To Our Ojai Community:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »

About Our Staff

Tom Maloney
Executive Director

Tom Maloney has been working in conservation for 25 years. During his career, Tom worked for numerous conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, and the Tejon Ranch Conservancy. During his six years as the Executive Director of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, he led the acquisition of over 100,000 acres of working lands conservation easements, wrote, negotiated and received a $15.7 million state grant for land acquisition, led the Accreditation process and raised over $2 million in private support for the conservancy.

Tom received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Boston University and his Masters of Science in Resources Management and Administration from Antioch University New England. When not working, Tom can be found out on the land. He is an ardent birder, hiker, and naturalist as well as an inept surfer. He is excited to get to know Ojai and plans to lead bird walks with longtime OVLC supporter Jesse Grantham.

Tania Parker
Deputy Director

Tania grew up in the Ojai Valley and after graduating from The Thacher School, she obtained her degree in Forestry and Natural Resources Management Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She then later went on to earn a certificate in graphic design from UCSB. In her role with the OVLC, she connects local and regional supporters with land conservation efforts in Ojai. She came to nature in childhood through the Ojai Valley’s abundant open lands where hidden swimming holes and rocky caves were treated like secret mining claims; each special and worthy of protection. Tania’s path to land conservation was along the scenic route. Starting with her degree in Forestry and Natural Resources Management she passed through jobs in sales, backcountry horseback guiding, personal training, and graphic design. Tania combines her experiences among local people and land with an eye of a graphic artist to interpret both the physical and cultural landscapes of the Ojai Valley in ways that create strong bonds with donors and the community. In her free time, Tania and her husband Tobias can often be found hiking or climbing on the OVLC trails and preserves with their dog Topa, or exploring other favorite outdoor destinations throughout the western states.

Brendan Taylor
Director of Field Programs

Brendan is from Blue Bell, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. After spending his whole life there, he went off to study History at the University of Maryland, College Park before stumbling upon work in the outdoors. After interning on trails for the Student Conservation Association in Massachusetts, California, and Washington state, Brendan then led crews, before going on to work for the Pacific Crest Trail Association, based here in southern California. By this time, he fell in love with working on trails and leading volunteers, so he went on to be Supervisor of the Volunteer Trail Program in New Hampshire and Maine for the Appalachian Mountain Club for 5 years in addition to earning a Master’s degree in Parks and Recreation Resource Management from Slippery Rock University.

Brendan took an early retirement to ride his Surly Disc Trucker bicycle around the world, cycling through Asia, Australia, and Africa during 2017. Now out of retirement, Brendan is excited to get back into trail work and stewardship with OVLC.  Though you’ll always find him on his bicycle – happy trails!

Dan Pizano
Operations Director

Dan moved to Southern California after living overseas to pursue an aviation career in international disaster relief.  His academic and career experience are in technology, aviation, and astrophysics. Prior to moving abroad, Dan worked at multiple Silicon Valley start-ups in software development, communication networks, and business intelligence. He balances his technical work with a passion for the outdoors and trail running. As an ultra trail runner, he combines his running and technical skills to reach remote areas to collect information about trail networks, infrastructure, and status on OVLC Preserves. Dan is dedicated to OVLC’s mission and is excited about evolving OVLC’s operations. Dan can often be found running on the trails and ridgelines in the Los Padres National Forest from Ojai to Solvang or the Santa Monica Mountains from Point Mugu to Santa Monica.

Vivon Crawford
Restoration Program Director

Vivon grew up in San Jose, California and moved to Santa Barbara for college. She obtained a BS in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and continued on to pursue a Master of Environmental Science and Management at the UCSB Bren School. In graduate school, Vivon was a Sustainable Water Markets Fellow and focused her studies on the economics and policies of water use in the Colorado River Basin. Since then, Vivon lived in Argentina and worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society to develop a drone-based wildlife monitoring pilot program. This work took her to remote reserves throughout Patagonia, where she would spend weeks in the field with researchers, ranchers, and park rangers surveying wildlife ranging from guanacos to sea lions. One of her favorite projects was conducting annual drone surveys of nesting albatrosses and penguins in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).

