Board of Directors
Rebecca Bryson is the Board President and lives in South Lake Tahoe. She has a background in strategic planning, mediation, meeting facilitation and grant writing. SPF was her first foray into local citizen action many years ago, but she has since helped initiate quite a few other local citizen groups focused on the community and the environment here in Tahoe including Progress for Tahoe, Tahoe Home Connection, the 100% Renewable Committee, Small World Parent Network, the Tahoe Arts Alliance and the Lake Tahoe Sustainability Collaborative. She also consults for the Tahoe Prosperity Center on their Housing Tahoe Partnership initiative. Through these efforts, she has helped develop and unlock affordable housing for local workers, secure funding for bike paths, accelerate energy efficiency programs for schools and the community, initiate school composting, gardening and nutrition programs, and secure the City’s recent 100% renewable energy commitment for 2032. She is committed to working with children to instill a love of nature and a sense of environmental stewardship for this beautiful place we call home. Rebecca received her Bachelor’s at Stanford in International Relations, and Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Vice President, Treasurer
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 is a Director of Analytic Sales at FICO.
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.
Danielle Hughes lives in Carnelian Bay, California in North Lake Tahoe. She is the Capital Program Manager at the Tahoe Transportation District (TTD), a bi-state special district responsible for providing transit and facilitating and implementing safe, environmentally positive, multi-modal transportation plans, programs and projects for the Lake Tahoe Basin, California and Nevada. Prior to joining TTD, Danielle worked in private consulting throughout California and Nevada, as a senior project manager and hydrologist providing environmental services for projects and programs that span local and regional infrastructure improvements, general planning processes, site-specific development, and ecosystem restoration. She has successfully coordinated interdisciplinary teams of scientists in planning efforts for several Environmental Improvement Projects throughout the Tahoe Basin. She advocates for collaborative environmental solutions that embrace climate adaptation, alternative energy, information and communication technology, and alternative modes of transportation to address the increase in visitation around Lake Tahoe, trend-setting a natural resource area of international significance. Danielle’s motivation behind her work and as a Board Member stems from her belief that climate change must be addressed. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Geology from the University of Montana.
Kelly Bauleke grew up in Colorado and has been an avid outdoor adventurer on the ocean and in the mountains her entire life. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she earned a BS in News-Editorial Journalism. She was previously the CEO of an international sailmaking company and worked in the sailing industry for 14 years based in both New Zealand and the USA. She now works at Patagonia’s Reno Outlet store as a floor leader and in-store marketing coordinator. After relocating to Reno with her husband in 2018, she started off lending volunteer hours for tree planting and business administration to SPF before formally taking a seat on the Board in December 2018. She is passionate about preserving the Sierra Nevada’s protected areas and forests for future generations.
Matt Church lives in Yerington, Nevada, where he is the owner of Zephyr Seed LLC. Zephyr Seed grows hemp in an innovative crop rotation with native seed for rangeland restoration and reclamation in Nevada’s wildlands. Prior to farming, Matt conducted thousands of rangeland vegetation plots across the western United States as part of his Master’s degree work in Environmental Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. He enjoys skiing and hiking locally and internationally.
Ginger Flairty calls South Lake Tahoe home after living in several states and Australia. She is happiest when hiking with her two Standard Poodles and introducing others to one of Tahoe’s best attributes – the surrounding forests. Ginger attended Wilmington University, where she received her BS in K-6 Education, and her Master’s in School Leadership. Ginger’s interests and passions combine education, the environment and striking the balance between conservation and human interest. She wants to contribute to the Sugar Pine Foundation’s focus on environmental education and outdoor learning adventures for kids. She also hopes to expand opportunities for volunteers to give their time and talents.
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.
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 Klamath Falls, OR. 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!