Soapy Mulholland joined Sequoia Riverlands Trust as Executive Director in March 2002. She brings to SRT a unique history with experience in ranch management, land development, and agriculture that guides her conservation vision.
From 1989-2014, she served as general manager of River Valley Ranch in Springville, California which her family has owned for more than 55 years. She owned and operated the McCarthy Creek Ranch in Porterville for 15 years. Currently she owns and manages McCarthy Creek Ranch in Springville, CA as well as her family's ranch there. Through her sole proprietorship, Sopac and Associates, she actively engaged in the field of real estate entitlements and government and agency land use.
Soapy currently serves as Vice Chair of the PG&E Pacific Forest, Watershed Lands Stewardship Council; Vice Chair of the Leavens Family Ranches LLC Board of Directors; the Executive Committee of Tejon Ranch Conservancy Board of Directors; the Statewide Blueprint Committee; the California Ag Visioning Committee; the Aldo Leopold Award selection committee; the Sierra Nevada Conservancy cabinet; the SGMA Advisory Committee for the City of Visalia; and the Graham Osborn Ditch Water Company Board, on which she has served for 20 years. She is a member of the California Cattlemen’s Association, Rotary Club of Visalia, and the Farm Bureau.
She previously served on Terra Firma as one of the original six members, as well as the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, as interim President of the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation, and as Director of Development for the California Agricultural Education Foundation, later serving on their Board of Directors. Soapy lives in Springville, California.
Hilary Dustin has a lifelong interest in practical, sustainable relationships between people and their natural habitats. She has explored this in academia, government, private business and in the nonprofit sector with Sequoia Riverlands Trust. Prior to joining SRT as the Lead Land Steward in December 2003, Hilary received a B.A. in Biology from Cornell University and an M.S. in Range Management from the University of California at Davis; spent 15 years with the U.S. Forest Service as a range conservationist, timber sale planner, district ranger and public affairs officer; and co-owned a medium-sized architecture and planning firm. Her major projects at SRT have included reclaiming a 152-acre retired gravel mine, crafting conservation easements for properties ranging in size from 10 to 450 acres, collaborating with grazing lessees on a variety of range improvements at SRT preserves; and serving on an interdisciplinary team to develop a climate-adapted conservation plan for the southern Sierra Nevada and Tehachapi Mountains. In her current role as Conservation Director she oversees SRT’s land acquisition and stewardship programs. Hilary’s work has allowed her to live in rural communities in central California, New York and Montana, giving her a great appreciation for the diversity and productivity of the landscapes she is privileged to care for through SRT.
Todd Slinde brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Sequoia Rivelands Trust. Todd has a degree in Plant Science, with an emphasis in ornamental horticulture, from California State University, Fresno. He brings an award winning career in Horticulture, Nursery Management, Sales and Marketing and Sustainability to Sequoia Riverlands Trust. With over 30 years of nursery and business experience, Todd has managed a large retail garden center as well as leading wholesale efforts by managing education and sales staff in the nursery and horticulture industry. Todd is a two term past president of the San Joaquin Chapter of the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers as well as that chapter’s Young Nurseryman of the Year in 1994. In previous employment, Todd has been honored with The Chairman’s Award, The President’s Award, The Circle of Excellence Award and The Environmental Leadership Award. Todd enjoys outdoor activities such as nature exploration, hiking, camping, sports and gardening as well as reading and writing poetry. Todd is also Founder, President and CEO of Eagle’s NEST US, a faith based non-profit which provides education and leads individuals in efforts of better environmental integrity and conservation. Todd resides in Visalia with his wife Terry and numerous pets. They have two grown children who have “left the nest.”
Aaron Collins brings an extensive communications and marketing background to SRT, both as ADDY Award-winning writer, public relations and marketing manager, and graphic designer recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. His longtime publishers include Gannett Corporation, McClatchy Newspapers, and numerous California-based monthlies. Locally, readers of Lifestyle Magazine, Valley Response Magazine, and Fresno Magazine will know his many cover stories on arts & culture, urban planning & public policy, and medical & first responder subjects. A longtime resident of Portland, Oregon, Aaron lived in the Pearl District, a New Urbanist smart growth laboratory where he used his communications skills in various fields including Fortune 500 financial services with clients such as Nike, Boeing, and the U.S. Army, among many others. Additionally, he has served on nonprofit arts and political action boards, and worked in political campaign and contemporary art gallery administration. He is cofounder of First Arts; the founder of the Visalia Visual Chronicle, a publicly-owned, privately-funded art collection for the City of Visalia, California; and past president of the Arts Council of Tulare County. His hobbies include painting, music composition, Jack Russell Terriers, and road trips. He is a native of Exeter, California.
