I have been volunteering in my community since I was a teenager and believe in giving back to the community in which I live. At 16, I became a volunteer fire fighter and did so off and on for over 16 years. In my early 20’s I volunteered for the Cetacean Society and taught classes on grey whales and led whale watching tours out of Newport Beach. I raised money for Orange County Fund for Environmental Defense for groups such as Audubon’s Starr Ranch. I have also spoken in front of the California Coastal Commission twice about environmental issues facing California's coast and in 2005 became good friends with Peter Douglas, Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission until his passing in 2012. When I lived on the Smith River in northern California, I volunteered at the Marine Mammal Center in Crescent City and took care of marine mammals. I also did fish counts for Smith River Alliance and bird counts in the Tolawa Dunes State Park at the mouth of the Smith River.
After moving to the Russian river area in 2009, I started volunteering for Russian Riverkeeper and have worked on many projects for them. I was awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2010.
I started my own cleaning business in 1990 and have been a green janitor for over 25 years. In 2013, my business was Green Certified by Sonoma County's Green Business Program and that same year I was awarded Green Business of the Year from the Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce.
I have always cared about the rivers and ocean where I lived. In late 2014, I noticed the devastating effects of all the trash coming down the river after heavy rains and entering the estuary and going out into the ocean. As a result, I started my first beach cleanup event and started thinking about ways we could prevent and clean up the river more often. With the help of a couple of friends and with fiscal sponsorship through Russian Riverkeeper, I have started Clean River Alliance. Our mission is:
To remove trash from the Russian River Watershed and to educate citizens about the problem of river trash in our waters by creating more public river cleanup events.
Since 2015, the volunteers of Clean River Alliance have helped remove over 300,000 pounds of trash from the Russian River Watershed. In 2016, we started partnering with local houseless folks through the Vets Connect program in Guerneville and of that total amount, these homeless volunteers have collected over 80,000 lbs.
Through our efforts with Clean River Alliance we are making a huge difference in the environment of the Russian River. And together with our partner groups: Russian Riverkeeper, Russian River Wild Steelhead Society, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, Sonoma Coast Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, B-RAD Foundation, the City of Santa Rosa Creek Stewardship Program and others, we will continue to improve our rivers, waterways and the ocean so that it’s plants and animals can flourish and so that everyone who comes to the Russian River Watershed can enjoy it’s natural beauty.