Board of Directors and Advisory Board

“Who publishes the sheet-music of the winds or the music of water written in river-lines?” John Muir

Board of Directors


Doug Carstens, Board President
Douglas Carstens is the Managing Partner of a five person petitioners’ environmental law firm, Chatten-Brown & Carstens LLP, based in Hermosa Beach and San Diego, and practicing throughout the state. The firm primarily represents environmental and community groups in seeking to enforce state environmental laws and protect natural resources. He recently helped groups in the Sierra Nevada foothills in opposition to an environmentally damaging strip mining project in Amador County.
Doug is a frequent lecturer and panelist regarding environmental law, and has written many articles on the subject. Doug has facilitated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) workshops in Southern California with the PCL Foundation and throughout the Sierra Nevada with CalTrout to ensure communities can participate effectively in the environmental review process. Doug is especially proud of the firm’s effective park advocacy and preservation of open space. Along with Jan Chatten-Brown, a past President of the Alliance, he has helped bring about the public acquisition of parklands in the Rio De Los Angeles State Park, the State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles, and additions to the Kenneth Hahn State Park in Baldwin Hills, and a park known as Elephant Hill in East Los Angeles.
Doug also enjoys an annual trip to Yosemite when attending the State Bar’s Environmental Law Conference, and has long attended the Sierra Nevada Alliance Annual Conference. Doug graduated from Cornell University and UCLA Law School. Prior to attending law school, he served as an officer in the Navy.
He looks forward to working with the Alliance’s board, staff, and membership to promote conservation in and around the Sierra, and help the Alliance grow to become an even better force in helping member groups in accomplishing their missions

Nicole Cartwright, Vice President
Nicole is the Executive Director at Tahoe Resource Conservation District. Nicole had her first exposure to the Sierra Nevada Alliance serving as an AmeriCorps member in 2007. Since her service she has worked for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District developing and implementing programs including aquatic invasive species control, watercraft inspections and public education. Being the first Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Alumni to serve on the board she hopes to bring intimate insight into program development and planning for Alliance’s future. Living in South Lake Tahoe, Nicole enjoys playing in her “backyard” while mountain biking, backpacking, snowboarding, paddleboarding and spending time with her family and friends.

Laura Beaton
Laura Beaton, Secretary
Laura Beaton is a long-time environmental activist turned lawyer, and is now an associate attorney at the law firm of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP. Her work allows her to protect what she loves, and she frequently litigates cases on behalf of nonprofit organizations and community groups to protect wild places, wild animals, and clean air and water, including in the Sierra Nevada. She is also involved in helping to craft renewable-friendly energy policies across the United States. An avid hiker and outdoorsperson, she quickly fell in love with the Sierra upon moving to California, and she and her partner, Justin (a Nevada City native), get out of San Francisco and up to the Sierra whenever they can.

Steve Haze, Treasurer
Steve and his wife Diane live in the old logging town of Auberry in the foothills of the Southern Sierra in eastern Fresno County. For over 50 years Steve has had a passion for this majestic range. He first worked at summer camps, and took frequent backpacking trips on the John Muir Trail. His favorite trip is Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park. During the 1980’s and 90’s Steve and his wife Diane took volunteer work crews out to work on many of the trails in the backcountry of the Southern Sierra. While in the Bay Area working in the high tech and IT industry, he also served on the Board of Directors of organizations such as the Land Trust of Santa Clara County, Committee for Green Foothills, and Friends of Stevens Creek Trail and Wildlife Corridor. He has been an ardent supporter for over 12 years and the non-profit San Joaquin Valley Leadership Forum, which he founded, is a member of the Alliance. Steve’s passion for the environment, as well as cultural, historical preservation – and the betterment of communities has taken him to Mexico, the Middle East and Southern Africa. Steve currently serves on the Board of Friends of the Peace Parks, USA on behalf of the Peace Parks Foundation, South Africa in which he and his wife are founding members, and is also a member of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) for EcoPeace Middle East. Steve’s “8 to 5 job” is as the District Manager for the Sierra Resource Conservation District in eastern Fresno County.

Bob Barrett
Mr. Barrett is a mediator, facilitator, and consultant, working primarily on environmental and other multi-party cases. He splits his time between the San Francisco Bay Area, where his firm, Collaborative Decisions, is located, and Incline Village, Nevada. He has degrees from Stanford and the University of California School of Law at Berkeley (Boalt Hall). Before beginning his practice, he was the program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation responsible for its grants in the environmental and conflict resolution areas.

