Patrick Koepele has been with the Trust since July of 2000. Prior to joining the Trust, Patrick worked as a Water Resources and Restoration Planner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, acquiring deep knowledge of restoration issues and activities throughout the Central Valley. Patrick’s experience includes surveying, groundwater, river and bank erosion studies.
Patrick KoepeleExecutive Director
Marisol began with the Trust in early 2016. She brings to the Trust over 10 years of financial and administrative management for various non-profits in California. Marisol has received a bachelor’s from UCLA and her accounting certificate from UC Berkeley Extension.
Marisol O’ConnorFinance Director
Peter Drekmeier, Policy Director, joined the Trust in August 2007. Raised in Palo Alto on Hetch Hetchy water, Peter knows the Bay Area well. In 1990 he founded Bay Area Action (now Acterra), and has coordinated two international Earth Day campaigns. He has extensive experience working on land use initiatives. Peter is a whitewater rafting guide and a former mayor of Palo Alto.
Peter DrekmeierPolicy Director
Lauren began her career in development at UC Santa Barbara. She comes to TRT from the Bay Area nonprofit sector with intricate knowledge of the complex challenges California faces at the nexus of healthy ecosystems, communities, and economies. She enjoys wearing many hats within her role and is particularly fond of grant writing, building partnerships, and creating original content that keeps the community engaged in TRT’s work.
When she’s not working behind the scenes to protect the Tuolumne River Watershed, you can find her backpacking the Sierra, perusing local farmers’ markets, or busting a move on the dance floor.
Lauren BarnumDirector of Partnerships
An East Coast native, at a young age Julia discovered a love of outdoor adventures and enjoyed exploring the West for several years before settling down in the Sierra Nevada and finishing her undergrad degree in Geography and Environmental Resources. For the past 15 years she has worked in resource management, environmental advocacy, and on-the-ground restoration efforts for both government agencies and nonprofits, gaining an intimate knowledge of the local geography and ecology of the upper Tuolumne watershed. She is so excited at the opportunity to join the team at the Trust, to help facilitate their restoration project work and more.
Julia StephensRestoration Manager
Shanley Mitchell is a designer, researcher, and environmental advocate. She studied Integrated Design at Parsons School of Design in New York City, and Global Studies at The New School with a focus on political ecology. Shanley has worked with organizations such as Possible Health, The North Star Fund, And The Moxy Group. She has done extensive field research in Bhutan, discovering the relationship between the country’s branding and the sustainable habits of its citizens. In her free time, you’ll find her exploring California’s mountains, rivers, and chasing waves.
Shanley MitchellDevelopment Associate
Byron Krempl is the Trust’s Headwaters Program Director and is responsible for forest health, restoration, and resilience projects within the Tuolumne Watershed. He works on increasing the pace and scale of forest health and restoration projects, protecting and conserving the Sierra Nevada. When not working for the Trust, he can be found volunteering at a camp for individuals with special needs in the county or backpacking and photographing landscapes.
Byron KremplHeadwaters Program Director
Edgar Garibay grew up in Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico, and came to Modesto at the age of 8. As a first generation college student, he graduated from California State University, Stanislaus, with a B.S. in Psychological Sciences and a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry. Edgar has served in the community through volunteer work at various community-based organizations for over 10 years.
Edgar GaribayCommunity Relations Manager
Ana C. Talavera
Ana was born and raised in rural Modesto, California. She has served as a volunteer for the Tuolumne River Trust since 2011. She has collaborated with Latino Outdoors as a translator for their Estamos Aqui project, as well as other environmental non-profit organizations. In addition, she has volunteered for several local political and grassroots environmental campaigns. After graduating from UCSC in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in dance, she returned to Modesto to reconnect with her community. Currently, she serves as the Support Coordinator of the TRAC and Activ8 programs to foster connections between youth, their community, and the outdoors. She is also a mentor for high school seniors under the 6 Cups to College Program and a counselor at a residential facility for youth. Ultimately, she hopes to foster positive mental health with the youth that she works with.
Ana C. TalaveraSupport Coordinator
James will be serving this year as a Forest Health Specialist with the Tuolumne River Trust. As a native of Tidewater Virginia, the mountains of California will be a new and exciting place to work and explore. James graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019 with a degree in Conservation Biology, focusing on botany and forest ecology. After graduating, he took part in a short-term position at a salmon hatchery in Alaska and an AmeriCorps term in eastern Washington State. James looks forward to serving in the Sierra Nevada over the coming year and learning about the relationships between fire ecology and restoration work. When he’s not working, you can find him cycling around, working on some woodworking projects or playing music.
James HartForest Health Specialist
Robert developed a deep appreciation for the Sierra Nevada mountains while backpacking on the John Muir Trail as a child. A recent graduate from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara, Robert has a background in conservation planning and a passion for protecting landscapes that support California’s native plants and wildlife. Robert interned with Los Padres ForestWatch in 2019, where he mapped illegal off-road vehicle sites to help the U.S. Forest Service reduce ATV and motorcycle trespass in the Los Padres National Forest. This experience instilled Robert with an awareness of the need to rely on science and local community input when making decisions about public lands management. As a Forest Health Specialist with the Tuolumne River Trust, Robert looks forward to collaborating with a dedicated team on forest restoration and wildfire resilience projects in the Tuolumne River Watershed.
Robert HelmForest Health Specialist
Jason Smith manages field operations for the Trust’s Headwaters Forest Restoration program. A native of the Sierra foothills, he is also a contract forester for Calaveras County’s Tree Mortality Program and works with landowners throughout the Central Sierra to help them manage their forests.