Speaker Bios

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California ReLeaf and the California Urban Forests Council are pleased and proud to introduce an exciting lineup of urban forest experts for this year’s California Urban & Community Forests Conference:


Alfredo Arredondo, Legislative Consultant, Conservation Strategy Group
Alfredo works with clients to develop successful legislative and regulatory strategies to achieve their policy goals. Previously, Alfredo served as Assemblymember Mark Stone’s primary staff for the Committee on Public Safety and the Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, where he provided analysis and recommendations on legislation. During his tenure with the Assemblymember, Alfredo shepherded legislation in a wide variety of issue areas including: providing a funding mechanism for outdoor education to reach under-served students in park poor communities; establishing and expanding California’s first earned income tax credit for the working poor; reducing plastic pollution by specifically targeting cellulose acetate cigarette filters; and providing reliable access to broadband internet for all Californians. Alfredo earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social-Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Davis.

Ted Bardacke, Los Angeles Director of Infrastructure
Ted Bardacke currently holds the positions of Director of Infrastructure for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Adjunct Professor of Urban Environmental Design and Planning at UCLA, and was instrumental in crafting the city’s first ever Sustainability Plan in his previous role as Deputy Director of Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Sustainability. Prior to working in local government, Ted was been deeply involved in both the drafting and implementation of sustainability reference tools and standards, including LEED rating systems for Neighborhood Development and Homes, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, and the Green Communities Initiative for affordable housing. From 2003 to 2013, Ted worked in the Green Urbanism Program at Global Green USA and during the 1990s was a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times of London, based in Mexico City and Bangkok. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University, he has been a Visiting Fellow at Mexico City’s Centro de Transporte Sustentable and is co-author with teaching colleague Walker Wells, of Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing (Island Press, 2007).

Greg _BratmanGreg Bratman, Postdoctoral Researcher, Biology & Psychology, Stanford University
Greg is a postdoctoral researcher with the Center for Conservation Biology. He is working to define and study “psychological ecosystem services” by examining the impact of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health. His work was recently discussed in the January 2016 issue of National Geographic, in an article titled “This Is Your Brain On Nature.” In his other life, Greg writes comedy shows.


(ALL RIGHTS, ALL USES) Gretchen C. Daily; conservation biologist, Department of Biological Sciences and Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford, co-lead of the Natural Capital Project, member of TNC board, photographed at her home on the Campus of Stanford University in California. PHOTO CREDIT: ©Mark Godfrey/TNCGretchen Daily, PhD, Executive Director, Stanford Center for Conservation Biology
An ecologist by training, Gretchen’s work spans scientific research, teaching, public education, and working with leaders to advance practical approaches to environmental challenges. Gretchen co-founded the Natural Capital Project (www.naturalcapitalproject.org), an international effort focused on achieving this integration through research, practical tools, and policy-oriented demonstrations in contrasting places around the world.

José González, Founder, Latino Outdoors & Green 2.0
José is an experienced educator in formal and informal education settings with an array of associated interests in the arts, education, conservation, and the environment. He has broad experience as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education adviser, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. Currently he is leading Latino Outdoors and working on other bridging opportunities with Latino communities and conservation.

David Haas, Regional Urban Forester, CAL FIRE
David Haas was born and raised in Anaheim, California. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BS in Forestry, and worked as a Forester for a private timber company in Northern California for 7 years. He worked as a Landscape Specialist for Caltrans District 8 (Riverside & San Bernardino counties) for a year and a half before starting with CAL FIRE in August 2015 as Regional Urban Forester for Los Angeles and Venture counties. He is a registered Professional Forester and a licensed Pest Control Advisor.

