Who We Are

Meet Our Staff

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  • 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.

    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; Secretary of Tejon Ranch Conservancy Board of Directors; the Aldo Leopold Award selection committee; the SGMA Advisory Committees for five Tulare County GSAs; 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 is a registered California Real Estate Broker.

    Soapy previously served on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Statewide Blueprint Committee, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy Cabinet, the California Ag Visioning Committee, as Interim President of the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation and a Board Member of the California Agricultural Education Foundation. For 10 years, Soapy operated Sopac & Associates, a real estate development company based in San Diego that served the western United States.

  • 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 collaboration with PBS Nature and ValleyPBS produced "Nature's Keepers," a 30-minute documentary about SRT's important education work. 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; 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 successfully coordinated SRT’s application for Land Trust Alliance accreditation, as well as the recent renewal application. 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.

  • As Conservation Program Manager, SRT’s Adam Qian organizes the mountain of information, tasks and annual reports related to SRT-managed habitat mitigation sites. His expertise in spatial data management and mapping (e.g., SRT’s land holdings, giant kangaroo rat “precinct” locations, rare plant populations, grazing use patterns, etc.) is essential to our operations. He joined SRT in 2017.

    Adam is a graduate of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara. He is originally from Hefei, China. For his undergraduate degree he studied environmental economics and management at Renmin University of China in Beijing. He has researched non-point pollution control and city-wide coal consumption, and worked closely with government environmental protection departments as well as private consulting firms including AECOM Asia. At Bren he specialized in Coastal Marine Resource Management and Conservation Planning.

    Adam brings perspective to SRT on everything from organization of government jurisdictions, to the order of first vs. last names, to where to find the best Dim Sum. And based on the YouTube videos in which you’ll find of him performing in Mandopop singing competitions, it’s clear he has considerable talent. In the U.S., he performs nationally both competitively and professionally.

  • 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 Archaeology, 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 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.

  • Courtney Barnes, a native of Tulare County, joined the SRT team in 2016. Courtney brings with her over 30 years of experience in the fields of title insurance, escrow and real estate sales. While employed in the title industry in both Tulare and Kings counties, Courtney held several positions and was one of the first employees of Chicago Title to become a “Certified Title Officer.” She later became an Escrow Officer and Area Manager for a title company in Tulare County. Courtney became a Licensed Real Estate Agent in 2007, specializing in residential and commercial real estate.

    Courtney and her husband Lloyd reside in Lemon Cove where they grow citrus and give shelter to many wandering dogs and cats. They have three grown children and three wonderful grandchildren. She and her husband love camping and fishing every chance they get.

  • 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.

  • Ian grew up on the California Central Coast where he spent much of his childhood outdoors hiking with family and playing sports. He received his Bachelor's degree in Wildlife from Humboldt State, graduating summa cum laude in 2016. Since 2015, Ian has worked on a variety of projects where he has, among other things, collared and tracked North American porcupines using VHF and GPS telemetry and performed mark-recapture studies of federally endangered giant kangaroo rats and state threatened San Joaquin antelope squirrels. In addition to his field work, Ian has experience with a variety of GIS tools including ArcGIS, QGIS and R.

    In April, 2017 Ian joined the Sequoia Riverlands Trust team as a wildlife technician. He looks forward to working towards a world where people and nature coexist sustainably. Ian lives in Paso Robles with his wife Brianna who works as the wildlife biologist for the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and together they enjoy traveling, wildlife-ing and spending time in the many beautiful outdoor spaces in California and beyond.

  • Jeff Powers joined Sequoia Riverlands Trust as Stewardship Director in August 2018, bringing with him more than two decades of experience in land conservation. Originally from Ohio, he received a degree in natural resources management from Ohio State University and a master's in wildlife ecology from the University of New Hampshire. He worked for 10 years with the Nature Conservancy in the New Jersey and Illinois field offices, completing dozens of land acquisition projects protecting tens of thousands of acres.

    He served as project manager for the Peninsula Open Space Trust's 7,000-acre Cloverdale Coastal Ranch. During his tenure at POST, he developed a wide variety of natural resource projects, including pond restoration, innovative invasive species and erosion control work, a unique prescribed fire program, and the development of a thriving volunteer land stewardship program. Over the years, Jeff managed more than 20,000 acres of POST properties where he developed conservation grazing projects, managed agricultural and residential leases, administered a water company, and supervised trail construction projects.
    Most recently, Jeff served as Director of Stewardship for the Big Sur Land Trust in Monterey. He oversaw the conservation easement program as well as implemented unique restoration projects at the preserves.

    Jeff wants to use his expertise in land management to provide opportunities for local residents to enjoy and appreciate the incredible SRT preserves and work with other staff to steward the entire suite of SRT protected lands. He resides in Lemon Cove with his wife, Diana; their dog, Murphy; and three spoiled cats. Jeff enjoys hiking through numerous protected open space areas throughout the Sierra foothills.

  • 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.

  • Judy Pohlman, Finance Director

    Judy Pohlman, Finance Director

    Judy Pohlman serves as SRT Director of Finance. Judy joined the organization in 2019. A native of Missouri, Judy relocated to California in 1990 where she has worked for growers on the Central Coast and Salinas Valley areas, then later for the nonprofit auxiliary at California State University-Monterey Bay where she managed grants and contracts. Judy joined SRT as the Director of Finance in hopes of utilizing her fund accounting background to meet SRT’s financial reporting needs.

  • Katie Panek joined Sequoia Riverlands Trust in July. She coordinates and conducts SRT's conservation easement monitoring program, generates maps, and contributes to conservation planning. She is a Wyss Scholar for the Conservation of the American West and holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dickinson College and a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

    Prior to joining SRT, she spent five years working on land conservation initiatives in the United States and Chile. While in Chile, she helped to establish the 8,000-acre Valle California Reserve. Katie was also featured at the ESRI User's Conference for her work as a cartographer for the sporting event Patagonian Expedition Race and her creation of the first maps for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Karukinka Natural Park.

    She is a cross-country cyclist and avid hiker who has a passion for all things wild. Her long-term vision is to bring together unique stakeholders with the aim of achieving landscape-scale conservation.

  • 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!”

  • 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.

  • Sam Weiser was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. He received a BS in Environmental Studies from UC-Santa Barbara, interned for Coal Oil Point Preserve and the Kids In Nature program. After college, Sam returned to New Haven, working for various nonprofit afterschool programs, leading field trips, and hosting summer camps. After three years in the nonprofit sector, Sam taught 5th and 7th grade science in New Orleans, Louisiana at Samuel J. Green Charter School. Despite falling in love with the city of New Orleans and learning an immeasurable amount from his students, Sam discovered his true passion in providing hands-on, experiential, outdoor educational opportunities. Fortunately, through Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) he found a perfect place to pursue this passion: Sequoia Riverlands Trust. He is currently fulfilling his dream of making the world a happier and smarter place, one child at a time.

  • SRT'S VALUED AMERICORPS MEMBERS - Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP)
  • Claire Thompson, AmeriCorps SRT Conservation Technician
  • Dana Everhart, AmeriCorps SRT Volunteer Coordinator
  • Sneha Kumar, AmeriCorps SRT Education Technician


A D D I T I O N A L   S R T   P E R S O N N E L

LONNIE BROWN, Dry Creek Preserve Residential Caretaker

BRYAN SHIRK, Kaweah Oaks Preserve Residential Caretaker


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