Staff and Board

Staff

Anna Patterson, Executive Director
Anna Patterson, Executive Director

Anna grew up along the coast of northern California, from the Bay Area through Humboldt county. Her love of the natural world developed from a young age while visiting places like Big Basin, camping at Memorial Park with her father and brother and hiking in the redwoods. Anna worked in communications, sales and marketing in the Bay Area before shifting to non-profit fund and resource development 17 years ago. Since then, Anna has worked within leadership teams for nonprofits of various sizes and has been closely involved in all areas of nonprofit administration including financial management, ethics, human resources, fund development, program management and communications. Anna has been with the Point Lobos Foundation since 2012 and can be reached at 866-338-7221 ext 101 or anna@pointlobos.org.

Anna Bonnette, Restoration Ecologist
Anna Bonnette, Restoration Ecologist

Anna is originally from the great state of Minnesota and has lived on the West Coast for the past 25 years. She attended high school in Washington, receiving her BS in Botany and minor in Plant Systematics and Ecology at Oregon State University. Through curiosity, Anna found her way down to California, and fell in love with the wide variety of landscapes and never ending adventures. For the past 13 years Anna has worked for the US Forest Service (USFS) throughout Oregon and California. At the USFS she held a wide array of positions in botany, fire control, hydrology, volunteer management, restoration and recreation. Anna has been working as a Botanist for the past 4 years, focusing on spring and meadow restorations, wetland delineations, training and supervision of interns, native plant seed collection, cultivation and planting and GIS/data collection and management. Contact Anna at 866-338-7227 extension 104 or abonnette@pointlobos.org.

Karen Cowdrey, Finance Specialist
Karen Cowdrey, Finance Specialist

Karen has been working in finance management in the Monterey area since 1985. She has provided services to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations including the Pebble Beach Company, Carmel Chamber of Commerce and Chamber Music Monterey Bay. Contact Karen at 866-338-7227 extension 103 or accountspayable@pointlobos.org.

Tracy Gillette-Ricci, Development Coordinator
Tracy Gillette-Ricci, Communications Manager

Tracy is a graduate of Florida State University and started her career as a Social Worker. She grew up on the West Coast of Florida and has always had a love of marine areas and a passion to help protect natural resources. After moving to California in 1999, she discovered the Monterey Peninsula and in 2005 made it her home. She lives in Carmel with her two school aged daughters. Contact Tracy at 866-338-7227 extension 107 or tracy@pointlobos.org.

Reg Henry, Editor, Point Lobos Magazine
Reg Henry, Editor, Point Lobos Magazine

Reg is a former editor of The Herald who had a 45-year career in journalism and in retirement still writes a nationally syndicated column for the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette. Born in Singapore, where his father headed the Reuters news agency, Reg grew up in Australia, where he started as a cub reporter for the Courier-Mail in Brisbane. After service in the Australian Army in Vietnam, he moved to England and worked at The Times of London. After he married his American wife Priscilla in 1976, he moved to Pittsburgh and joined the Post-Gazette. Reg was the Herald editor from 1988 to 1993 and returned to Pittsburgh after the Herald was sold. He was the Post-Gazette's deputy editorial page editor when he retired from full-time journalism at the end of 2014. He moved back to this area in March 2015 and is now a Point Lobos docent and member of the foundation. Reg can be reached at regwriter43@gmail.com.

Board of Directors

Kit Armstrong, President
Kit Armstrong, President

Kit has spent her working career in the environmental field. This included regulation and planning with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, managing environmental and social issues for a global energy company, and currently as an independent environmental consultant.  Her experience encompasses environmental law and strategy, government and community relations, and strategic and operational planning, among other areas.  Her professional focus and personal passion have always been natural resources conservation, especially through organizational collaboration and partnerships.  She feels deeply privileged to be able to put that passion to work as both a member of the Point Lobos Foundation Board of Directors and as a docent at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

 Joe Vargo, Vice President
Joe Vargo, Vice President

Joe is a recently retired Project Management professional whose career included management positions with Bank of America, Visa International and Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and the UK. Before retiring he was Vice President and Manager of Project Managers for Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco. Joe has had a family presence on the Monterey Peninsula since 1981 and currently resides in Carmel Highlands. Joe also serves on the Board of the Big Sur International Marathon and has been the Operations & Venue Manager for the Carmel International Film Festival since 2013.

