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Meet Your Officers


Leslie Koenig

2023 President

Leslie grew up in the mountains of Colorado where she developed a passion early for anything outdoors growing up playing in the trees, lakes and rivers of the Rockies. She obtained a bachelors of science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She moved to the Bay Area after graduating and loves continually learning about the biological diversity of the region and state. She lives in Livermore and enjoys hiking, skiing, camping and anything outdoors with her family. 


Farley Connelly


Farley hails from Chicago but migrated to the west coast to learn about all thing’s wildlife at UCSB. Following college, Farley started a career in conservation research in the San Francisco Bay Area, working with a variety of threatened and endangered species. Wanting to further his education, Farley moved to Australia where he completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne, studying the impacts of urban environments on bird cognition and sleep. While completing his PhD, Farley also worked as a wildlife biologist, conducting research on some of Australia’s most unique creatures including the platypus. He currently works as a biologist for the Alameda County Resource Conservation District, researching California’s native wildlife. 


Natalie Reeder 

Newsletter Editor & 2020 Past-President

Natalie is a wildlife biologist for East Bay Regional Park District, working on special status and just plain special wildlife and habitats throughout the East Bay. She earned a BA from UC Berkeley and a MS from SFSU studying amphibian disease in the Sierra Nevada. An incomplete list of species she has been bitten by includes channel island grey fox and just about every species of snake native to northern California except rattlesnakes. When not glamorously slogging through a bog in chest waders, Natalie volunteers for a low cost spay/neuter program, tries to figure out why some people find yoga relaxing, and plans dog-friendly adventures. She lives in South San Francisco with dog, Elbie, box turtle, Apache, and cat, Brooks, who was named after a serial killer.


Jessica Copeland


Jessica is an Environmental Scientist for CDFW currently working on the Statewide Bobcat Monitoring Project out of Region 4. She attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. In her free time, she enjoys traveling abroad, kayaking, horseback riding, photography and learning Spanish.

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Patricia Valcarcel

Conservation Affairs Chair

Patricia is a senior wildlife biologist at WRA, Inc in San Rafael, and a Certified Wildlife Biologist. Her background includes a variety of academic-oriented jobs and organizations with a focus of science to inform management and policy. Spatial ecology and animal movement were the focus of most of her studies, but everyone still asks what is her favorite taxon. For that answer she says she gave up trying to work with canids when she realized she would rather be on a nice warm rock like those snakes...  Patricia was fairly nomadic until landing here in the Bay Area in 2011, but she does her best to keep traveling and seeing new things from the beautiful base camp of San Francisco. She loves trading stories of explorations both local and abroad, sharing experiences, baseball games, and helping new recruits to this field find their passion.


Kathleen Grady

Chapter Representative to the Section

Kathleen Grady is a wildlife biologist based out of San Francisco. She received her BS in Ecology and Evolution from UC Santa Barbara, and after working as a seasonal biologist studying birds for almost 10 years, she went back to school to get her Masters at Sonoma State University. There, she studied bird response to creek restoration on private ranches and dairies. While most of her career has been focused on birds, more recently Kathleen has been enjoying getting more experience with plants and herps -- especially the adorable California tiger salamander. Kathleen volunteers as a bander for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory and remains passionate about maintaining what makes the Bay Area special by optimizing public and private lands for both wildlife and people.


Nate Vorapharuek


Nate has been a biologist for eight years. She currently works at PG&E as a terrestrial biologist. Nate was raised in the suburbs of Bangkok, Thailand. In 2011, she moved to Southern California for her undergraduate studies. During that time, she worked at a wildlife rehabilitation center. She loved working with California native species and interacting with the public to bring awareness on various environmental issues threatening native fauna and flora. Her graduate degree brought her to the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Nate likes to spend her time with her dogs, gardening, and checking out new wineries. Most warm weekends you'll find her hanging out with her dogs while gardening and drinking wine simultaneously. 

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Want to join our board?

We are always looking for members to join our committees, and each board position has a term. If you are interested, please feel free to contact us!


Laura Duffy

Past President

Laura is a marine biologist / ecologist in San Francisco. After childhood and undergrad on the east coast, then time at sea around Alaska and Polynesia, she landed in CA in 2010. Her MSc research at San Francisco State University’s Estuary & Ocean Science Center studied harbor porpoise presence in relation to the tidal exchange at the Golden Gate. She has since worked as a research technician and wildlife biologist with various projects throughout CA. She has field experience in all 11 counties included in The SF Bay Area Chapter of TWS! She is currently working on NEPA planning initiatives in CA's offshore marine environment. In her spare time, Laura enjoys volunteering, swimming, exploring trails, gardening, and walking the beach with her pup – generally playing outside! She has participated on the board of The SF Bay Area Chapter of TWS since 2016.


