President, Board of Directors

Bachelor of Art, Beloit College, Beloit, WI
Master of Art, Northern Arizona University
Doctor of Philosophy, UC Santa Cruz

Betsy Herbert has served on the Board of Directors of Sempervirens Fund since 2001 and chairs the organization’s Science Advisory Panel.  Betsy’s research interests include forest management for water quality protection, forest ecosystem services, carbon sequestration, and habitat restoration.  Since 2011, Betsy has written a column for the Santa Cruz Sentinel entitled “Earth Matters.”

Vice President, Board of Directors

Bachelor of Science, Environmental Resources, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ

Portia Halbert is an Environmental Scientist with the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks. For 16 years she has been part of a resource management team who works to manage parkland and restore habitat in the 70,000 acres of Parks in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. Her experience is based on a wide variety of things she has had the opportunity to do such as restoration using heavy equipment for earthmoving, planting and maintaining large areas with native plants, refining the work on invasive exotic plants and incorporating early detection and rapid response, and working with sensitive species such as the California red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake. As a last and personal favorite, she is also a member the statewide burn crew, helping to reintroduce fire to the landscape; through this work she has discovered that everyone is a closeted pyromaniac. In her consulting business she conducts inland surveys for the marbled murrelet, and eradicates non-native plant species. She is a member of the California Invasive Plant Council.

Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Directors

Bachelor of Science, Biology, UC Irvine
Master of Science, Ecology, Rutgers University
Certified Wildlife Biologist, TWS

Steve is the owner of Steven Singer Environmental and Ecological Services, a local environmental consulting business that specializes in erosion control, soil management, water quality planning, old-growth redwood ecosystems, and inland habitat management for the Marbled Murrelet. His pioneering research on the nesting ecology of the Marbled Murrelet has been partially recounted in the book, Rare Bird, by Maria Ruth. He continues to monitor murrelet numbers in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a member of the Marbled Murrelet Technical Committee of the Pacific Seabird Group. His wildland soil conservation work has included road removal, trail design, repair of logged-over lands, channel stabilization, and gully control. He was the first to formulate successful treatment methods for the abundant gullies found on sodic subsoils in coastal San Mateo County. Steve is a member of the Wildlife Society, the Cooper Ornithological Society, the Pacific Seabird Group, the California Native Plant Society, and the International Erosion Control Association. He is a Research Associate for the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History and serves on the Science Advisory Panel of the Sempervirens Fund.

Member, Board of Directors

Bachelor of Science, Natural Resource Management, Rutgers University

Master of Science, Forest Resources, Oregon State University

Natural Resource Manager, County of San Mateo Parks Department

Ramona's work focuses on integrating a science-based resource management approach within the park's day-to-day operations and includes a hands-on volunteer stewardship program.  Her projects range from habitat restoration, invasive species control through an integrated pest management approach, fuel management, and rare species monitoring and conservation.  She counts herself fortunate to be able to hike San Bruno's sunny grasslands counting butterflies and searching for marbled murrelets at dawn in the cool redwoods as part of her job.  Ramona has spent over twelve years in natural resource management throughout the country, working as a field ecologist and as program manager for two different nonprofits focused on forestry and urban forest restoration, management, and education.  In these various roles, Ramona has enjoyed the opportunity to share her passion about natural resource conservation and management through education, outreach and volunteerism.  Arechiga served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia while also conducting her master's research on anthropogenic disturbance of a cloud forest system in Bale Mountains Nation Park.  Ramona is a member of the Forest Stewardship Guild, Society of American Foresters, California Native Plant Society, California Invasive Plant Council, and has served as a past board member of Oregon Community Trees.

FRED mcpherson

BA in Biology and California Science Teaching Credential, San Fernando Valley State College (now Northridge State University.)
Fellowship to the University of Chicago, and MA in Biology. 
Ph.D., Paideia (William James Association sponsor, Santa Cruz) General Studies in Human Ecology, working on the restoration of the San Lorenzo River with Page Smith for doctoral project. 

Fred was born and grew up in the San Fernando Valley in California and spent much of his summers on the Kern River in Kernville, California, where during college he spent summers working for the U.S. Forest Service. He has worked as a teacher in the areas of Biology, Environmental Education, and Natural History for over 45 years, teaching in a variety of public and private school settings with different age groups for various institutions including Bakersfield School District, the San Lorenzo Valley School District, Pacific High School, Camp Campbell Outdoor Education School, San Jose City College, De Anza College, Cabrillo College, UCSC Extension and the Environmental Studies Department Summer Session, including Field Studies and Natural History of the Santa Cruz Mountains classes. He has also worked for California State Parks and as a resource management consultant with Harvey-Stanley & Associates Ecological Consultants. 

