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

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.

Xena Grossman
Development Associate

Xena grew up on the East Coast but after one too many snowstorms she and her husband decided it was time to follow their dream and move to Southern California. During her six years in Ojai, she has explored many local trails with her dog and young daughter, forming strong connections to the land. Prior to coming to the OVLC, Xena worked as a project manager in clinical research. She is excited to transfer these skills to help further advancement at the OVLC.

Xena has traveled extensively, both in the US and internationally, including a two-year stint in Paraguay as an agroforestry Peace Corps volunteer. She is looking forward to the day when her young daughter can carry a pack so they can go on their next adventure.

Ron Singer
Nursery Manager

Ron, a lifetime New Yorker, was dragged kicking and screaming to Ojai by his lovely wife Elisa in 2007. He has been hiking every day with Luke the Aussie ever since. Since 2010 he has grown over 20,000 native plants from seeds that he gathered in OVLC preserves. His favorite native plants are Wooly Blue-curls and Humboldt lilies – although he grows dozens of other plants as well. When he isn’t lurking in the nursery he enjoys crossword puzzles, the music of Frank Zappa and agonizing over the New York Jets.

Nathan Wickstrum
Communications & Outreach Manager

A native of Ojai, Nathan spends his time hiking, photographing prehistoric archaeological sites, swimming in creeks, and taking in the pink moment at the end of the day. When Nathan is not working, he volunteers for the NPS Cultural Resources program in the Santa Monica Mountains archiving at the park’s museum collections and surveying out in the field with the Archaeology team.

Nathan graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Film Studies and he continues to utilize his degree in the form of digital cultural preservation and as a contributing photographer for the conservancy.

Caitlyn Barrera
Restoration Program Manager

Caitlyn received her BA in Environmental Studies from California State University Monterey Bay and developed an affinity for plants, wildlife, and community while pursuing her education. She interned at the Santa Lucia Conservancy, researching methods for detecting the cryptic and endangered California tiger salamander. She also assisted many other wildlife conservation projects and restoration events put on by community partners. She continues to stay connected with the community she found in Monterey and looks forward to building relationships with the community of Ojai.

Linda Wilkin
Land Steward

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!

Kevin McLeod
Field Crew Supervisor

Wait a minute, is that Mary Poppins watering an oak tree!? Nope, it’s just Kevin with his umbrella.

At a quick glance, he’s just a man that knows the importance of limiting his exposure to the sun, but when you peel back the layers of his onion, you’ll see that Kevin embodies so many other special character traits that separate him from the pack. A proclaimed Eagle Scout, even though he really only ever achieved the rank of Life Scout, Kevin lives his life by always standing tall (literally) even when he falls short. Known across the Ojai Valley for his five-star snake wrangling services and expertise in bird box installation, it has been confirmed by renowned online family history resources that Kevin’s bloodline traces back to the Scottish roots of the Indiana Jones family, and unsurprisingly, Tarzan. If you happen to spot Kevin out on the preserves, he will more likely than not have a rope in hand, ready to swing from the trees and lasso your off-leash dog at any time.

A natural born climber, Kevin’s expertise with ropes is the result of his 18-year climbing stint. During that time, Kevin climbed around the world, managed a local climbing gym, and was an instructor for the Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Foundation where he taught youth the safety principles and ethics of climbing. Today, Kevin is a loving husband to his wife Jillian and a father to their two beautiful boys, Sean and Connor. Kevin is best known at OVLC for the innovative techniques he implemented back in 2015-2017 that helped shape the foundation for many of the restoration practices that we use today. There’s no doubt that if you need a hand, Kevin is your man!

Mayra Diaz
Restoration Field Crew

Born and raised in Ventura County, Mayra went to community college at Ventura College and then transferred to Cal Poly Pomona where she obtained her B.S. in Biological Sciences. It was there where she developed a love and passion for nature and native plants of California. After college, Mayra returned to Ventura County where she volunteered at a few local organizations (one of them being OVLC!) doing plantings, pulling weeds and trail maintenance. She landed an internship working for Catalina Island Conservancy, and it was there she found her passion and love for plant restoration. Mayra lived on the island for four months, and she worked on native plant restoration projects around the island as well as the native plant nursery. Mayra also worked on invasive plant removal and invasive plant surveys down drainages. Mayra also gained more experience working with invasive plant removal under Channel Island Restoration where she worked on an Arundo removal project in Ventura County. Mayra is excited to be part of the OVLC team, and being a part of the restoration efforts for the valley. In her free time, you can find her hiking, and enjoying charcuterie boards.

Nicole Kabey
Restoration Field Crew

Nicole was born and raised in Newbury Park, Ca. Much of her childhood into adulthood was spent exploring the many trails within the Santa Monica Mountain Range, which is what fostered her love and care for wildlife and the world around her. She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara in 2016 with a BS in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology, Natural History and Evolution. After graduating, Nicole found herself in Ohio for four years working in Environmental Education and Wildlife Rehabilitation. Now back in California, Nicole is excited to be a part of the OVLC team and looks forward to working to restore the beautiful Ojai Valley.