Wild & Scenic Mokelumne Update

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New Conservancy staff bring energy and ideas
Executive Director Sherry A. Pease and Watershed Conservation Advocate Shane Dante
After a very eventful 2018, 2019 has been a year of change and regrouping at the Foothill Conservancy. We're excited to announce that we now have two new staff members, Executive Director Sherry Pease and Watershed Conservation Advocate Shane Dante. Their experience, energy, and ideas will truly benefit our organization.

We'd like to give them the opportunity to introduce themselves to you, and we hope that you will meet them soon and give them a warm welcome!

We'd also like to extend our sincere thanks to management consultant Shelly Hance of Columbia, who has been working with our board since last spring to move toward completion of our new strategic plan, help us hire new staff, and keep our work moving ahead. We could not have gotten all of this done without her invaluable help.

From Executive Director Sherry Pease

In the early 1900s, my family relocated from Santa Cruz County to the foothills of El Dorado County, gradually migrating to Amador County and North Sacramento suburbs. My mom and dad met on ”Box” (Vaught's) Beach on Electra road in the 1970s. Dad was a land surveyor, working first for the United States Forest Service in Plumas County and later for the Bureau of Land Management, based in Phoenix, Arizona. Mom was a social worker who made significant contributions to foster children in both Coconino County and the Arizona White Mountains. In 1997, they returned to Jackson to settle on family ranch land off Clinton Road. Dad continued his work with the BLM, based out of Sacramento. Mom ran Amador County's Tobacco Reduction Awareness program until 2005.

I grew up in both Northern California and Arizona, spending summers in Pioneer and Jackson with extended family. My cousins and I were frequent adventurers along the Mokelumne River and there were many family camping trips at Pardee, Camanche and Silver lakes. Along with my parents and my sister, I went camping in very remote wilderness areas, in both the Sierra Nevada and the Coconino National Forest, where seeing another human was very unlikely. As a child, I felt like this was cruel and unusual punishment, but I have come to appreciate both the wild and relatively untouched land and the survival skills my dad, a former Boy Scout, made sure his girls learned.

I obtained an associate’s degree in Business Entrepreneurship from Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, in 2001 and then a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2009. In 2004, I relocated back to California from Arizona where I have worked in corporate business roles for 15 years, leading teams in fiscal, contractual, and operational administration. Highly disillusioned with the ”rat race,” I have been focusing on changing my lifestyle to one that supports the welfare of our wondrous planet rather than one that harms it. I am excited to be a part of Foothill Conservancy, and to contribute my skillset to preserving the environment that played such a large part in my childhood and continues to affect me today.

From Watershed Conservation Advocate Shane Dante

I grew up in the mountains of Shasta County. I spent most of my life exploring and fishing the network of tributaries that flow into the Shasta Lake. I grew on a very small tributary to Campbell Creek, a tributary to the Upper Sacramento River, which flows south into Shasta Lake near Lakehead. That was my jumping off point to exploring other Shasta Lake tributaries, including the McCloud River, Pit River, and Squaw Creek. The water flowing from Shasta Dam makes up the biggest river in California, the mighty Sacramento.

Summers being what they are in that part of the world -- specifically, hot with a chance of heat -- I was either fishing, swimming, rafting, or complaining that it was too hot and wishing that I were fishing, swimming, or rafting. I knew comparatively little then about how truly important it was to have public lands and protections for our state's waters, but I surely enjoyed the free access to thousands of acres of national forest land and miles of navigable waters.

I quickly learned that it was no accident we have vast public lands in the West, and that it definitely wasn’t "free," when you consider all the time and hard work of people who tirelessly defend our forests and rivers. I wanted to do my part, give back, and fight to protect and understand what is most important to me personally while also making the case for healthier forests, cleaner water, and more abundant wildlife for all to enjoy. That’s when I pursued a degree in Wildlife Conservation from Humboldt State University.

After graduating in 2016, I did what many recent Wildlife graduates do: I went to work on Spotted Owl conservation. I was working in the Trinity River watershed, and if I floated down the Trinity not too far, I’d find myself in California's second-largest river, the Klamath.

Not long after, I made a transition from wildlife biology and went on to work in southern Humboldt County on the Mattole River, conducting water quality and quantity monitoring in Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead-bearing streams. I was able to explore countless stream reaches, not only for fun, but for science.

When my wife Cailey was accepted into a graduate program in Sacramento, we left Humboldt County to move to Amador County, her childhood home. I now live and work in the Mokelumne River Watershed, which provides me with new territories to explore. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with the Foothill Conservancy, where I’ll be able to combine my experience with my passion to help protect our waters and forests.

THE FOOTHILL CONSERVANCY  |  35 Court Street, Suite 1   Jackson, CA  95642  |  209-223-3508