Our Central Coast staff based out of Arroyo Grande
Don brings a passion for California's natural heritage, along with a history of building teams to take on big challenges. As a pioneer in the field of human and social resilience, he has helped city and county governments, military personnel, first responders, corporations, universities, and nonprofits to become more resilient. At CCSE, Don works to build and share understanding about the realities of California's Central Coast environment, because communities that are well-adapted to nature are more resilient in every way. Don is a Certified Chaparral Naturalist, and a seasoned volunteer with numerous environmental organizations. He is a lifelong California resident, a waterman, and a relentless student of nature. Don's wife Kim is an integrative healthcare practitioner. They can often be found hiking beloved trails, or looking for steelhead in California creeks.
Watershed Projects Manager
Steph has been Central Coast Salmon Enhancement's Watershed Projects Manager since 2003. Her passion is helping CCSE think like a watershed by accomplishing the completion of watershed management plans for Nipomo Creek, Arroyo Grande Creek, Pismo Creek, Santa Rosa Creek, Big Sur River and the San Antonio and Naciemiento Rivers with partner agencies on the Central Coast. When not working at CCSE, Steph is busy with the Carrizo Plain Conservancy and living at Tierra Nueva Cohousing in Oceano. She enjoys hiking, reading, and eating at her favorite restaurant, the Common House at Tierra Nueva.
Watershed Projects Lead Scientist
Aleksandra has a B.S. in hydrology with an emphasis in aquatic biology from UCSB, and a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UW. She has 15 years of private and public sector experience in analyzing, designing, constructing, and monitoring all aspects of stream restoration and river management projects along the west coast of the United States. Aleksandra also has experience conducting and publishing research pertaining to stream and river restoration. When not busily working on CCSE projects, Aleksandra teaches hydrology and geology at California's Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. In her free time Aleksandra loves fly fishing, skiing, hiking, and exploring the natural world with her family and friends.
Watershed Education Coordinator
Tosha Punches is a credentialed K-6 educator and has previously served as the Program Director of a local children's STEM discovery center. She has collaborated with local college, university, and industry professionals to bring STEM education into the lives of local children through formal and informal methods. Tosha is currently working with CCSE through the Trout in the Classroom program. She is a full time mom and co-creator of the STEAM Trunk Initiative. She is passionate about education, loves to explore nature, dance, create art, and read with her little future planet care-taker.
Watershed Education Coordinator
Ellen is currently a fourth year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo studying Environmental Management & Protection with a minor in Statistics. She has previous experience in environmental education, which she hopes to expand on during her time at CCSE. In her free time, Ellen enjoys skateboarding, hiking, reading, and exploring new places. She hopes to continue educating younger generations about environmental science and conservation to work towards building a more sustainable society in the future.
Evelyn Barajas –Perez graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2015, majoring in Biology. Initially she intended to pursue a career in the medical field, focusing on becoming a doctor. After volunteering at several hospitals she realized it wasn’t the path for her. Afterwards, Evelyn began working in a conifer lab with Dr. Jeff Diaz and grew an appreciation for nature. It was then that she decided to pursue a career in helping people; but, not by diagnosing illnesses but by protecting the home of all humans, Earth. This led to her applying to the Watershed stewards Program to which she was placed at the San Joaquin River Parkway site. Now she is placed at the San Luis Obispo Steelhead initiative continuing on with her second year in the WSP program.
Tim Scully graduated from Humboldt State University in spring of 2017, majoring in Environmental Management & Protection. While at Humboldt State Scully became president of the Natural Resources Club, a club dedicated to participating in ecological restoration events around Humboldt County every Saturday. Scully also participated in the Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) at Humboldt State as a compost operator. He joined the Watershed Stewards Program in order to continue his passion of environmental stewardship and to protect California’s watersheds.
Watershed Education Intern
Emily is currently a 3rd year at Cal Poly majoring in Environmental Earth Science, as well as a minor in GIS and Anthropology/Geography. Emily started interning with CCSE at the beginning of the year, to expand her experiences in environmental education. She believes that gaining an interconnected relationship with nature and everyday life is an important step towards keeping the environment clean and safe for future generations. Emily also enjoys hiking, biking, dancing, and watercoloring in her free time.
Watershed Projects Intern
Jun graduated from UCSB in 2015 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. His emphasis was in Geography but his main focus is in planning. Through the natural association humans have with the environment he believes our communities may learn to adapt with nature in positive ways. This starts with a passionate connection to the environment and his is snowboarding. His dream is to one day plan mountain resorts so that they may function with fewer impacts, while protecting the snow pack and key watersheds.