Fred is a co-founder of the Camp Campbell Outdoor Education School, San Lorenzo Valley Charter School, Past President and Board Member of the Santa Cruz Chapter California Native Plant Society (CNPS), Past Director of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, and contributing member of many other local environmental and community organizations. He is presently a consulting biologist, naturalist, educator and videographer.

Jen Michelsen
Member, Board of Directors

Bachelors of Science, Biology, Natural Resource Conservation, Sacramento State University, Sacramento, CA

Jen Michelsen is the Environmental Programs Manager for the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. Jen’s experience includes wildlife research/ conservation, water resource management, long range water sustainability planning, water quality, environmental compliance, watershed management/stewardship, watershed education, communications, water conservation, and restoration project management. 

cindy Roessler
Member, Board of Directors

Bachelor of Arts, Environmental Studies, New College of Florida

Ms. Roessler is an ecologist with over thirty years of experience in managing natural resources for governmental agencies and consulting firms. For public lands, she specializes in designing and installing ecological restoration projects, controlling invasive plants using an integrated pest management approach, and adapting human use to be compatible with wildlife residents. She has supervisory experience, has lead teams of people with diverse specializations, and enjoys explaining biological and land management principles to the general public in formal position papers, public presentations or on her natural history blog. 

will russell
Member, Board of Directors

Member, Board of Directors

Bachelor of Arts, Biology, UC Santa Cruz
Master of Science, Environmental Studies, San Jose SU
Doctor of Philosophy, Environmental Science Policy and Management, UC Berkeley

Will Russell is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University where he teaches Sustainable Forest Management and Natural Resource Analysis. His research is focused on disturbance, conservation, and restoration of forest ecosystems, with an emphasis on coast redwood forests. He has also done extensive work on ecological disturbance in the Sierra Nevada mixed conifer and sub-alpine forests. He supports graduate student research including the effects of timber harvest of redwood forests, fire ecology, and environmental education. Dr. Russell also spent two years with the USDA Forest Service, four years with the USGS Biological Resources Division, and one years with the California State Parks.

Member, Board of Directors

Bachelor of Science, Conservation, San Jose SU
Master of Arts, Natural Science, San Jose SU
Doctor of Philosophy, Aquatic Ecology, UC Davis

Jerry Smith is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at San Jose State University, where he teaches Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries Management, and Conservation Biology. Since 1972 he has conducted research on the distribution and ecology of freshwater fishes in the central coast of California. Since 1984 most of his fish studies have been concerned with stream and estuarine ecology of steelhead, coho salmon, and tidewater goby. He served on the federal recovery team for the threatened Delta Smelt (San Francisco Bay Delta - native fishes), the state restoration team for the endangered coho salmon, and on the federal recovery team for the threatened coastal Chinook and steelhead, and endangered coho salmon. Since 1995 he and his students have conducted detailed studies of California red-legged frogs and western pond turtles at Waddell Creek in Santa Cruz County and Coyote Creek in Santa Clara County. Dr. Smith has been the major advisor for 21 master's degree theses on: stream and estuarine invertebrate ecology; steelhead, red-legged frog, foothill yellow-legged frog, and western pond turtle ecology; and steelhead, tidewater goby, and spotted owl genetics.

Member, Board of Directors

Landowner & Steward

Georgia is the founding director of Native Habitats, a privately funded science-based conservation organization focusing on restoration and preservation of biodiversity. She is also the resident co-owner and steward of a private 40-acre nature preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains that she is managing for increased habitat values. Georgia has several years of field experience, particularly non-native plant removal, including leading volunteer habitat restoration groups as a volunteer for the National Park Service in Yosemite National Park. She was raised in the SCM bioregion and is a life-long nature activist. Her professional background includes over 35 years of management and business administration experience; with a particular emphasis on communication, streamlining processes and conflict resolution. She is vitally interested in helping to educate people regarding native species and biodiversity issues, using constructive and accessible methods. She was the 2003/2004 president of CNPS Santa Clara Valley chapter. Other affiliations and memberships include California Invasive Plants Council, Society for Ecological Restoration California, Sequoia Audubon Society and Mono Lake Committee.