Steve Forsell, President
Steve Forsell has lived in Santa Barbara since 1968 when he went to UCSB. He owned a successful Real Estate Appraisal Company for 30 years in Santa Barbara, and has always been involved in his community. Now he’s retired, with more time to devote to his passions. After being introduced to GCC and the Naples Coalition, he became a member of the Board of GCC in 2011. He is the Chair of the Outreach Committee for GCC, as well as serving as Vice President. Steve says, “For me, nothing is more important locally than preserving the Gaviota Coast. I am pleased to be able to work with these dedicated and hardworking Board members and volunteers who are making a real difference.” He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Mary and has two grown children.
Karen Feeney, Vice President
Karen Feeney has been an environmentalist from an early age. The 1969 oil spill affected her deeply and her early career focused on environmental education, coastal protection, and land use planning. She spent 20 years with the Community Environmental Council, where she was responsible for establishing the Community Hazardous Waste Collection Center, Regional Integrated Pest Management Coalition, and Watershed Resource Center. In April 1990, Karen was responsible for leading the effort to bring Earth Day back to Santa Barbara. Since 2005, she has worked in marketing and business development for local green builder Allen Construction.
Karen received her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara. She is a LEED Accredited Professional. Her nonprofit experience includes participation with The Sustainability Project, Art From Scrap, and as past co-chair of the Parade of Green Building. Karen has two grown children – Erin and Ryan – and believes in living life to the fullest whether it is traveling, exercising, skiing, golfing, dancing or enjoying friends and family.
Richard Hunt, Treasurer
Richard Hunt has served as Treasurer and Board Member of Gaviota Coast Conservancy since 2006. His professional background of almost 50 years as a Certified Public Accountant provides him with the skills to manage the financial and tax reporting requirements of GCC. He has also held volunteer positions at Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, International Academy at Santa Barbara, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a number of other local nonprofits, including 40 years as Treasurer of Los Padres Chapter of Sierra Club.
He has 4 children and 5 grandchildren, from 2 to 18 years of age. His favorite leisure activities include traveling with his wife Nina, SCUBA diving, hiking and kayaking.
Greg Karpain, Secretary
Currently, Greg Karpain serves as Global Customer Reference Marketing Manager at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. His job history qualifies him as a Jack of all trades: he’s worked as a daycare teacher, carpenter, professional photographer, a banquet waiter at Santa Barbara hotels, Grand Canyon river raft swamper, Director of international software sales, and as editor for his freelance writing business. Greg dived for coins at Catalina Island for his first paycheck (his dad was the City Manager of Avalon). In his free time, he and his partner, Margaret, spend time outdoors enjoying how lucky they are to be living in one of the most gorgeous places in the world. The Gaviota Coast Conservancy provides him the perfect opportunity to give back to the beauty.
Phil McKenna, Chair, Land Use Committee; Past Board President
Phil McKenna discovered the Gaviota Coast as a student at UCSB, as he wandered along the beach enjoying the view from the bluffs. He was captivated by its openness and diversity. It’s his intention that his grandchildren, present and great, can experience our coastal lands as he was privileged to do. He joined the board at Gaviota Coast Conservancy in 1998, and was President for two years. He’s married to Melinda and recently retired from financial consulting.
Virginia Gardiner, Chair, Governance Committee
Virginia Gardiner is an ecologist and planner with 30 years combined public and private sector experience in regulation, assessment, management and restoration of natural resources. Her areas of expertise include comprehensive, coastal zone and inland policy and permitting under the California Coastal Act, California Fish and Game code, federal Clean Water Act, and state and federal Endangered Species Acts, CEQA/NEPA analysis, recreational trails and access planning and natural resource restoration. She has extensive experience in oil and other spill response and Natural Resource Damage Assessment under California’s Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention Act and the federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
Virginia worked in the public sector at the Coastal Commission, the County of Santa Barbara, and California State Parks before moving into private sector environmental consulting in 2004. She is currently a coastal analyst with the Delta Stewardship Council, an independent state agency in Sacramento. She has three decades of combined public and private sector experience in coastal and inland permitting and policy, CEQA/NEPA analysis and permitting, natural resource management, and habitat restoration including upland, wetland and stream restoration projects. Virginia has extensive oil and chemical spill Incident Response and Natural Resource Damage Assessment experience in California and the Gulf of Mexico. More recently she has focused on climate change adaptation and sea level change.
Virginia graduated magna cum laude from UCSB in 1987 with a BA in Environmental Studies. She has a 26-year old son and divides her time between Sacramento and Santa Barbara. Her volunteer affiliations include the Santa Barbara Audubon Society (Conservation Co-Chair, 2014-2016), Santa Barbara County Trails Council (member, Board of Directors 1987-2004), CoastWalk (Santa Barbara County CW co-coordinator, 1988-2002) and member, Board of Directors 1990-2002), Land Trust for SB County (Docent, Arroyo Hondo 2006-present), and Gaviota Coast Conservancy (member, Board of Directors 2006 – present).