Adam Livingston joined Sequoia Riverlands Trust in 2011 and now serves as SRT’s Director of Planning and Policy. As coordinator of the Southern Sierra Partnership, Adam is actively involved in land use policy outreach. His policy work is informed by experience in conservation planning, including use of ArcGIS to integrate habitat and agricultural conservation priorities across the Southern San Joaquin Valley. He researches land use and development policy on the Valley floor, and collaborates with fellow land trusts on planning efforts. In addition, Adam coordinated SRT’s successful application for Land Trust Alliance accreditation. He holds an Honors Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and classics from Xavier University, a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, and a Master of Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at University of California at Santa Barbara. He is the author of Paths to Prosperity for the Southern Sierra and Southern San Joaquin Valley: Capitalizing on the Economic Benefits of Land Conservation and Compact Growth. Most recently, he authored Sustainable Communities Strategies and Conservation: Results from the First Round and Policy Recommendations for Future Rounds.
SRT Stewardship Director Ann Huber is a plant ecologist who specializes in rangeland ecology and rare plants. She holds a Masters degree in Biology from CalPoly State University San Luis Obispo, where her graduate work focused on weed science and the restoration ecology of an endangered wetland thistle. She has been involved in plant-related research and land management projects for both public and private sectors in California. The majority of her experience is in California rangelands (oak woodlands and California annual grasslands), however she also has extensive experience in wetlands, riparian habitats, chaparral, and mixed conifer forests of the southern Sierra Nevada. Ann is trained in plant identification, soils and soil moisture, hydrology, vegetation mapping, prescribed fire, wetland delineation, biological assessments, rare plant surveys, stream habitat typing (for salmonids), macroinvertebrate sampling, and stream and riparian restoration. She has worked with numerous agencies including Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (monitoring prescribed fire effects on vegetation), Pt Reyes National Seashore (wetland delineation and vegetation mapping), US Geological Survey (stream water quality and quantity), and CA Department of Fish and Wildlife (salmonid stream habitat surveys, in-stream and riparian restoration), and Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District. In the private sector, she worked for an environmental consulting firm in San Rafael conducting wetland delineations, biological assessments, and rare plant surveys. She also managed the rangeland ecology lab at U.C. Berkeley under Dr. Allen-Diaz. While at UC Berkeley, Ann also served as the academic science coordinator for the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project, a multi-disciplinary research study looking at the effects of US Forest Service management.
Ben grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley of California at Midland School near the Los Padres National Forest in the inland, hot valleys, and canyons of the San Rafael Range. After college at University of Montana and UC Santa Barbara and an M.A. in Anthropology, Ben returned to Midland as Ranch Manager. Ben managed the farm and ranch for 15 years, then went to Deep Springs College for two years as Farm Manager.
In May 2017 Ben joined the Sequoia Riverlands Trust team and finally moved to a cabin he and his wife Laurie have been working on for 17 years near Springville. Working with cattle, horses, people, and good dogs to accomplish mutual goals surrounding conservation are the things that Ben values and looks forward to in the years to come in the San Joaquin Valley.
Bud Darwin utilizes his 30 years of skills and knowledge of working with youth as SRT Education and Volunteer Director. His extensive experience has established a well-rounded perspective regarding the social, emotional, and physical needs of youth. He has facilitated outdoor adventure activities, having safely organized and led hundreds of backpacking, kayaking, and rock climbing expeditions. He has spent thousands of hours using experiential education to create engaging activities that provide participants with fun opportunities for learning, reflection, and self-discovery. He is committed to using and protecting our natural spaces to teach environmental education, conservation, and Leave No Trace practices since 1975.
Camdilla Wirth, Conservation Biologist
Camdilla Wirth joined SRT in 2015 as Conservation Biologist to support SRT’s mitigation site management efforts, particularly in the Carrizo Plain area and west side of the San Joaquin Valley. She adds expertise and experience with the relevant geography, wildlife species and survey methods, complementing existing expertise with plants.
Diane Aden Hayes comes to SRT after a 20-year career in journalism. She has worked for an alternative weekly in a college town and at daily newspapers in the Sun-Times and Gannett groups, serving time in almost every newsroom position from copy desk to reporting, from page design to executive editor, and in the features, investigations, business, and local news departments.
A native of Northwest Indiana, Diane came to Visalia in 2013 after spending most of her career in the Chicago area. She became interested in the nonprofit world after going through Leadership Northwest Indiana, a year-long program promoting leadership through service. Her love for the great outdoors comes from growing up near the Indiana dunes on the shores of Lake Michigan, and land conservation and urban gardening are among her favorite causes. She is also on board of the Sequoia Parks Conservancy.
Diane is a big fan of social media and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @dianeadenhayes. For face to face interactions, look for her walking a pair of Cardigan Welsh corgis all over the Valley and beyond.
