Garden Tour and the Native Garden Symposium, encouraging homeowners to experience the strategic benefits of low water use, habitat creation, and our unique ecological heritage.

In addition to her work with CNPS, Susan chaired Surfrider Foundation's Ocean Friendly Gardens Programs Committee, taught the San Diego County Water Authority's California Friendly Landscape Training, and serves on the Port of San Diego Chula Vista Bayfront Cultural and Design Committee where she advocates for strong environmental partnerships with new development.

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Kevin Johnston

Kevin has enjoyed volunteering with the Friends of Ruffin Canyon and the Friends of Normal Heights Canyons since 2006 on cleanup days, invasive plant removal, native plant restoration projects, and community outreach. He works as a Land Use/Environmental Planner for the County of San Diego – Planning & Development Services. Kevin has a B.A. in Geography from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree (MCP) in City Planning from San Diego State University. Kevin enjoys hikes throughout the County, and has also worked with the Cuyamaca State Park Volunteer Trails Maintenance Unit. Earlier in his career, Kevin served as a high school teacher for five years in the Detroit and Chicago Public School Districts. He taught courses in Travel and Tourism, Geography, and Computer Technology at Golightly Career and Technical Center and Tilden High School.

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Terressa Whitaker

Terressa Whitaker is a restoration ecologist with a background in hydrology and natural resource management. She has a Masters of Science in Watershed Science from San Diego State University and worked with the National Park Service at Yosemite National Park for four years. Except for her four years in Yosemite, she has lived in San Diego since 2004 and has fallen in love with the unique and dramatic canyon topography. She believes in the value of open space in our urban communities, in preserving the ecology of native plant and animal communities, and in balanced urban planning that provides for all residents of San Diego.

Vicki Estrada | FASLA, APA

Vicki Estrada is a landscape architect and urban designer and President of Estrada Land Planning in San Diego. Estrada Land Planning provides land planning, landscape architecture, GIS, revegetation, visual analysis, and urban design services. Vicki is a graduate of Cal Poly SLO and has over 44 years of private practice experience, working for both public and private interests. She was past Chair of the City of San Diego Community Forest Advisory Board and past Chair of the San Diego Airport Public Art Advisory Committee. She also was on the County of San Diego Historic Site Board and served 9 years on the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. She is currently on the Boards of the San Diego Maritime Museum and Groundwork San Diego and chairs the San Diego Environment+Design Council. She co-authored the White Paper on San Diego Canyonlands.

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Jim Marich

Trained in biology (B.A. Cornell) and biochemistry (M.S. Texas A & M), Jim has been active in Friends of Switzer Canyon since 1999. He has lived in San Diego since 1985 and has developed an acute appreciation for the unique flora and fauna of southern California and Baja California Norte. During his travels, he has witnessed the worldwide problem of habitat degradation brought on by human activity especially through the introduction of non-native species. This awareness has motivated him to play an active role in the preservation and restoration of San Diego’s open spaces. As a former president of Great Outdoors, a volunteer GLBT outdoor recreational group, Jim has actively promoted participation in the natural environment. In 1987, he received a Congressional Service Award for work in establishing a community garden in Normal Heights. Jim’s professional career spans more than 25 years in the development of human medicines and diagnostics. He is the president of Marich & Associates Consulting, providing services for drug development and manufacturing. When Jim is not working or volunteering he likes to hike and camp in Baja California.