Donna Senauer, Co-Chair, Outreach Committee
A native-born Southern Californian from Santa Monica, Donna Senauer grew up enjoying and appreciating the joy and importance of public beach and coastal access. She attended UCSB and continued to a Physician Assistant Program, practicing as an Orthopaedic Physician Assistant until her retirement. She currently serves as a Montecito Planning Commissioner.
Committed to land use protections and environmental stewardship, protection of groundwater resources is a particular passion for Donna. She's a long time member and volunteer of the Naples Coalition, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and the Sierra Club. She's passionately dedicated to ensuring and advocating for the preservation of the Gaviota Coast. Her views are perfectly summed up in this quote by former Californa Coastal Commissioner Peter Douglas, "The coast is never saved; it is always being saved."
Donna lives in the Lower Village of Montecito with her husband, Ben. They have three children and two grandchildren. Donna enjoys hiking, tennis and swimming. The low-tide Gaviota beach walk between El Capitan and Refugio is her absolute favorite.
Nancy Black, Co-Chair, Outreach Committee, Communications Director
Nancy Black loves sharing about the Gaviota Coast, serving the board as Communications Director since 2014. She co-founded Mercury Press International in 1991 with her husband, Isaac Hernandez, providing editorial content, video, photography, promotion, social media, publishing, communications and outreach services to editorial, nonprofit and private clients. She has been writing her mother Linda Black's legacy daily horoscopes column since 2008. Syndicated internationally by the Chicago Tribune and Tribune Media Services for almost three decades, the column has tens of millions of readers.
Nancy served as Board President of Pesticide Awareness and Alternatives Coalition (from 2004-7), producing the California Organic Festival and supporting the City and County of Santa Barbara to adopt Integrated Pest Management for parks, schools and municipal properties. She received Congressional and State awards for that. A founding Board Member of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the national Association of Women in Communications (2009-12), she has two decades of experience on school committees in Santa Barbara, and currently serves the Israel Palestine Project (2004 to present), Committees for Land, Air, Water and Species (2015 to present), as well as Gaviota Coast Conservancy and Naples Coalition (2014 to present).
Nancy earned her BA in Studio Arts at UCSB after studying at Ventura College and Ventura High School. She grew up on a Cal 40 sailboat with frequent trips to the Channel Islands, and currently has a bi-continental lifestyle in Santa Barbara and Spain with her husband Isaac Hernandez, and their sons, Diego and Quique.
Mike Brown, Past President
Michael S. Brown was born in Southern California, attended college in Northern California, grad school and work on the East Coast, and has been back in California since 1990. He serves as Board President for Gaviota Coast Conservancy, and has been involved with SB Channelkeeper, Environmental Defense Center, SBCAN, and the Naples Coalition and is a Governor’s appointee on the Ocean Protection Council. In his work life, he’s a partner in Brown and Wilmanns Environmental, LLC, a sustainability consulting firm with domestic and international clients. He previously worked in federal, state, and local government agencies and in sustainability at Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company. His wife and he have three kids who aspire to live in Santa Barbara, but are currently scattered across the country and Australia. They visit when they need a dose of Santa Barbara surf.
Mike Lunsford, Past President
Mike Lunsford is a retired State Park Ranger, with 25 years of service, 22 of which were on the Gaviota Coast, where he was recognized for his achievements in resource management, and the creation of the trail system at Gaviota State Park. During his career as a ranger, he attended the Santa Barbara College of Law, and was admitted to the state bar in 1992. With a growing awareness of the significance of the Gaviota Coast, Mike became a charter member of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy Board of Directors, where he served as its president for many years, and continues to serve.
Bob Hazard was born and raised in Santa Barbara. After attending City College he joined the Santa Barbara City Fire Department. After five years there he found it far too regimented and started his own artistic woodworking business. He purchased land in Refugio Canyon in 1971, built a cabin and raised four children there. In the 1980s, he actively fought the County's policy of siting two giant oil and gas processing plants for Exxon and Chevron on the Gaviota Coast. He served on the local Vista Del Mar School Board for 18 years, learning much about local politics. Bob joined the Gaviota Coast Conservancy shortly after its inception in 1994. He still lives on the Gaviota Coast in Refugio Canyon.
Long-time Santa Barbara resident Lee Moldaver consults on tech sector new product development. A life-long outdoors enthusiast, he was an original board member of Gaviota Coast Conservancy, Audubon CA, COAST and the Air Advisory Committee. Lee has held senior board positions with the Santa Barbara Library Commission, SB Metropolitan Transit District; SB Transportation Committee; SB Creeks and Watersheds; SB Audubon Society; Citizens Planning Association; Environmental Defense Center; CRIC; ORCA; Citizens Council on Crime; COAST; South Coast Watersheds Alliance; Allied Neighborhoods Association; SB Regional Economic Community Project, as well as volunteering with Partners in Education as well as numerous other civic and area nonprofits.
