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 »


By on July 11, 2022 in Featured, News, Newsletter

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. 

Jonathan LaPearl
Restoration Field Crew

Originally from Massachusetts, Jonathan attended film school at Hofstra University and once upon a time worked in digital media distribution in New York City. He moved to California to advance his screenwriting career, but instead fell in love with the wild places of the American West. After thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Jonathan resolved to pursue a career in conservation, following in the footsteps of his personal hero, John Wesley Powell (but without losing the arm). 

After relocating to northern California, Jonathan began working for Lassen National Forest as a wildland firefighter. His time in the Forest Service gave him an appreciation for public service, hands-on forestry experience, and a greater understanding of the effects of human encroachment on the environment. 

Having most recently worked for Los Padres National Forest, Jonathan is excited to be taking the next step in his career by joining OVLC’s restoration program. He looks forward to applying his professional experience to the position, while expanding his knowledge of environmental science, geographic information systems, and other scientific disciplines. 

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