Coastkeeper Staff

Garry W. Brown Executive Director & CEO

Garry Brown is president and chief executive officer of Orange County Coastkeeper, a non-profit organization he founded in 1999 to protect and preserve our local marine habitats and watersheds. Through Coastkeeper, Garry has helped to establish new wetland areas and to protect others being threatened by pollution or development. He’s negotiated solutions to runoff and pollution issues that have threatened our watershed and ocean. He’s a relentless advocate for cooperative solutions, but will litigate when boardroom discussions fail to bring results. Under Garry’s leadership, Coastkeeper has become a tried and trusted ward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems through education, advocacy, restoration, research and enforcement.

Garry comes from a long background of building public-private partnerships. After earning a B.A. in Government from the University of Redlands, he served for five years as an assistant city manager, ten years as an advocate and executive director for trade associations in the real estate and building industries, and twice as president of a chamber of commerce. In 2001, he founded the Orange County League of Conservation Voters. In 2006, he published the first issue of “Coastkeeper Magazine.” These varied experiences brought him an extensive and pragmatic understanding of both state and local government and the politics that drive them. A native of Orange County, Garry is committed to expanding Coastkeeper’s presence as a proactive, results-driven organization that uses coalition building and partnerships to find effective solutions to the environmental problems that impact our communities and watersheds. Coastkeeper Gardens, located at Santiago Community College; and SmartScape, a model program for creating sustainable landscapes, are key projects that further this mission. Currently, Garry serves on numerous Boards of Director and governmental advisory committees, including:

  • Orange County Coastkeeper- Board President
  • California Coastkeeper Alliance- Board Vice-President
  • National Waterkeeper Alliance- Board member
  • SAWPA’s One Water One Watershed- Steering Committee
  • Chairman of OCTA’s Environmental Clean-up Allocation Committee
  • The Green Institute for Village Empowerment (GIVE)
  • Vote the Coast, Board Chairman
  • Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach OSPR Committee
  • National Water Research Institute’s Advisory Panel for the GroundWater Replenishment System
  • Ocean Defenders Alliance, Board Member
  • C.A.R.E.-California Artificial Reef Enhancement Foundation- BoardMember
  • American Green Power, Board member

 

Ellen A. Orange Brown Associate Director

Ellen co-founded Orange County Coastkeeper with her husband Garry in 1999.  As the Associate Director, she provides operational leadership and is responsible for organizational development, fund development strategy and implementation, and financial and administrative oversight.

Ellen hails from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where she developed a wealth of expertise in hospital administration, public relations, and business and financial management.  She has called Orange County home since 1980, and is an active member of the community, contributing her time and talent as Treasurer to the Broadmoor Association in Huntington Harbour where she resides.

Ray Hiemstra Associate Director of Programs

Ray has a B.A. in Geography (1998) and a certificate in Environmental Studies (2000) from California State University Long Beach.  Ray has been the Project Manager for several projects contracted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, including:

  • Santa Ana River Citizens Water Quality Project (319h) 2001-2004
  • Rhine Channel Remediation Alternatives Project (Prop 13) 2004-2006
  • Orange County Watersheds Citizen Monitoring Project (Prop 13) 2004-2006
  • Newport Bay Marinas Metals Study, 2006-2007
  • Newport Bay Stormdrains Study, 2007-present
  • Orange County Nurseries Water Quality Improvement Project, 2007-present

Ray participates as a Board Member of the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Safety Commission.  He is a lifetime resident of Orange County, and a 20-year resident of Huntington Beach.  Ray works hard and plays hard, whether he’s riding motorcycles, hiking, fishing or relaxing to the tunes of Jimmy Buffet.