He serves as stakeholder for the City of Santa Barbara Charter update; the Santa Barbara General Plan and Circulation Element updates; City of Santa Barbara Measure E; SB County Measure D; Task Force on Electoral Systems; SB County Association of Governments advisory committees, especially as related to the 101 corridor, and other civic groups.
Lee has been controversial for the inconsistency of his 25 years East Beach volleyball play. A staunch advocate for Nine Inch Nails and for Clifford Brown's trumpet and Earl Hines' keyboard, he finds constant renewal in walking, hiking and visiting the beaches, hills, and paths of the Gaviota Coast. He’s rumored to be a decent cook.
For most of his business career, Doug Buckmaster was a fundraiser, primarily for Caltech, the University of Southern California Cancer Center, and for Orthopedic Hospital Foundation. He retired from the latter in 1992, moving to Cambria.
In Cambria, he became involved in trying to save East-West Ranch in the heart of town and with one mile of unspoiled coastline. He was President of Friends of the RanchLand, helping to block several development plans for the property, then convincing the unsuccessful owner-developers to sell. The appraisal came in at $11.1 million. The Cambria community raised $1.1 million in 364 days to complete funding. With the great help of American Land Conservancy (San Francisco), and perfect timing for California Land Conservancy for the majority of the funds, the property was purchased and transferred to the Cambria Community Services District in fee title and designated as “open space forever.”
With unexpected sickness in the family, Doug moved to Santa Barbara in 2009, joining the Board of Directors of Gaviota Coast Conservancy and the Naples Coalition shortly thereafter. The patient is in remission, and Doug continues to participate to preserve and protect land for future generations.
Ed Easton, Past Chair, Land Use Committee
Ed Easton was elected to the Goleta City Council in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. He served as mayor of Goleta from December 2011 to December 2012. Prior to election, he had served as a member of the Goleta Planning Commission, the Design Review Board, and the City of Goleta Old Town Project Advisory Committee.
Ed and his wife Ky retired to California in 2000, and lived in and renovated a 1913 California bungalow in Old Town Goleta. In 2014, they moved to the Cathedral Oaks Village in Noleta, requiring him to resign from the Goleta City Council.
Originally from the East Coast, Easton earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master's Degree in Architecture from Yale University. As a student, he worked on redevelopment projects for the City of New Haven, Connecticut. Following graduation they moved to North Carolina and Ed was licensed as an architect in 1968. He served as Director of Housing and Physical Planning in Charlotte's Model Cities Urban Renewal Program until he joined the staff of the National Wildlife Federation to create a Leadership Development program. To broaden the program to serve the entire environmental community, he founded the Institute for Conservation Leadership, a nonprofit organization with a six-year grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts in 1974.
Easton has held volunteer leadership positions in the Sierra Club, leading Groups, Chapters, and as the Appalachian Regional Vice President. He has been a board member of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy since 2004. He also founded Friends of Coal Oil Point Reserve. He is currently on his fourth attempt at retirement.
Jim Laponis worked in banking, and then with the County of SB, where he served as a manager in numerous departments for over 33 years, culminating as the Assistant CEO, responsible for orchestrating the County Budget, as well as directing numerous community-oriented projects, including our first foul weather homeless shelter, AIDS program, and the current 911 Ambulance Service contract.
After graduating from UCSB in 1967 with a degree in Economics, Jim served as an officer in the Navy for 3+ years, traveled overseas, and then married Linda in Palos Verdes, finally settling in Santa Barbara in 1974. As of 2017, he and his wife have been married 45 years and have two grown sons who each have two children--four grandchildren. Passionate about family and community, Jim currently serves as Chair of the SB City Fire & Police Commission and as former Vice Chair of the SB County Alcohol & Other Drug Board. He hopes to be of value to the GCC Board in helping to conserve our beautiful Gaviota Coast.
Peter V. Sperling is the Chairman of Apollo Group, and a co-founder and Chairman of CallWave, Inc. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and his MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Janet Koed, Administrator
Janet Koed studied at San Diego's Point Loma College, and then transferred to UCSB, "just in time for war demonstrations and crazy times in Isla Vista." Janet graduated with a Liberal Studies degree, and earned her Early Childhood teaching credential. She taught at Goleta HeadStart, and later served as Director for the Cornelia Moore Dental Foundation, a nonprofit that went to schools and taught dental hygiene. The Foundation also provided grants for dental care for children who couldn’t afford it. Later, Janet worked with Jane Kelley and Anomaly Imports. "This was an education that you don’t get at school. We traveled to Zapotec villages where Jane bought hand-crafted weavings and art and then we sold them in the US.” Around this time, Janet began volunteering for Naples Coalition as administrator and volunteer coordinator. Janet's passion for keeping California's wide open spaces free from sprawl remains undiminished.
Dr. Adam K. Green
Wayne R. Ferren, Jr.
Dr. Lisa Stratton