Miranda Hutten, Program Manager, Urban & Community Forestry, USDA Forest Service
Miranda Hutten is a graduate of the School of Environmental and Public Affairs at Indiana University with a Masters in both Natural Resources Management and Applied Ecology. As a Presidential Management Fellow for the U.S. Forest Service, she provided technical and financial assistance on Forest Service landowner assistance programs. Currently, Miranda is the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program Manager for the Pacific Southwest Region. Her goal is to further partnerships with states, cities, communities and nonprofit organizations to increase community awareness on the importance of trees in sustaining healthy and viable cities through improved social, natural, and economic benefits.

Mark Jackson, Meteorologist, National Weather Service & NOAA
Mark Jackson is the Meteorologist in Charge for NOAA’s National Weather Service in Oxnard, California, serving Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties. Mark has been the meteorologist in charge in Oxnard since 2005, and prior to that worked in National Weather Service offices in Brownsville, Texas, Honolulu, Hawai’i, and Salt Lake City, Utah. Over his 20-plus year career in the National Weather Service, Mark has served on numerous scientific and programmatic teams, including the team to create the most recent National Weather Service Strategic Plan to build a Weather-Ready Nation.

John Kabashima, MBA, PhD, Environmental Horticulture Advisor Emeritus, UC Cooperative Extension

John’s varied research and extension programs have included the management of insects, diseases, and weeds in horticulture production systems and urban landscapes, biological control of exotic pests, water use and water use related problems of landscapes, nurseries, municipalities and at the watershed level. He also managed the over 300 strong UCCE Master Gardener volunteer program in Orange County, which uses formally trained volunteers of UC ANR to extend university based information on gardening and horticulture to the public. During his career, in addition to his position as Environmental Horticulture Advisor, John has held various positions such as Interim Center Director of the UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC) in Irvine, and as the County Director of the UCCE office in Orange County. John is currently working on the Polyphagous Shot-Hole Borer and Fusarium Dieback as an Emeritus Advisor.

Igor Lacan, PhD, Urban Forestry Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension
Igor’s program of applied research and extension provides technical and policy tools to advance sustainable environmental management. Focusing on urban trees and urban water, Igor develops research projects that explore emerging issues in urban landscapes such as optimizing tree growth in stormwater facilities, as well as contribute to mitigating longstanding problems such as wood decay and failure in urban trees. Ian produces extension and outreach materials that transfer findings from the University of California and other academic sources to the practitioners, and serves as a technical resource for landscape professionals, planners and architects, local governments, Cooperative Extension colleagues and other academics, UC Master Gardeners, and tree-focused non-governmental organizations. Ian’s academic training includes urban forestry (PhD), aquatic ecology (MS) and ecology (BS) all from the University of California, Berkeley.

maxresdefaultAndy Lipkis, Founder & President, TreePeople
Andy Lipkis is a practical visionary who has dedicated his life to healing the environment while improving the lives of individuals and communities. He founded TreePeople in Los Angeles in 1973 at age 18 and continues to serve as its President. Andy has spearheaded an approach using trees and forest-inspired technologies to make cities sustainable while mitigating floods, drought, pollution, and global warming. This approach is being demonstrated in L.A. as a model for cities everywhere.

Pauline Louie, Ambassador, Center for Watershed Health
As the Urban Waters Los Angeles River Watershed Ambassador, Pauline Louie coordinates a partnership that includes nine federal agencies and over 22 local stakeholder groups that work to facilitate revitalization projects on the Los Angeles River. Currently supported by the USEPA, she comes to the role from the US Department of HUD, where for over 16 years she was a liaison on sustainability, housing, community and economic development.  As a disaster specialist, Pauline led the FEMA housing recovery team following Florida’s 2004 hurricanes. Over 250 community and tribal organizations across the country have also benefited from her grant writing and non-profit management training. Prior to federal service, Pauline consulted on redevelopment and BRAC reuse for Keyser Marston Associates, Inc., and was a Contracts and Grants Administrator for the University of California. She attended UCLA for a BA in Political Science, BA in Geography/ Environmental Studies, and her MA in Urban Planning, with a focus on environmental and transportation planning. Pauline has also completed an executive program in Community Building at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

allegra_2Allegra Mautner, Tree Care Manager, Friends of the Urban Forest
Allegra Mautner organizes and runs the weekly volunteer tree care events at Friends of the Urban Forest. She holds a BS in Professional Forestry from UC Berkeley and is an ISA Certified Arborist. She has had a passion for social justice from a young age, growing up in a diverse family and taking action going to protests with her parents. Allegra cares deeply about improving the earth through learning, teaching, greening, and collaborating.