Carli Baker

Public Outreach Chair

Carli is a biologist and naturalist living in Oakland, California. She's been sharing her love of the environment since high school, where she led outreach efforts for her local Creek Club. Since then, she's received a B.A. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a Minor in Forestry from UC Berkeley and a M.A. in Adult Environmental Education. She's dedicated her career to creating a generation of environmentally literate adults through nature exploration and scientific inquiry in the US and Europe. She's taught in zoos, aquariums, vernal pools, science museums, parks, classrooms, and backyards, and loves connecting people with their local environment. When she isn't working in the field or teaching environmental education, she enjoys gardening, yoga, captaining her local kickball team and taking her adventurous cat Alphonse on hikes throughout the Oakland hills. 

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Sean MacDonald

Professional Development Chair

*Coming soon!

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Lauren Ross

Student Affairs

Lauren is a wildlife ecologist in the SF Bay Area with a passion for wildlife conservation. She has been dedicated to studying and saving wildlife since the day she caught her first snake in her front yard at age five. After graduating with a Biology Degree from SDSU, Lauren sought a variety of experiences from Mexican wolf recovery in Arizona, mountain lion and bobcat monitoring in the Santa Monica Mountains, to Western bluebird reintroduction in Washington. Her love for travel has also led her to seek opportunities worldwide including lion and elephant research in Kenya, elephant research in Sri Lanka, and herpefauna research in Costa Rica. In between her travels she obtained a master’s degree in environmental management from USF while working for the State. In her free time, she loves hiking and camping, snowboarding, scuba diving, fly fishing, running, and photographing the beauty of nature.  


Gabriel Reyes

Diversity Chair

Gabe Reyes grew up in the Bay Area, spending much of his childhood running around Tilden Park and the many other preserves scattered around the region. Gabe attended San Francisco State for undergrad in Zoology with a minor in Geography. He then attended Humboldt State for his master’s degree, studying the social behavior of hoary bats during migration. He then went on to work in environmental consulting focusing on bats and renewable energy impacts to wildlife. He now works as a bat biologist for the US Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center, studying the ecology of bats in the Western US. When not out chasing bats, he can be found chasing other critters (salamanders, bugs, etc…), playing music, trail running, eating chilaquiles, and learning random new skills.   


Rachel Roberts


Rachel is a wildlife biologist living and working in the Bay Area. Originally from the east coast, Rachel fell in love with California on her first visit in 2003 and has called this state her home for the last 13 years. Rachel obtained both a B.S. and M.S. in Organismal Biology, Conservation, and Ecology from San Jose State University. A mammologist at heart, the focus of her thesis was on bobcats in the Mount Hamilton Range. Rachel has also had the pleasure of working with the elusive southern Sierra Nevada fisher population, mountain lions, condors, burrowing owls, California red-legged frogs, and many other flora and fauna in California. With her drive to be immersed in nature as much as possible, Rachel's favorite past time is wandering the great outdoors with her trusty side kick Genji.


Nicole Christie

Media Director

Nicole has been a wildlife biologist for 9 years and is currently working at PG&E. She studied western pond turtles during her time at Sonoma State, where she received her B.A. and M.S. in biology. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new Bay Area hiking trail, going to beer festivals, and spending time with her animals.

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Past Presidents

2022: Laura Duffy

2021: Rachel Roberts

2020: Natalie Reeder

2019: Natalie Greer 

2018: Jen Jelincic

2017: Kristin Tremain

2016: Tammy Lim

2015: Erika Walther

2014: Mandi McElroy

2013: Matthew Bettelheim

2012: Natasha Dvorak

2011: Karen Swaim

2010: Christine Gaber

2009: Doug Bell

2008: Kellie Collins/Ron Duke

2007: Mary Boland

2006: Tom Kucera

2005: Doug Padley/Tom Kucera

2004: Doug Padley

2003: Brian Pittman

2001-2002: Dave Cook

2000: Steve Bobzien

1999: Joe DiDonato

1991-1993: Judd Howell

1982: Audrey Goldsmith

1981: Roger Harris

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