Grant D. Werschkull, Executive Director
Grant began working on Smith River watershed issues in 1977 as a consultant to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Program. Since then, Grant has worked as staff and consultant for a wide range public and private sector clients throughout California including the Nature Conservancy, Redwood National Park, the interest-based Water Forum negotiations in the Sacramento region, and Lopez Agricultural Services. Grant received his M.S. in Ecosystems Management from Antioch University West and his B.S. in Resource Recreation Management from Oregon State University’s School of Forestry.
Patty McCleary, Deputy Director
Patty McCleary shares the responsibility of managing the Smith River Alliance with Mr. Werschkull. Patty is also the Project Manager on all land conservation projects like the Lake Earl Wildlife Area expansion and additions to the Smith River National Recreation Area. Patty has over 20 years of experience working on conservation issues and has served as the Pacific Program Director for the Land Trust Alliance; Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land; Executive Director for the Washington Water Trust; and as National Conservation Representative for the Sierra Club. Patty received her B.A. from the U.C. California at Santa Barbara.
Marisa Parish, Program Coordinator
Marisa is the coordinator for SRA’s estuary restoration program which involves private landowners and local, state, and federal agencies. In addition she also works with the SRA Executive team on priority watershed restoration and protection projects. Marisa has a M.S. in Natural Resources with a focus in Wildlife Biology from Humboldt State University and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Colorado Mesa University in 2007. Marisa Master’s thesis titled “Beaver bank lodge use, distribution, and influence on salmonid rearing habitat in the coastal plain of the Smith River” has provided important insights on the relationship between beaver-influenced habitat and use of this habitat by salmonids and other aquatic species. Marisa previously conducted juvenile salmonid surveys across the coastal plain and has also held a variety of field technician positions in forestry, ornithology, herpetology and fisheries with federal, state, and non-profit agencies.
Darell Warnock, Rock Creek Ranch Caretaker Emeritus
Darell now works on special projects at Rock Creek Ranch. He served as the caretaker at the Ranch from 2001 – 2013. In this role he managed a series of capital improvements designed to prepare Rock Creek Ranch for public use. An accomplished painter, Darell works in oils and specializes in paintings of rivers and landscapes. Darell is also a competent field biologist and also performs at-sea surveys for marbled murrelets. Darell studied Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico.
Jolyon Walkley, Biologist and Fish Survey Crew Leader
Jolyon leads a group of dedicated and talented field technicians and coordinates with California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists to implement salmonid distribution and abundance studies across the Smith River Basin and adjacent coastal watersheds. He is also involved in the development of the Mill Creek Lifecycle Monitoring Station. Jolyon has participated in or led investigations of fish and macroinvertebrate distribution, abundance and ecology over 15 years and has worked in both the public and private sector. Jolyon has both M.S. and B.S. in Fisheries Biology from Humboldt State University.
Chelsea Baier, Project Associate
Chelsea helps execute a diverse array of projects, from community organizing to fundraising and special events planning. She promotes the Alliance’s activities and activism by updating the organization’s website and social media outlets and assisting with newsletters, petitions, and action alerts. She has a background in conservation, marketing, and organic farming, and earned her B.A. in French at the University of Arizona.
Jason Smith, Rock Creek Ranch Caretaker
Jason comes to the Smith River Alliance with a background in engineering, construction, and alternative energy. He has experience designing and installing alternative energy systems in Hawaii and Alaska. His partner Brittany Rymer is the Food Program Director for Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands and she has a background in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Jason holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Brittany an M.S. in Environmental Sciences, both from Stanford University.