Greg McPherson, Project Leader, USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station
Dr. Greg McPherson is a Research Forester with the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station located in Davis, CA. He measures and models effects of trees on energy use, urban heat islands, air pollutant uptake, carbon sequestration, and rainfall interception. His research is helping justify investments in urban forest planning and management.


brigitte_orrickBrigitte Orrick, Workforce Development Director, Tree Care Industry Association
Brigitte Orrick is the Workforce Development Director for the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), she develops arborist and urban forestry workforce sectors in communities to support and develop academic and training programs for the tree care industry.  Her background in forestry and higher education helps connect employers, educators, and workforce development entities to improve accessibility to jobs in the green industry. Brigitte joined TCIA in January, 2016, with 14 years of experience in higher education and industry.

Jeff Reimer, Urban Forestry Technical Support, Cal Poly
Jeff earned his BS in Forestry and MS in Urban Forestry from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo where he is currently employed in the Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department.  Jeff has developed, managed and maintained the UFEI online resources since 1995. He is a Certified Forester and a member of WCISA, SAF (Society of American Foresters), Central Coast Urban Forest Council, and presently on the California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee. Jeff is passionate about the need for education and accuracy of information relating to trees as a treasured resource, and their appropriate selection.

Elizabeth Rhoades, PhD, Climate Change Liaison, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Elizabeth Rhoades, Ph.D., coordinates climate change policy and programs at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where she works to bring a public health voice to decision-making related to climate change. She is the Department representative to County and regional climate change workgroups. She founded and leads the interdepartmental County Climate Committee, which brings together various Los Angeles County departments to implement the County’s Community Climate Action Plan. In 2014, she authored two climate change reports released by the Department of Public Health, entitled Your Health and Climate Change, and Framework for Addressing Climate Change. Elizabeth received her doctorate in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

oscarsanchezOscar Sanchez, Arborist, Tree Care LA
Oscar Sanchez was born in El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles. In 1998 He joined TreePeople, where he was an elementary and high school environmental educator. He later moved to their forestry department, leading plantings with volunteers. Five years ago Oscar moved to his current job with Tree Care LA., where he learned how to climb, use a chainsaw, and perform all the other tree care activities — safely and correctly. Oscar also teaches community education classes at Los Angeles City College. Currently he and his partner are working with the Western Chapter ISA to start a Tree Specialist apprenticeship program.

Erika Teach, Natural Resource Specialist, USDA Forest Service & Davey Resource Group
Erika currently works with the Davey Tree Expert Company supporting community members that are conducting i-Tree projects and with the USDA Forest Service participating in urban forest research. Prior to working for Davey and the Forest Service, she directed the Urban Ecology Department for the Sacramento Tree Foundation, administering diverse projects and services related to land enhancement and tree mitigation. Erika began her career in Natural Resource Conservation in 2006 with Teichert Aggregates as a Restoration Field Worker in their Land Restoration Department conducting site maintenance, monitoring sites, and propagating native plants. She earned her Master’s Degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation from California State University Sacramento where she also holds a Bachelor’s in Theatre Arts.

Andrea Torrice, Filmmaker, Torrice Media
Andrea Torrice is an award-winning documentary and public television producer/writer whose work spans a range of contemporary issues. Her most recent public television documentary, Trees in Trouble, explores the benefits and threats to America’s urban forests. Her work has been supported by the Ford, Annie E. Casey, Surdna, William Penn, Gund, The Ohio Humanities, The Tree Fund, and other foundations, as well as by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Independent Television Service. She is also the recipient of a CPB Gold Award in Community Programming. She currently works in Cincinatti, Ohio, where she lives with her husband and son.