Colin Kelly Staff Attorney

Colin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon in 2003 and a Juris Doctorate from Whittier Law School in 2009.  Colin’s responsibilities at Coastkeeper range from supervising our Legal Internship Program, advocating our position at regional meetings, and developing strategies for our legal actions.  Prior to accepting a position with Coastkeeper, Colin was the two-time President of the Environmental Law Society and one of six recipients of the 2009 Dean’s Citation Award at Whittier Law School. When he is not at Coastkeeper, Colin enjoys spending time with his friends and family, enjoying the beach, visiting friends in Oregon with his wife, and attending Oregon football games.

 

Amanda Bird Marine Restoration Coordinator

Amanda earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Conservation Biology from Arizona State University in May 2008, gaining experience in the associated fields of Marine Biology, Coastal Resource Management, terrestrial and marine Habitat Restoration and Management, the Ecology of Caribbean and Pacific coastal marine habitats, and biotic communities of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. She performed research within the Marine Protected Areas of South Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands as part of a study abroad component of her education while at ASU and worked with Rick Ware of Coastal Resources Management, Inc as a Research Technician in his surveys and restoration of eelgrass in Newport Bay. At Coastkeeper, Amanda is responsible for coordinating activities and assisting in high school field trips, research and curriculum development for the WHALES program and the Newport Back Bay Eelgrass Project, and other related projects. In her free time, Amanda enjoys the So Cal diving scene, snowboard trips to Utah and Colorado, and summer barbecues.

Dyana Peña Education Director

Dyana coordinates and organize the WHALES Program at Coastkeeper. She helps plan for in-class presentations and helps facilitate field trips. She works with students in class and on the field. Along with assisting with the WHALES Program, she helps coordinate Kids Ocean Day! Dyana originates from Lynwood, CA where she helped establish a recycling program at her high school and attended monthly beach cleanups. She then graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in both Drama and Urban Studies with an emphasis in Environmental Sustainability. Catch Dyana sippin’ on some tea or coffee, discovering new music, going to concerts, volunteering at animal shelters, attending Dodger games, clowning, going to theme parks, visiting her family (hi mom!) or working at Panera Bread on the weekends!

Trisha Deshmukh Director of Development

Trisha is responsible for managing the organization’s corporate and foundation relations, major gifts, and membership program.  Prior to this role, Trisha served as the Director of Development at The Ecology Center, a nonprofit educational organization.  She possesses 8 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and has worked for organizations in California and New York, leading fund development initiatives and managing educational programs.  She earned a Master of Public Administration specializing in public and nonprofit management from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Berkeley. In her spare time, you’ll find Trisha hiking at El Moro Canyon, making ice cream, or buried in a book… but not at the same time.

Austin Brown Garden Project Manager

Austin grew up with his dad in Huntington Harbour. He immediately took to the water and learned everything there is to know about boats. Austin first began working with Coastkeeper as an educational diver in partnership with the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum. While Austin dived, there was a live audio and visual transmission at the museum above for children to experience what it is like to explore the natural treasures beneath the ocean’s surface. Austin spent 5 years working on a ferry in Hawaii and is now working on land in order to complete the Coastkeeper Garden. Austin is still our main Coastkeeper captain taking out the Coastkeeper boat for reseach and restoration projects. But most of the time, you can find him on a tractor at the garden.

Inland Empire Waterkeeper Office Staff

Megan Brousseau Program Director

Megan is a lifelong resident of Riverside who specializes in connecting learners to their communities and local environment through innovative opportunities.  Her comprehensive background in program administration includes managing nature and science education venues, and developing science education programs in non-formal learning environments. An active member of the Inland Empire community, Megan has spent a decade working on projects that increase community livability and sustainability, from fundraising for  nonprofits to the development of southern California’s largest family nature club. A dedicated lifelong learner, Megan’s academic background has focused on environmental studies and human-environmental interaction with a degree in Zoology. Megan’s passion lies in cultivating a love and stewardship for our local environment in people of all ages. In her free time Megan enjoys exploring Southern California’s trails and waterways with her family and her nature club Inland Empire Kids Outdoors.

 

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