Jonathan Vaughn, Land Steward
Jonathan Vaughn was born in Kansas and grew up near Kansas City, MO. He attended Baker University in Kansas, where he got a bachelor’s degree in German and biology, later working in Iowa studying grassland ecology for Iowa State University. He studied abroad in Germany and Austria in the process. After college, he joined the Nature Conservancy in Fort Hood, Texas, monitoring the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. He then attended Western Illinois University for his Master's in parasite ecology. Jonathan came to SRT via the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) following a seasonal position at Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico, home of Smokey Bear. He is elated to have the opportunity to develop his interests in ecological restoration and horticulture for Sequoia Riverlands Trust.
Marilyn Martin, Executive Assistant
Marilyn Martin joined the SRT team in July 2014 and brings many years of experience as an administrative assistant. Marilyn is the “go to” person for day-to-day operations. She, along with her husband Bob, raised their children, often taking them camping on vacations and many three-day holiday weekends. They now share their love of camping with their granddaughter. “We are very fortunate to have the SRT preserves and the beautiful Sierra Nevada so close by to take advantage of what nature has to offer!”
Melody Mattos, Director of Finance and Human Resources
Melody Mattos came to SRT as Director of Finance & Human Resources in the summer of 2016 after spending 16 years in the non-profit performing arts industry of Southern California. Holding positions such as Accounting Manager, Business Manager, Director of Administration and eventually Controller, Melody honed solid finance, accounting and leadership skills in organizations with operating budgets ranging from $1M to $50M dollars.
While in Los Angeles, she also served on her local chapters PIHRA board as well as the Metropolitan Opera Audition Committee of Greater Los Angeles. A classically trained vocalist, Melody enjoys all kinds of music and lives vicariously through her husband, a world-class musician. She also is a life-long crafter and loves all kinds of paper crafting, sewing and baking.
Melody and her husband are currently renovating a 90 year old farmhouse south of Fresno and care for a feral cat colony.
Regina Ivie, Accounting Coordinator
Regina Ivie, Accounting Coordinator, joined the SRT Finance Department in 2016. Regina handles a variety of day-to-day financial duties. She brings the wealth of 20 years small business financial administration while simultaneously attending college and working in the insurance industry. After she worked for 15 years in health and auto, she left the insurance industry in 2014 to return to accounting. She has enrolled in college to pursue her degree.
Regina was born and raised in this area, living here all but eight years of her life here. She has two grown children and a grandchild. After 25 years apart she married her high school sweetheart. She enjoys gardening, long walks and travel, but mostly cherishes making memories with family and friends.
AMERICORPS MEMBERS - Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP)
Vincent Drew, Volunteer Coordinator
As a native of Visalia and a longtime visitor at Kaweah Oaks Preserve, Vincent Drew is keen on the opportunity to work for SRT. Serving as Volunteer Coordinator through the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership, Vincent hopes to establish a connection between the public and its natural world. He carries his combined wisdom through experience working on farms, construction sites, in the classroom, a botanical garden, at museums and in art galleries. He attended College of the Sequoias then University of California Berkeley to earn a B.A. as a double major in Anthropology and Art Practice. Vincent utilizes his interdisciplinary background to fulfill a desire to enrich and educate the local community as he shares his undying love for the outdoors.
From the moment she could walk, Chelsea was out exploring the foothills of the Southern Sierra Nevada. It was on the small farm grew up on where her passion for plants and animals began to bud.
Only when attending Sonoma State University did Chelsea realize her passion for conservation. In 2016, she received a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Planning with an emphasis in Conservation and Restoration with minor studies in Biology. While pursuing her degree, her intern work ranged from GIS mapping of invasive species to leading educational tours for youth.
She hopes her passion, knowledge, and experience will be a guiding light along her path with Sequoia Riverlands Trust.
Ian Taylor is originally from Cleveland, Ohio where he became an Eagle Scout in 2004. Following high school, Ian worked as summer wilderness canoe guide in the French River Delta in Ontario, Canada. He served as an EMT in the Cleveland area until 2009, returning to Ontario each summer to lead youth in the wilderness.
He attended Hocking College in Southeast Ohio, earning degrees in eco-tourism/adventure travel and wildlife resource management. Later he attended Ohio University where he studied wildlife conservation biology.
Ian joined SRT via the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) program after working as nature and outdoor living skills coordinator for an Ohio nonprofit youth organization, and as the environmental education specialist for Bradford Woods, the adjunct outdoor education facility at Indiana University. While there, he became assistant director of the Ohio summer program and authored his own nature and outdoor living skills program and contributed to the environmental education curriculum at Bradford Woods.
ADDITIONAL SRT PERSONNEL
LONNIE BROWN, Dry Creek Preserve Caretaker