Holly Carlin, board member
Holly Carlin, Treasurer

Holly retired as a CPA at the end of 2018 after 35 years in practice. The last 17 years she had her own practice where she specialized in nonprofit accounting for the last 10 years. She is a 5th generation Californian. Her grandparents lived in Carmel Valley and one of the family’s favorite places for picnics was Point Lobos. The Monterey Peninsula was a second home for her so she followed her parents to the peninsula in 1986 where she raised her son in Pacific Grove. Being newly retired, Holly looks forward to spending more time with her grandson in the bay area, working with the PLF and spending more time outside and with family and friends.

Jacolyn Harmer
Jacolyn Harmer

Jacolyn was born and educated in the United Kingdom. After graduation, Jacolyn built a busy practice as a professional translator and conference interpreter based in Brussels, working for international institutions and businesses throughout Europe and beyond. In 1985 she was invited to cross The Pond and join the faculty at the (then) Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) where, to her own astonishment, she has just completed 30 years as a professor of translation and interpretation. Jacolyn now calls Pacific Grove home and her volunteerism is as important to her as her professional and academic activities. She trained to be a Point Lobos docent on her arrival in 1985/6 and has happily served in the rank and file ever since. 

Loren Hughes
Loren Hughes

Loren is a 4th generation Californian born in Modesto who moved to the Monterey Bay area in the early 70’s. He and his wife Jane have lived here since.  He worked in the wine, technology and produce industries retiring in 2014. Loren’s commitment to volunteerism has included girls and boys scouting, parent and educational foundations in area schools, board membership in a Carmel civic association, and volunteering at local golf events.  His time as a docent for the last three years at Point Lobos helping visitors appreciate this special place has been extremely rewarding.

Castel Ortiz
Castel Ortiz

Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Castel attended SUNY at Buffalo and Kingsborough College, where he received a degree in Chemistry. He then embarked on a career on Wall St, the last 20 years as the Senior NASDAQ Trader at Goldman Sachs where he developed a reputation as a skilled trader, teacher and mentor. Upon retirement in 2004 he pursued his passion for the arts, travelled extensively and volunteered with Earthwatch, Boarder Babies and as a Wish Granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among others. Since moving to Carmel in 2011, he has continued his volunteer ethic as a Guide at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and as a Docent at Point Lobos. He enjoys photography, drawing, painting, Krav Maga, Tai Chi, hiking and travel.

Jim Rurka
Jim Rurka, Docent Administrator

Before retiring in January, 2013, Jim spent 45 years in executive marketing and business development positions at large pharmaceutical companies as well as both established and start-up biotechnology firms. Over the course of his career, Jim successfully closed more than 25 licensing, partnership and venture deals, launched new pharmaceutical products into U.S. and European markets, and served as CEO and member of the Board of Directors of both private and public U.S. healthcare companies. He is also a former director of the Emerging Companies Section and Governing Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Jim holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature with a minor in Business from Seton Hall University, where he also attended its Graduate School of Business. Jim served in the U.S. Navy, and is a 2014 graduate of PLSNR Docent Training Class 36. Jim and his wife Anne reside in Carmel, have two children (Mark and Jennifer) and three grandchildren (Isabel, Nathan and Haley). They are thoroughly enjoying family, friends, travel and volunteer work in the community.

Karin Stratton
Karin Stratton

Karin is the Partnership Manager for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. She engages over 200 Conservation Partners across 9 countries and 4 continents. Trained as a biologist and environmental scientist, Karin’s profession is truly her passion. She has over 25 years’ experience working at zoos and aquariums with a background in conservation education, husbandry, membership, development, guest experience, interpretation and training. She greatly enjoys collaboration among partners and industry leaders to affect positive change for the natural world. Karin is an avid gardener, native plant advocate and overall outdoor enthusiast. Late winter and early spring are her favorite seasons to hike Point Lobos because the Ceanothus (California lilac) blooms are in full force; she is so fond of the lilac-periwinkle blossoms, she painted her front door the same vibrant color. 

Cynthia Vernon
Cynthia Vernon

As the chief operating officer for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cynthia oversees exhibits, husbandry, facilities, education, guest experience and visitor research and evaluation. Cynthia has more than 30 years of experience in informal science and conservation education at aquariums and zoos. In addition to leading the education programs, guest experience and visitor research teams, she serves on the aquarium’s Executive Committee, which makes strategic and financial decisions for the organization. Cynthia has a BA in zoology from DePauw University and an MS in biology (animal behavior) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is an active member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, having served on its national Board of Directors and now on its Ethics Board. Cynthia has a special interest in understanding the role of visits to aquariums and zoos on conservation behavior and has led several large visitor research studies to investigate it. She is also involved in a national coalition to encourage more effective interpretation and action about climate change. She is an enthusiastic Girl Scout volunteer, and enjoys choral music, international travel, playing golf and being in nature.