Vivon loves going on road trips, pitching her tent under the stars, and tying flies on the river with her foxy Shiba Inu, Buta Mallin. Now that she is back in the Central Coast, Vivon is excited to explore the Ojai Valley. If you see Vivon and Buta on the trails, be sure to stop and say hi!

Adam Morrison, PhD
Development Manager

Adam grew up in Wyoming and his childhood spent in the Big Horn Mountains instilled a love of the mountains and open spaces. He attended the University of Denver for a BA in Religious Studies after returning from a year-long youth exchange in Thailand. Throughout his academic career he balanced his academic studies with work as a seasonal wildland firefighter, spending the better part of a decade working across the Mountain West for the BLM, USFS, and NPS. Adam moved to California with his wife Kate to pursue an MA and PhD in Religious Studies, completing the program in 2018 with a dissertation focused on nineteenth-century legal debates over the practice of polygamy. After three years in academic administration, working on public humanities programs offered by UC Santa Barbara, the open spaces of Ojai called (and the commute was slowly killing him)! A longtime resident of Ojai, Adam can be found out on the trails with his wife and two kids, Waylon and Kally.

Nathan Wickstrum
Communications & Outreach Manager

 Born and raised in the Ojai Valley, Nathan was very fortunate to grow up within a quarter mile-radius of two of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s (OVLC) most well-known preserves where he spent a considerable amount of his childhood exploring the land. Going on hikes with family, riding bikes with friends, and swimming in the river on hot summer days are just a few of the activities he remembers fondly. However, life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, and Nathan admits that as a kid he built bike jumps in the Meadows (prior to the Conservancy owning it) and moved rocks in the Ventura River to build a “lazy river” between deep pools. Today, however, Nathan is putting all of that creative mojo to good use as OVLC’s Communications & Outreach Manager. 

During his five years at the Conservancy, Nathan has held positions in the Restoration, Stewardship, and now currently the Development department. While his duties have changed over the years, one main contribution has stayed constant; his photography. Through his photographs, Nathan strives to convey the beauty of OVLC land and the importance of protecting Ojai’s open spaces for current and future generations. He hopes his images will inspire people to visit the preserves, connect with nature, and get involved with stewarding the land for the betterment of the community and the environment.

Carrie Drevenstedt
Development Database Coordinator

Carrie has lived in California for almost 15 years and loves living so close to both the ocean and mountains. She has a Master’s degree in Neuroscience and prior to joining OVLC, had a career in healthcare data and operations, helping support patients and physicians. She currently owns her own research firm but felt like something was missing. She’s been a longtime fan of OVLC so when the opportunity to join OVLC staff as a database coordinator came up, she knew this was her chance to join an organization she believes in and meet others in the community with shared goals.  She’s thrilled to be a new member of the team. 

She loves to explore the outdoors as much as possible with her husband, camping, hiking, watching wildlife (especially whales), and visiting state and national parks. She is also an ANFT certified Forest Therapy guide, helping people access all the health benefits of connecting with nature in a slow and meaningful way. Maybe you’ll see her out there wandering the trails and hugging a tree or two.

Christine Gau
Land Protection Specialist

Christine grew up in the South and was raised among fireflies on the wooded shores of a lake, which first sparked her love of nature. On a summer vacation, she proudly became a National Junior Park Ranger at Acadia National Park and still has the badge to this day. She obtained her BA in Political Science from Columbia University and went on to pursue a graduate degree in International Relations at the University of Washington. After several years of hating the corporate world, Christine went on to get her law degree at Cornell University and served as a Public Defender with the Legal Aid Society of New York before running away to Hawaii to surf and teach yoga. Along her winding journey back to conservation and to OVLC, she has made stops in the tech, animal conservation, and academia spaces. She is currently a part-time faculty member at Santa Monica College. After moving to the area with her partner, she fell in love with the magic of the Ojai Valley and has been exploring its natural spaces ever since. She is honored to join OVLC in caring for the land.