Andy Trotter, Vice President, West Coast Arborists
Mr. Trotter has been with WCA since August of 1982.  Prior to that, he had eight years’ experience in the tree care industry.  After working as a Foreman for eight years, Mr. Trotter was promoted to Field Operations Manager in March of 1990.  As Field Operations Manager, he supervises all of the field operations as well as oversees our safety, training, nursery and wood recycling facility. He has been an industry leader in many key projects including United Voices for Healthier Communities Great Clean Air Planting Project, Toolkit for Developing Urban Forest Management Plans and the Western Chapter ISA’s annual “Workday” fundraiser.

Emi Wang, Environmental Equity Manager, The Greenlining Institute
Emi helps lead the Environmental Equity team’s work tracking state implementation of SB 535, which directs at least one quarter of California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund investments to disadvantaged communities. Emi works to engage stakeholders and advocates around opportunities to access climate investments in communities of color and low-income communities, where the impacts of climate change and pollution hit the hardest. Prior to joining Greenlining, Emi supported grassroots community improvement initiatives, primarily in low-income neighborhoods across New York City. She oversaw over 60 micro-grants yearly, facilitated capacity-building workshops focused on community organizing skills, and engaged in outreach efforts. 

Gregory Bratman
Postdoctoral Researcher in Biology and Psychology, Stanford University
“Greenspace and Psychological Health”

 Greg is a postdoctoral researcher with the Center for Conservation Biology. He is working to define and study “psychological ecosystem services” by examining the impact of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health. His work was recently discussed in the January 2016 issue of National Geographic, in an article titled “This Is Your Brain On Nature”.  In his other life, Greg writes comedy shows.

ReLeaf Network Retreat (Tuesday, August 9)

leobucLeo Buc
Project Director and CFO, Common Vision
“Privilege: Removing Blind Spots, Building Bridges”

One of the founders of Common Vision’s school prorgams, Leo leads CV’s daily operations and longterm strategy, fundraising, and financial reporting. A small business owner, farmer, and educator in his own right, Leo’s sound business sense, orchard-culture knowledge, and commitment to social justice have helped steer Common Vision for over a decade.

cindymontanezCindy Montañez              
CEO, TreePeople
“Local Advocacy: From the Elected’s Perspective”

Cindy is the new CEO at TreePeople and per TreePeople’s announcement: Cindy is an Angeleno through and through, bringing extensive policy experience and deep community roots to our organization. She was raised in the City of San Fernando, along with her five siblings, by parents who immigrated from Mexico. After attending UCLA, she was elected to the San Fernando City Council, later becoming Mayor. Cindy then went on to serve the community at the State level when she won a seat in the California State Assembly. She made history as the youngest woman ever elected to the California State Legislature, as well as becoming the first Latina, and the first Democratic woman to chair the Assembly Rules Committee. As a State Assembly member, she was a champion for environmental and social justice to create healthy communities. She also served as a State and City of Los Angeles Commissioner. Most recently, she served as Assistant General Manager to our partners at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In addition, Cindy currently serves as a Board Member of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and a Legislator In-Residence at the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.


Doug Wildman
Program Director, Friends of the Urban Forest

For over sixteen years, Doug has planned, worked, coordinated and written grants for programs at Friends of the Urban Forest to improve San Francisco’s urban forest and to help bond neighborhoods through community-based urban forestry. Doug was on the executive board of the California Urban Forest Council (CaUFC) from 2005-2013 and was President in 2008. Doug currently serves on the board of the Western Chapter, International Society of Arboriculture and Cal Fire’s California Urban Forest Advisory Council (CUFAC).