Joshua T. Fodor (Founder, CEO) : Restoration Ecologist, CPESC
Josh has 20 years experience in organic horticulture, habitat restoration and ecological landscape design and implementation. After completing degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies at U.C. Santa Cruz and working 5 years in organic agriculture, he founded Central Coast Wilds in 1992. Early on he combined his interest in organic production methods with his botanical skills to create the first registered organic native plant nursery in
California . Josh leads design and implementation of ecological landscape plans, vegetation management plans and habitat restoration plans throughout California, particularly in the San Francisco and
Bay areas. Over the last decade he has continued his professional training in erosion control, stream restoration, watershed assessment, wetland delineation, and ecological landscape management techniques. In 2006, Josh completed an extension certificate in California Water Management and Ecosystem Restoration at U.C. Berkeley. In 2008 Josh became a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control. He teaches Principles of Restoration Landscaping at
College and is an active member of numerous professional associations including the Ecological Landscaping Association, California Landscape Contractors Association and the Society for Ecological Restoration.
Jon Laslett: Restoration Project Manager, Ecologist
Jon received his BS from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2003 with degrees in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Marine Biology. He has worked on ecological monitoring, conservation, and restoration projects from Baja California to the Aleutian Islands . He also has a background in conventional construction and landscaping. In January 2007, he found a way to effectively combine these two skill sets as a project manager and ecologist at Central Coast Wilds. Since then, he has been responsible for successfully designing, estimating, implementing, maintaining, and monitoring restoration projects and ecological landscapes throughout the central coast.
Cindy Hudson: Nursery Manager
Cindy grew up in the Northern Sierra and studied Earth Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno. She began her botanical career working with nurseries in the Tahoe Basin and joins us with a strong background in nursery management and a passion for California's native flora. Upon moving to Santa Cruz in 2005, she managed Far West Nursery until 2011. Her botanical and horticulture education comes in part from working with the UCSC Arboretum as a part time employee and volunteer and attending workshops with CNPS, Jepson Herbarium, and various botanical gardens. Her experience includes seed collecting in California, New Zealand and Australia, vegetation surveys along the central coast and preparing herbarium specimens from field collections.
Ellen Holmes: Botanical Consultant, Seed Collections Curator
Ellen began working at Central Coast Wilds as a volunteer in 1996. Her aptitude became readily apparent as she quickly learned the arts of native plant identification and propagation. Her botanical studies include Jepson Herbarium workshops in Juncaceae (Rushes), Alpine Flora, Poaceae (Grasses), and Cyperaceae (Sedges). She has also attended numerous workshops taught by noted local botanist Randy Morgan, including Trifoluim (Clover), and Plant and Insect Interaction. Ellen has initiated her own Sheep Grazing Monitoring Study on the former
Ord. She is an active member of the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, where she participates as a board member.
Alison McGregor: Assistant Nursery Manager, Seed Collector
Alison became interested in plant ecology while studying Plant Science at UC Santa Cruz. Her respect for the California landscape is based in a childhood of hikes and adventures in the Santa Monica Mountains with her family, and myriad trips to the deserts east of the Sierra and in the San Bernardino Range. She has helped fight invasive Strawberry guava and Kahili ginger in the Alakai swamp in Kauai, joined a 3-month intensive natural history course backpacking in Patagonia, and just completed the first California Naturalist Certification course offered through the UC Arboretum. During her last year of undergraduate study, she worked for the Environmental Science Department collecting and processing seeds for a biodiversity experiment on the serpentine grassland in Coyote Ridge. This experience allowed her to move from a CCW volunteer to a full-time position, where she has developed the skills of propagator, website and newsletter editor, salesperson, database manager, and seed collector.
Dakotah Bertsch: Landscape Designer, Project Manager
Dakotah earned his Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona, and he has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Barbara. He's had a long love affair with California ecosystems, with years of ecological studies, frequent hikes and explorations, and years of working in the field of design, construction, maintenance and restoration of California landscapes. He also studied and apprenticed in Permaculture, and is experienced with edible and sustainable landscapes. Dakotah moved to Santa Cruz from Mendocino County to join the team at Central Coast Wilds, where he combines his interests in native habitats and ecological landscape design.
Michael Friedman: Ecological Project Manager & Marketing
John Cairns: Project Manager, Estimator
Michael is marketing director and project manager. He oversees various types of ecological projects with a focus on sustainable landscape maintenance. He has a BS degree from Texas State University in Mass Communication and Horticulture. He has continued his training in horticulture through various professional certificate programs including CLCA's Certified Water Manager program and Ecology Action’s Grow Bioentensive training. He has also attended various forums on sustainable design offered through UC Berkeley. Before joining ECI, Michael was a project manager for a large commercial landscape company in Silicon Valley where he oversaw quality control on multiple project sites. Michael was drawn to California’s rich ecosystems after college and has been exploring and learning about California’s natural history ever since. He is especially drawn to hiking the high Sierra wilderness in search of a glimpse of rare trout species.
John received a BS in Economics from
Salem, Oregon. Shortly thereafter, he volunteered for the Peace Corps in The Gambia,
West Africa working with farmers on restoration projects to combat deforestation and to establish orchards for economic development. When he returned, he worked for both Oregon Fish and Wildlife and California Fish and Game gathering data and collaborating on an Environmental Impact Report for conservation research. More recently, John has worked for various local landscape companies as both a Project Manager and an Estimator. At Central Coast Wilds, John has been involved in the estimating, management and monitoring of restoration projects in the greater South Bay Area.
Julia Fields: Nursery Production Assistant, Seed Collector
Julia studied Biology and Art at Westmont College in Santa Barbara in order to pursue her interests in native plants and ecology. She moved to Santa Cruz after completing a Community-based Restoration and Native Plant Nursery Internship with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco. During this internship, Julia learned about protecting coastal scrub habitats for special status species through restoration processes involving weed control, pond monitoring, plant surveys, seed collection, and native plant propagation and planting. She has worked on other restoration projects including prairie restoration with the Pacific Rim Institute in Washington, bull thistle eradication in New Mexico, converting invasive grassland back to native forests in New Zealand, and maintaining a riparian canyon at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve near Santa Barbara. Julia loves learning more about the incredible diversity of California native plants while hiking the beautiful hills of the Monterey Bay.
Gabriel Carraher: Assistant Project Manager, Artist
Gabriel has a formal education in Fine Arts and Humanities from the San Francisco Art Institute and the New College of California. He brings a unique knowledge of permaculture and installation art to his role as project manager and field supervisor at Central Coast Wilds. Before joining Central Coast Wilds, Gabriel worked as an organic gardener and carpenter at the Occidental Art and
County . As an artist Gabriel is influenced by a lifelong passion for
California 's native landscape. He applies a trained eye for aesthetics and balance along with expertise in ecological horticulture in implementing sustainable site designs.