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Board of Directors

Stephen McCord – Chair

I first came to Davis in 1993 as a graduate student after having worked or traveled around five continents. After completing my doctoral studies, I again left the country only to arrive right back in Davis in 2000, finally ready to go native. My interactions with PCC began in the early 2000’s while I was President of another local nonprofit that organized riparian plantings and trash cleanup events. These days my consulting business provides water quality engineering services throughout the region, making numerous contacts and experiences that align with PCC’s mission. I have served on the board since 2011.

I love being outdoors, especially around water. I have experienced the entire length of Putah Creek while fishing, photographing, birdwatching, removing trash, planting, and even joining conference calls. As a board member, I appreciate the opportunity to serve with both white collars (in board meetings) and blue ones (stewardship events).

In my spare time, I enjoy playing many sports, backpacking or otherwise traveling, and coaching, mentoring and advising students. I live in Davis with my wife Mona and daughter Asia.

 

Melissa Thorme – Vice Chair

 

I have been in the Davis area since I came here for law school and a Master’s degree at UC Davis in the 1980s. As an environmental lawyer and previous volunteer for other organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Riparian Improvement Organization (RIO), I have a depth of experience and knowledge that supplements the other experiences of other Putah Creek Council Board members.

I have long been an advocate for Putah Creek, organizing litter cleanups and installing interpretive signage in the 1990s along the Creek for RIO. I appreciated the work PCC did in the way of advocacy, habitat restoration, and environmental education and wanted to be a part of it. I assist PCC with my head, hands and heart, by proposing changes to policies, volunteering at events, and enjoying the natural beauty of Putah Creek.

Besides being a PCC Board member, I write novels, ride my horse, train and shows my two German Shepherds, and works as a water quality lawyer at the law firm of Downey Brand LLP in Sacramento.

 

Turid Reid – Treasurer

 

Davis had been my home since 1978, but it was only after we were charmed in the mid 80’s by a property with Putah Creek as the southern boundary that this waterway became personal to me. I met Susan Sanders, one of the original founders of Putah Creek Council when we worked together on the Homestake Technical Review panel, and she encouraged me to become involved in this new venture. Since I had worked for many years on scientific aspects of water rights, and also on the effects of water quality on the biota, I enthusiastically agreed to help her.

Having Putah Creek in our backyard, and having always been enthusiastic about outdoor adventures, this waterway has provided my family and friends with many opportunities to explore the river, and it’s riparian flora and fauna.
Much of the work that Putah Creek Council does ensures that this local jewel is preserved and enhanced for future generations, and I want to be able to contribute to that.

I came to Davis via an upbringing in Zambia and early adulthood in New Zealand. I am an enthusiastic hiker and camper, will get out on the water in anything that floats, jump at any opportunity for foreign travel, and enjoy gardening and photography. When possible, I try to get my now far-flung family together. Those two small boys and two little girls who played in Putah Creek long ago cherish those childhood memories.

 

Earl Byron – Secretary

 

I have been interested in aquatic science throughout my education and career; with a BA in marine biology from UCSB and doctorate in aquatic ecology and limnology from U of Colorado, Boulder, to a career in water quality and aquatic ecology at UC Davis and in consulting.  These interests naturally fit with volunteer service to a local, aquatic habitat-focused nonprofit such as PCC.

My love of “all things aquatic” naturally translates into supporting the stewardship and education missions of Putah Creek Council. I have led student explorations of marsh, stream, and tidepool habitats locally and in southern California as part of volunteer activities, both in terms of his children’s activities and now, with PCC and other environmental-focused organizations.  I have been involved with annual creek cleanups for years. I believe that environmental education and community-involved stewardship are vital to making a positive difference in our lives and that of the planet.

I am mostly retired from active consulting and enjoy time with family and travel, especially with any outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and canoe or kayaking.  As an unrelated passion, I love singing in a local doo-wop and oldies a cappella group, performing at Davis and Winters venues.

 

Valerie Whitworth 

 

valerie_0.jpgI am a small-time farmer who has worked with Putah Creek Council since its inception. I first came to the Central Valley as a Regents Scholar Freshman in 1963 after living on the California Coast most of her life. Born in England, I was unprepared for the dry heat of the Central Valley and naturally gravitated to the nearest water. Putah Creek gave me both water and wonderful plant and wildlife, including amazing birds, coyotes, foxes, otter, mink, and beaver as well as cougar prints on her land by the creek.  I was responsible for obtaining the funds for the first creek engineering project located on Dry Creek.

To me, Putah Creek Council epitomizes the selfless giving of time and energy to a landscape that is invaluable. The values that I hold dearest are held as goals by Putah Creek Council. To be part of a group of people focused on protecting and defending a landscape in California that is under attack by development, carelessness, neglect and changes in climate is a privilege. To be sure that future generations can seek and find such a landscape keeps me working to protect Putah Creek.

Traveling is a passion for me and my husband, the botanist Michael Barbour, and we have had adventures in botany worldwide. I love being a grandmother and spend as much time as I can with my grand daughter, Grace, on the creek. I enjoy writing, both grants and creatively. I am a reader, but also a person who enjoys working and playing outdoors, playing sports, singing, dancing, and plein aire painting.

 

Steve Culberson

 

I moved to Davis in 1990 to attend graduate school after several years living abroad serving in the U.S. Peace Corps. I am currently the Lead Scientist with the Interagency Ecological Program, a nine-agency governmental collaborative science program for collecting and analyzing aquatic habitat data within the San Francisco Estuary.

I hold a Ph.D. in Ecology, and an M.S. in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis, following a B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College in Ohio. I have previously worked for the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Away from work I can be found canoeing, relaxing at home with his wife Mary, or attempting to run the occasional 10K race in and around Davis and the Sacramento area.

 

 

 

Clancy McConnell

 

clancymcconnell.jpgClancy hails from the small gold country town of Sonora, in the Sierra Nevada foothills southeast of Davis. His family started him in the outdoors young, recreating in the expansive mountainous playground by backpacking, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, camping, and exploring local culture. He also began competitive outdoor sports there, which he continues to this day. From 2008 through 2016, he worked year-round for his family’s excavation business, where his father taught him both a construction skillset and valuable lessons about how construction can be performed to preserve—not exploit—natural resources. As one component of this practice, they began restoring meadows, roads, and severe burn areas in the Stanislaus National Forest, improving water storage, preventing erosion, and restoring habitat. Part of this work involved putting in substantial construction volunteer hours with the local environmental resource non-profit, which showed him just how valuable an effective non-profit is to the community.

These activities and the land ethic instilled in him by his parents inspired him to attend UC Davis, where he has studied for over 6 years. In spring, 2016, he received his Bachelor in Environmental Science and in fall, 2018, he received his Master in Ecology. Now, as a PhD student in Geography, he aims to understand how the altered hydrology of Putah Creek, a unique Central Valley waterway, has affected its riparian vegetation and what types of vegetation and floodplain restoration are possible under future environmental conditions. As a graduate teaching assistant, he is passionate about teaching undergraduate students in various classes, including ecology, environmental design, geographic information systems, biogeochemistry, music, and cultural studies.

Aside from his experience in restoration and scientific monitoring, Clancy brings to the board of directors an enthusiasm for education, volunteer work, and natural resource advocacy. He enjoys Putah Creek by training in the public reserves and parks, cycling and playing music along the creek with friends, teaching outdoor labs in the UC Davis reserve and arboretum, and analyzing historic air photos from decades past.