Raised on a ranch in Penngrove. BS Conservation, UC Berkeley. Worked 32 years as project manager, legislative coordinator, and Deputy Executive Officer for the Coastal Conservancy. Drafted legislation creating the California Coastal Trail. Instrumental in creating the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy, and several statewide conservation bond acts. Served as chief consultant to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. Serves on board of Sonoma Land Trust. Married to Maxene Spellman. They have two children.
Michael Allen of Santa Rosa, Board Chair
A North Bay community leader for over 40 years, Michael has a record of activism and extensive legislative experience that makes him uniquely qualified to tackle the diverse issues facing our neighborhoods and our state. Michael has had an extensive career as a registered nurse, lawyer and then labor leader right here in the North Bay. Elected to the State Assembly in November 2010, Michael was appointed to serve as the Assistant Majority Leader shortly thereafter. Since then, he has worked to improve safety at our state hospitals, help working families, and create local jobs. After serving in the Assembly he was appointed to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board by the Assembly Speaker Perez in January 2013. Recently, Michael was appointed by Governor Newsom to continue his service for the people of California.
Janis Watkins of Healdsburg, Board Secretary
Janis grew up in Sonoma County where her father was a farm advisor. After graduating from SRJC, she went on to higher education and UCLA Law School. She returned home and has been a practicing attorney (civil appeals) for more than 35 years. She finds her passion working on environmental issues and social and environmental justice in Healdsburg and Sonoma County. She is on the Board of North Bay Organizing Project. Janis and her husband Warren enjoy their grandchildren, hiking and playing tennis, and getting out to their rural property in Mendocino County.
Anne Seeley of Santa Rosa
Anne Seeley has lived in Sonoma County since 1977. In 1986 she was a co-founder of Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa a community interest organization that has been effective in making Santa Rosa government more transparent and attuned to the public. She works through coalitions such as the Sonoma County Water Coalition to help keep Sonoma County a healthy, beautiful place to live. Working full-time as a medical office nurse, she still attends each Santa Rosa Council meeting.
Blake currently works as the Sonoma County Field Representative and Case Worker for Congressman Jared Huffman and is passionate about land use and housing policy. Prior to this, he worked for Sonoma County Conservation Action where he managed both the membership canvass and the organization’s online communications. Blake has worked on several local, state and federal campaigns, and has been an activist in both the local and state Democratic Parties. He is a committed advocate for social, economic, and environmental justice, as well as the reduction of barriers into both the political process and civic engagement.
Blake also likes long walks on the beach, competing in combat robotics competitions, and finding the most shade in any location where exposure to the sun is possible…
A long time Santa Rosa resident, Danny’s business is in the digital marketing field. Creates digital interactive print campaigns. Takes clients digital assets and places them on print marketing products.
Former Board Members and Contributors:
Mark Green, Founding ED
Mark Green was a statewide canvass director for the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), where he met Bill Kortum, whom at the time was on the Board of CLCV. Bill and Mark hit it off, and went on to form Sonoma County Conservation Action with Mark as the founding Executive Director, a position he served in from 1991-2000. Mark blazed critical environmental policy trails in Sonoma County and became a major force for the protection of open space and Russian River watershed.
David Keller of Petaluma
David Keller brings his love for social justice, political activism and dedication to the environment to SCCA. He is the Bay Area Director for Friends of the Eel River, and founder of the Petaluma River Council. He’s held elected office as a Petaluma City Council member, and as board member of the Bolinas Fire Protection District. He’s worked on river and coastal lagoon restoration, water and watershed resources, downtown revitalization and infill development, flood management, water and wastewater privatization, and protection of utility ratepayer interests. He is also a long-time manufacturer of patented woodworking tools for cutting dovetail joints.
Jane Nielson of Sebastopol
Jane has had a 25 year career as a field and research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA. She also has taught Environmental Geology and other courses at California State University, Haywar and Pomona College, Claremont, CA, and is co-author of The American West at Risk, published by Oxford University Press in 2008. A co-founder of the Sebastopol Water Information Group and Sonoma County Water Coalition, she also serves on the board of directors for the O.W.L. (Open-Space, Water, and Land Conservation) Foundation.
Born and raised in Santa Rosa, Chris grew up volunteering with the Madrone Audubon Society and the Bird Rescue Center. Worked in field ornithology labs as a teenager. Studied Urban Planning and International Policy at UC Berkeley. Has worked in Latin America and elsewhere on humanitarian issues of autonomy, sustainability and refugee relief. Currently on the Board of Public Utilities, works as a general contractor and is a local musician. Active advocate for environmental justice, affordable housing and healthy watersheds.
Megan Kaun of Sebastopol
Megan’s research on pesticide use in public spaces helped spearhead SCCA’s Toxic Free Future campaign. Through her work as vice-chair of Santa Rosa’s Board of Public Utilities (2013-2017), background in environmental remediation, and passion for keeping toxics away from kids, she has become a local leader in public landscape maintenance policy. Megan was born and raised in Sonoma County but spent her early career working as a hydraulic engineer/hydrologist on stream restoration and dredged material reuse projects for the Army Corps of Engineers in Chicago and San Francisco. She holds engineering degrees from Northwestern and Stanford.
Miles Burgin, Board Treasurer
Raised in Boyes Hot Springs and settled in Santa Rosa, Miles is a veteran of the US Navy and National Security Agency where he served as an Arabic Linguist and Mission Manager. He is currently the DTC and Marketing Manager of a winery startup in Glen Ellen that focuses on organic farming and reducing the industry’s carbon footprint through wine-on-tap. A member of the Santa Rosa Community Advisory Board he is a committed advocate for social, economic and environmental justice.
Marty Bennett is Instructor Emeritus of History at Santa Rosa Junior College and a Research and Policy Analyst for UNITE HERE 2850, a union representing hotel, food services, and gaming workers in the North and East Bay. He also serves on the Executive Board of the North Bay Labor Council and previously was Co-Chair of the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County and Executive Director, North Bay Jobs with Justice. During his ten years on the Conservation Action board, he worked to build coalitions between labor and environmentalists for Living Wage Ordinances, Community Benefits Agreements, Community Impact Reports, support for the SMART train, and successful opposition to a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Rohnert Park.
Bill Kortum of Petaluma
Bill Kortum championed the cause of environmental protection in Sonoma County and on the California coast.
His role as mentor to a generation of activists led many to regard him as the father of the Sonoma County environmental movement.
Well into his ninth decade, he energetically focused on promoting Sonoma County Conservation Action (SCCA) which he founded 25 years ago. In recent years he was campaigning for public access to Petaluma’s Lafferty Ranch, and for the completion of SMART rail and the California Coastal Trail. Coastwalk California, another organization he co-founded 31 years ago, is the nonprofit that advocates for the statewide California Coastal Trail (CCT) and public access to the California coastline. A popular segment of the CCT on the Sonoma coast bears his name, the Kortum Trail.
You can help continue Bill Kortum’s legacy with a donation to a special fund.