Bob Dean
Robert Dean
Bob was most recently a member of the Calaveras County Water District and Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), Bob works extensively on water issues. He is a long-time involved resident of Calaveras County. Currently, Bob is also spearheading a two-county effort to develop a citizen group to support preservation of foothill oak woodlands; he is on the Board of Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch. Bob is vice chair of the Mother Lode Land Trust, a regional group which supports land preservation in Calaveras and Amador Counties. He serves on the board of the Youth Mentoring Foundation.

Stephen Smallcombe
Steve is a retired scientist now living with his wife Rosemarie in Mariposa County near Yosemite National Park. Steve received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from U.C. Irvine with an emphasis on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), and then moved to Pasadena where he was a Senior Research Fellow on the Research Faculty at the California Institute of Technology. In 1974 Steve moved from academia to private industry with Varian Associates in Palo Alto, a major manufacturer of scientific instruments.
Steve’s first real taste of the Sierra Nevada high country was when his research group at Caltech took on a 110-mile section of the John Muir Trail in 10 days without use of cached supplies, including a hike to the top of Split Mountain – one of the 14,000+ foot peaks in the Sierra.
Now in retirement, Steve and Rosemarie have built a “green” home in Mariposa. In this case, “retirement” for Rosemarie includes serving as a County Supervisor; and Steve stays busy helping a variety of local environmental and community organizations. Steve uses his background in science to help educate the local community about climate change and things we can do to mitigate it. Currently Steve is heavily involved in dealing with the tree mortality issue in the Southern Sierra and trying to find beneficial use of the dead trees via generation of bioenergy and biochar – a way of sequestering forest carbon rather than burning and releasing that carbon.
Steve and Rosemarie has enjoyed the Alliance Annual meetings and Steve is excited to now be on the Board of Directors.
Pierre Zado
is married to Laura Crowe Zado and lives in San Francisco where he enjoys spending time with his nieces, going on runs with his golden retriever, attending various sporting events, as well as golfing, skiing and tennis. When they are not active in the bay
they spend any free time they have in the Sierras, especially at their place in Tahoe City. Fun facts include having traveled to 5 continents by age 30, playing college football at USC and semi-professional rugby in New Zealand.

Julia Kim
Julia Kim leads the Climate Change Team at the Local Government Commission, a Sacramento-based non-profit working to advance transformative policies and build livable communities throughout California. Julia partners with public agencies and community leaders on place-based resilience initiatives while supporting the advancement of the adaptation field at-large. She focuses on the opportunities that climate change presents to redesign existing systems and processes while collaborating with diverse partners to implement equitable, innovative, and comprehensive climate solutions. Her current portfolio includes some of California’s most prominent adaptation programs, including the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA) and the biennial California Adaptation Forum. In addition to her service with SNA, Julia serves on the board of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP) and several advisory committees including UCLA’s Climate Change Heat Impacts Community Advisory Committee and the 2019 California Climate Action Planning Conference Steering Committee. Julia earned a B.A. in political science and philosophy, and an M.P.P. in environmental policy and international security/economic policy, both from the University of Maryland.

Christopher Wright
Christopher Wright grew up in rural Calaveras County in the Sierra Nevada where his family has owned land for four generations. He spent his childhood hunting, fishing and hiking in the Mokelumne River Watershed. During this time he developed a commitment to preserving the environment as well as a determination to improve the well-being of people living in the Sierra Nevada. He continues to live in Calaveras with his wife and two children.
Chris received a Bachelor’s Degree from Humboldt State University where he studied Natural Resources, Planning and Environmental Conservation. He worked in county government as a planner for Mendocino County and returned to Calaveras to work as the first executive director of the Foothill Conservancy where he fought to protect, restore, and sustain the natural and human environment in his childhood home. Elected in 2012, Chris served on Calaveras County Board of Supervisors until January of 2017. Christopher currently runs a small nonprofit Sierra CPR, working to conserve, protect and restore the “Range of Light”

Advisory Board

Gary Adest

Tanya Africa

Laurel Ames

Jim Baetge

Randy Barrow

Joan Boothe

Cristi Bozora Creegan

Patty Brissenden

Bill Center

Jan Chatten-Brown

Jennifer Cooper

Martha Davis

Tom DeVries

Ray Griffiths

Tracy Grubbs

Bob Kelso

Tim Little

Zeke Lunder

Terry Manning

Tom Martens

Geoff McQuilkin

Pete Pumphrey

Lynn Sadler

Peter Van Zant