Most days you’ll find Christine tending to her native garden, biking along the coast, surfing (but only when it’s sunny), or roaming the trails in the region. She’d love to say hello to your dog.

Linda Wilkin
Preserve Manager

A local California Native herself, Linda has been a native plant and outdoor enthusiast for as long as she can remember. This passion for plants led her to farming, habitat restoration, and nursery work. In her free time, you can find Linda at the beach with her dog, Oak (who also goes by Quercus agrifolia), backpacking to explore California’s diverse ecology, and gardening with natives and edibles in her home garden. Linda is continuing her studies in Environmental Science with a focus on Botany. The trails of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy have fostered her love for the natural world and she looks forward to helping protect them for native species to thrive and for people to enjoy! If you see her out on the trails be sure to ask her about her favorite flora and fauna or the next trail to explore. She will surely talk your ear off!

Sophie McLean
Native Plant Specialist

Sophie was born in Ventura County and was fortunate to spend the early years of her life exploring the Santa Monica Mountains, and Channel Islands. By foot and sail, she grew to learn the raw beauty this land had to offer. Sophie began her love for plants working on a sustainable and biodynamic farm in high school, and carried that education to Montana State University studying Plant Biology. Her education of plants opened up worlds in botany, restoration science, and sustainable food systems, along with interests in the Spanish language and creative writing. Now back in her homeland, she strives to give back to the land that raised her as well as striving to understand the ecology and botany of the Ojai Valley. Outside of work, Sophie can be found hiking, reading, and enjoying the sun. She hopes to become a part of the community by spending her time alongside family, friends, and nature.

Rhett Walker
Development Associate

Rhett feels extremely grateful to have grown up in the Ojai Valley. Exploring the creeks and hillsides and attending the beautiful campuses of San Antonio Elementary and Matilija Junior High instilled in him a love of and connection to the natural world. He graduated from UCSB with a BA in History and may still someday put it to use as a teacher. 

It took moving to Washington, DC, and living there for 9 years for Rhett to fully appreciate how gorgeous the Ojai Valley truly is. When back in town visiting family, Rhett was super impressed by how well the local trails had been cared for, the extensiveness of the restoration projects at the Ojai Meadows Preserve, and how many new areas around the Valley had been opened up for access. After moving back, Rhett wanted to volunteer for the organization stewarding the land that he was becoming reacquainted with. It only took a few months working on trails, before Rhett knew he wanted to work more closely with the awesome people he met at OVLC. Alas, today Rhett is putting his energy into the protection and restoration of this special place.

Rhett enjoys hiking, biking, camping and learning about native edible and medicinal plants.

Mia Riddle
Rewild Program Coordinator

Mia Riddle is a California Native whose curiosity has led her all over the state, to Brooklyn, and back again. After working in nonprofits, music and web design, she was bitten by the farming bug and spent ten years working in sustainable agriculture. She moved to Ojai to be closer to family, where the familiar flora of the region rekindled a passion for native plants. This led to studies in ecological restoration and completion of a Graduate Certificate in Natural Resource Management. She is looking forward to expanding the native plant nursery production at the OVLC. You can find her biking around the Meadows and River Preserves with her rambunctious, flower-loving three year old.

Martin Schenker
Restoration Field Crew Manager

Martin grew up exploring Ojai and is tap-rooted into experiencing local ecology. His curiosity and admiration for the diversity of the area inspired him to devote his time towards learning more about the pillars of life.

Over the years he absorbed perspective and experience in analyzing the language of the land. Immersing himself into the story of sediment and seed, Martin enjoys traveling through the grooves of time and space. You can catch him out on the preserves admiring the various associations of vegetation and unique geology found throughout the valley.

Elana Denver
Restoration Field Crew