We support grassroots efforts and build strategic partnerships that protect, enhance, and grow California’s urban and community forests.
California ReLeaf envisions a vital network of grassroots groups working in partnership with each other, businesses, and local governments across the state. Through these efforts, an educated public treasures the value of the urban forest as integral to the quality of life, economic well‐being, and a sustainable global environment. Neighbors are motivated by an appreciation of the beauty and diversity that characterize California and have filled all communities with trees that live long, healthy lives.
“Trees, tree-planters, and everyone who breathes oxygen has a good friend in California ReLeaf. Professional, passionate staff team making an impact from policy and advocacy, to grantmaking and getting trees into the ground.”-Ventura Green
Since joining ReLeaf in 2014, Cindy has prioritized urban forest grant programs that best support under-resourced urban communities where trees are needed most. The goal is to build capacity and ensure that all California communities are deeply involved in planting and protecting urban forest projects. This capacity building focus has led to supporting new community partnerships, providing more webinars, and one-on-one support of grant applicants and awardees.
Another focus is to support research projects as a way to expand understanding of the value of urban trees. Recent research initiatives include examining trends between urban tree canopy and wildfire smoke levels with US Forest Service researchers, leveraging Purple Air data as well as supporting a University of Maryland project about an urban forest asset management approach to estimate a Return on Investment for urban canopy.
Cindy currently serves on the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARRCA) and CAL FIRE’s Community and Urban Forest Advisory Committee (CUFAC). She is also engaged with the Sustainable Urban Forest Council, a nationwide collaboration advancing effective urban forest policy and practices. Her previous experience includes 6 years at Sacramento Tree Foundation, 10 years at Tandem Computers as well as various community volunteer positions related to children, schools, and art. She has a BA from Rice University and an MBA from Georgia State University.
cblain[at]californiareleaf.org • (916) 497-0034
Grants & Public Policy Manager
Living in the City of Trees, Victoria is passionate about creating equitable public health outcomes by increasing and maintaining green infrastructure and a healthy tree canopy. As a community organizer with Sacramento Tree Foundation, she worked to connect community leaders in high pollution census tracts with resources and civic leaders. Victoria’s focus on collaboration amongst a wide variety of partners and grantees helped to implement greenhouse gas reduction grants and prioritize tree plantings at schools, places of worship, residences, parking lots, and parks.
Victoria currently serves as the Vice Chair of the City of Sacramento Parks and Community Enrichment Commission, as a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and on the Board of Directors for Project Lifelong, a nonprofit that supports youth development in non-traditional outdoor sports — for example skateboarding, hiking, skim boarding, and surfing.
vvasquez[at]californiareleaf.org • (916) 497-0035
Education & Communications Program Manager
Megan comes to California ReLeaf with over 15 years of education program management experience. Born and raised in Southern California, Megan started her career with the National Park Service as an Interpretive Park Ranger and has worked in developing and growing education programs for county government and non-profit museums, historic sites, and parks across California. She is passionate about environmental stewardship and building healthy communities, which drew her to California ReLeaf.
Although new to the Urban Forest community, Megan’s background and experience in public education and community engagement make her an excellent fit for the position. Megan currently lives in West Sacramento, and in her free time, you can find her hiking, biking, and camping.
mdukett[at]californiareleaf.org • (916) 497-0037
Finance & Operations Program Manager
Shannon joined California ReLeaf in late 2022 with over seven years of nonprofit management experience leading operations, finance, and human resources for Canopy, a Bay Area urban forest nonprofit. Specializing in grant contract accounting and administration, Shannon also has experience in grant fundraising, with over a million dollars raised to support equitable tree cover in Bay Area neighborhoods and outdoor youth leadership and environmental education. At California ReLeaf, Shannon is responsible for financial administration and operations. Her work supports the ReLeaf Network, our outreach and education programs, as well as our grant programs for urban and community forest nonprofits and community groups throughout the state.
Shannon currently lives in a small community nestled in the oak and pine forest of El Dorado County and is passionate about building sustainable communities where nature and people thrive. She holds a master’s degree in urban & regional planning with a focus on community development from San José State University.
smcdonald[at]californiareleaf.org • (916) 497-0036
Tree Inventory Tech Support Program Manager
Alex is an ISA Certified Arborist who is enthusiastic about utilizing the newest research in arboriculture and data science to enhance the management of urban forests and improve community resilience in the face of a changing environment. Before joining ReLeaf’s staff in 2023, he served as a Community Arborist at the Sacramento Tree Foundation. During his tenure at SacTree, he assisted members of the public with tree planting and maintenance–as well as overseeing their community science programs. At California ReLeaf, Alex will help launch and oversee the implementation of our new state-wide urban forest tree inventory program for our Network of over 75+ urban forest nonprofits and community groups.
In his free time, he enjoys the great outdoors and his garden, where he grows a variety of uncommon plants and trees. He especially loves helping others identify trees in person and on platforms like iNaturalist.
Urban Forestry Consultant
Kelaine Ravdin is an urban ecologist with Urban Ecos whose work focuses on recognizing and maximizing the role of nature in achieving sustainability. She has a background in forestry and landscape architecture and has pursued research in these fields as a Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and with the U.S. Forest Service. In her current work, she offers ecological and technological consulting to make our cities greener, more sustainable, and more environmentally sound. Kelaine has worked with California ReLeaf in a variety of roles since 2008 and is currently enjoying working with grantees to bring their projects to life.
“As a grantee, we had a wonderful experience partnering with California ReLeaf. The organization was a great mentor in guiding us through the grant process. We feel empowered to now go out and apply for various grants based on this wonderful experience.”–Rancho San Buenaventura Conservation Trust
Board of Directors
“California ReLeaf was instrumental in the success of Tree Fresno because it gave us the guidance, technical advice and financial support that we so desperately needed when we were starting.”– Susan Stiltz, Tree Fresno