Nicole Byrd, Executive Director
Nicole joined Solano Land Trust in the fall of 2008 with a solid background in nonprofit management, leadership, fundraising, and community building. Prior to joining Solano Land Trust, Nicole served as the Solano-Napa field representative for Greenbelt Alliance where she played a critical role in establishing an open space district in Napa County and in advocating for strong agriculture, open space and habitat protections during the Solano County general plan update process. In addition to her coalition building skills, she has a record of raising funds, awareness, and enthusiasm. Nicole also worked for five years as a program manager and marketing specialist at The Federal Technology Center, a nonprofit that promotes economic development by creating bridges between the government and the private sector. She earned a bachelor's degree in conservation biology from UC Davis, and a master's in business from Capella University.
development, communications and Administration
deanna mott, associate director
Deanna joined Solano Land Trust in November 2010. She has ultimate oversight of the community engagement, administrative, communications and fundraising functions for Solano Land Trust. Deanna has over 20 years combined experience between both military and corporate settings and specialized in program development, project management and human resources. She is a strong leader who has a proven history of developing cohesive relationships that bring varying ideas together to reach common goals, as well as creating new programs and process improvement. Deanna was born and raised in Iowa surrounded by farmland, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Master of Business Administration from National University.
Natalie DuMont, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Natalie joined Solano Land Trust in 2010. She grew up in Solano County and earned a bachelor's in human biology and a master's degree in earth systems from Stanford University. She has taught environmental education to all ages through Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Stanford Sierra Camp, and Stanford Travel. Her previous employers include Stanford University, Greenbelt Alliance, and Google. As the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Natalie builds and maintains partnerships with the community, promotes environmental education, and supports over 300 skilled and dedicated volunteers who are the lifeblood of Solano Land Trust.
Anne DeLozier, Business Services Manager
Anne joined Solano Land Trust in March 2009 as a volunteer, and in August joined the Solano Land Trust staff. As Business Services Manager she handles bookkeeping and payroll, insurance, benefits, website, and some event coordination and graphic design. Before moving to California, she spent fourteen years in the design side of the book publishing industry, most recently as part of the management team of a small company located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Anne has a bachelor's degree in English from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. When she moved to California in March 2007 she immediately fell in love with the California landscape and lifestyle.
Samantha Penko, Fundraising Assistant
Samantha is a new addition to Solano Land Trust and began work in October 2014. She recently graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Psychology & a BS in Human Development. Throughout college she was heavily involved with Camp Kesem, a nonprofit organization that hosts a free summer camp for children affected by their parent’s cancer. She served as a fundraising chair and director of the chapter for 2 years. Her leadership roles and nonprofit experience will allow her to provide proper assistance and administrative support to the SLT development team in all fundraising initiatives. As Fundraising Assistant, she is responsible for leading the coordination of fundraising events, assisting with appeals and campaigns, and managing the donor database. Samantha is very excited to be a part of such a passionate team at Solano Land Trust.
Stewardship & Transactions
Steve Kohlmann, Stewardship Director
Steve joined Solano Land Trust in May of 2014. As the Stewardship Director, Steve’s responsibilities lie primarily with managing the Trust’s lands and easements. Steve is a certified wildlife biologist with over 20 years of experience in academia, government agencies, and ecological consulting. Steve is a broadly trained ecologist and land manager with special training in forest and rangeland habitats. Steve has a Master’s degree in Forest Sciences from Munich University and a PhD in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M. He has two daughters and in his off-time enjoys horseback riding, hiking, hunting and fishing.
Sue Wickham, Project manager
Sue joined the Land Trust staff in 2005. She manages properties, programs and projects for Solano Land Trust’s western hills properties: King- Swett Ranches, Lynch Canyon Open Space and the new Rockville Trails Preserve. Sue’s background is in geology, hydrology, botany, and education. She worked as a consulting geologist for many years before consulting in environmental education and project management. She loves being outside on the properties and interacting with citizen scientists in SLT’s monthly Citizen Science Friday Program, the Adopt-a-Site program, and volunteer workdays. At SLT Sue’s focus is preparing and implementing management plans for the western hills properties. Recent projects have included restoration of riparian and wetland areas, creek restoration and enhancement, grazing monitoring, stockpond repair and weed control programs. Sue has a BS in geology from Denison University, a MS in geology from the University of Illinois Champaign- Urbana, and a California Teaching Credential.
Patricia Gaither, Conservation Manager
joined Solano Land Trust in March 2015, after 2 years of volunteering at
Rush Ranch. As Conservation Manager, she
focuses on transactions for conservation easements and mitigation projects in
Solano County. Her 31-plus years of prior experience
at a large engineering/construction firm, primarily with management of
contracts and policy development, implementation of environmental projects, and
coordination of sustainability issues, complement the experience of the rest of
our team. Patricia brings her passion
for learning new things to Solano Land Trust as we continue to evolve to
protect our local natural areas, agricultural lands, and wildlife habitats. She holds a master’s degree in environmental
Tracy Ellison, Conservation Project Coordinator & monitoring steward
Tracy Ellison joined the Solano Land Trust staff in 2011. She came to us from the Suisun Valley Fund, a program working toward the sustainability and profitability of agriculture in Suisun Valley. For the previous 6 years she had supported and worked alongside the landowners and growers as their Ag Ambassador. As Ag Ambassador, she worked to advance the awareness of local produce, wine, olive oil and other value-added agricultural products. She supported and built strong lines of communication between landowners, growers and the outside community. Tracy grew up in rural Fresno County. As the daughter of an Ag teacher, she was involved in 4-H and FFA, raised and showed livestock, and participated in public speaking and leadership opportunities.
Ken Poerner, Land Steward
Ken joined Solano Land Trust in 1998 and is the “go to” guy on our properties. He manages stewardship and public access activities on all Solano Land Trust properties. Ken loves to bird watch and travels throughout the west to pursue his passion of bird watching. A retired flight engineer instructor at Travis Air Force Base, Ken is also active with the Napa-Solano Chapter of the National Audubon Society and the Jepson Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. He holds an associate's degree in business from Solano Community College, a bachelor's degree in natural sciences and mathematics from Thomas Edison State College, and a post-graduate certificate in land use and environmental planning from UC Davis Extension.
Jordan Knippenberg, Field Steward
Jordan Knippenberg, our Field Steward, is new to Solano Land Trust, as well as the west coast. His work and life experiences vary in location but all pertain to the enjoyment of the outdoors and he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with him. Originally from upstate New York, Jordan received his BA in Art with a concentration in art therapy from the University of New York in Potsdam. He worked with at-risk teens in the wilderness of the Adirondack Park sleeping under the stars all year around. In another chapter of his life, Jordan lived and worked in New Mexico working for the Forest Service clearing trails, packing horses, and moderating trail use in the Santa Fe National Forest. From Montana to Louisiana to Arizona, Jordan has spent time professionally and personally being captivated by the experience of being surrounded by nature. He relishes the beautiful weather of northern California and is excited to be living here and calling the people of Solano Land Trust his coworkers.
Monatte McGee, Rush Ranch Steward
Monatte has been with us since November 2010 to support the public use of all Rush Ranch facilities by the general public, visiting scientists, and other user groups. She was introduced to Rush Ranch through volunteering for Access Adventure and quickly became a valued and important part of our organization. Monatte has a gift for working with special needs people and those who come to us through challenging circumstances by allowing them to contribute to the beauty of our wonderful Native Plant Garden at Rush Ranch. Her great talent is using her vivacious personality to get others to help with all the tasks around the ranch and making everyone feel welcome and taken care of.