Gavin Back lives in Reno, Nevada, where he is a Wholesale Data Analyst at Patagonia. Gavin was introduced to the Sugar Pine Foundation through a Patagonia program that pays employees to assist grassroots environmental non-profits. He administered a departmental program to get more employees out to volunteer with the SPF; he joined the Board shortly thereafter. Gavin recreates all around Lake Tahoe’s forests, whether skiing, climbing or mountain biking. He is grateful that working with the SPF gives him the opportunity to play a role in helping preserve these beautiful places that are vital to our region. Gavin received a Bachelor’s in Law from the City University, London.
Rick Marshall lives in Incline Village, Nevada. Rick has had lifetime interests in environmental and political issues. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) with Environmental Science and History degrees. He is proud that while he was at UCSB, he helped save the Wilcox property in Santa Barbara from development. The 70 acres of ocean front property is now the Douglas Family Preserve. Rick enjoys kayaking, skiing and mountain biking in the Tahoe area and beyond. He was a Director of Analytic Sales at FICO.
Todd Doherty grew up in Gardnerville, NV. Nearby Lake Tahoe and the Sierras called to his soul early on, and he spent his youth exploring, learning and playing in the mountains near his home. Motivated by a strong environmental ethic and an innate connection with the land we are visitors on, Todd chose to study ecology and conservation in college. He studied meadow restoration and pine seed dispersal as an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada, Reno. He then earned a Master’s degree in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology at UCLA studying habitat fragmentation, connectivity and gene flow. Todd worked as an Environmental Scientist at the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, and currently works as an IT Systems Administrator for Patagonia. Todd and his partner recently bought 10 acres of Pinyon-Juniper woodlands near Virginia City, NV to start a homestead and pursue a more sustainable, simpler and self-sufficient way of life with their young son. Todd joined the SPF Board to stay involved in local conservation efforts and because he is passionate about protecting and preserving the environment around Lake Tahoe and beyond.
Kristianne Hannemann grew up in Southern California and now calls Tahoe home. She received her doctorate in pharmacy from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and a bachelor of science in pharmacology from University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). After graduating, she served many communities as a pharmacist. She and her family have attended different planting and watering events with SPF and enjoy sharing this great work with others. Kristianne joined the SPF Board in 2022 to support the SPF’s mission of improving forest health and reforestation in the face of climate change.
Ash Zemenick (they/them) is the Manager of Sagehen Creek Field Station outside Truckee, CA. Ash holds a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. They have diverse experience ranging from conducting ecological studies to education to overseeing the multifaceted research at Sagehen. Ash got involved with SPF through the Truckee River Day planting at Sagehen Experimental Forest in 2021. They are passionate about ecology, natural history and teaching others about nature. Ash is excited to support the SPF’s work around forest restoration and education, particularly in response to changing climate and fire regimes.
Hillary Huff grew up in the mountains of Colorado, has been all over the world as an international courier, and now calls South Lake Tahoe, CA home. Hillary has been a friend of the SPF for many years, and has volunteered at numerous plantings with her family. She has led the Board of the Tahoe Arts Project (TAP), but she joined the SPF Board as a way to serve and connect with her community while also promoting environmental stewardship and sustainability. Hillary runs two online businesses – Intrepid Jewelry and Conscious Cutlery – and is a morning show host at Lake Tahoe Television, where she plugs SPF whenever she can!
Caitlin Firestone, a self proclaimed tree hugger, originally hails from the Midwest and is now based in Reno, NV. She has a Masters in Special Education from San Francisco State University and a background in rehabilitation education for adults with vision loss. She and her family have participated in a number of plantings with the SPF, plus Caitlin helped organize a fundraising and awareness event for the SPF through a film screening of “The Call of the Forest” at Patagonia’s Reno Outlet store. Caitlin is an avid hiker and forest frolicker who is deeply grateful for the opportunity to help support SPF’s forest restoration, education and outreach work.
Stephen Loane grew up in rural New Jersey exploring the natural world. Planting a white pine seedling in grade school inspired him to become an ardent environmental and social justice activist. Early causes included fundraising to save the bald eagle and marching to end nuclear arms proliferation. After attending the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Stephen became a Maine Guide, and spent several years guiding white-water rafting trips in Maine, Montana and Northern California. Stephen’s diverse professional background also includes sports massage therapy, IT, film, television and music production. He now lives in South Lake Tahoe, where he has returned to his tree planting roots by volunteering with the SPF and joining the Board.
Joan Dudney grew up roaming the mountains and foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada and inspired her lifelong passion for these wild and beautiful places. She earned her PhD in May 2019 from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focused on white pine blister rust, bark beetles, and drought impacts on white pines in the Sierra Nevada. She has been instrumental in defining trends in the spread of blister rust – it is moving higher into western white pine as opposed to sugar pine – and in studying how best to conserve the Sierra Nevada’s white pines. Joan was awarded the Smith Conservation Postdoctoral Fellowship to lead research efforts on the future drought impacts on whitebark pine and other white pine species. Joan lives in Davis, California and conducts frequent forays into the Sierra for work and pleasure.
Advisor, Forester and Leading Discoverer of Champion Trees
Michael Taylor’s passion and expertise is to find and document the largest and tallest trees in the Western United States. An Environmental Resources Engineer by training with degrees from San Diego State and Humboldt State Universities, Michael uses a high tech approach to first remotely scan forested areas for enormous trees. He then hunts down the biggest trees on expeditions throughout California, Oregon and Washington. Michael currently works as the LiDAR Specialist for the Columbia Land Trust, and is based in Montgomery Creek, CA. Michael became a friend of the Sugar Pine Foundation when he was working on cloning one of the tallest known sugar pines with the Archangel Tree Archive. He has shared his tall tree discoveries and hosted SPF staff on expeditions ever since!