The Museum Team
The project team is responsible for overseeing the many components of this exciting endeavor—the creation of a museum that helps to inspire our future conservationists.
Elizabeth is an Interpreter III in the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks. Elizabeth has been involved in project management and exhibit design and for over 20 years. She has been the project manager on many large, complex visitor center and campfire center projects. She managed the following renovation projects in the Santa Cruz District: Henry Cowell Visitor Center, Big Basin Campfire Center, and Rancho Del Oso Visitor Center. Elizabeth is currently managing the Sandhills Mobile Visitor Center project at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. These projects were funded by multiple sources including state IEP funds, state VEH funds, Cooperating Association funds and donations. All of Elizabeth’s projects have been completed on time and within budget.
Rachel is the Maintenance Chief at Big Basin Redwoods in the Mountain Sector, Santa Cruz District. Rachel has been involved in several building and facility renovations and has experience working on restoration projects involving historic buildings and park structures. Rachel has been actively involved in project scoping and renovation planning at the Big Basin Nature Museum and will manage the building construction aspects of this project.
Jodi is an Interpreter I in the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks. Jodi has been involved in interpretive projects and exhibit design for over 15 years. Jodi has provided expertise during the renovations of the Henry Cowell Visitor Center and Rancho Del Oso Visitor Center and she is currently assisting with the Sandhills Mobile Visitor Center project. Jodi also worked on a large number of interpretive exhibit projects in cooperation with private contractors at Natural Bridges State Beach, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Portola and Castle Rock. Jodi is the lead for collections management in museum and exhibit renovation projects.
Felipe is the Maintenance Chief for the Santa Cruz District and has managed many large capital outlay projects in his career. He is familiar with the requirements for historic building construction and renovation and has worked on a number of historic structures including the historic complex at Wilder Ranch and the historic buildings at Big Basin. Felipe has experience budgeting for large capital outlay projects and is familiar with state contracts and public works contract management. In addition, Felipe is familiar with ADA compliance and CEQA requirements.
Susan is an Interpreter I at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz District. Susan is very familiar with the natural and cultural history of Big Basin and will bring a depth of knowledge about the park to this project. She is familiar with the wide variety of visitors who come to Big Basin and knowledgeable about their interests.
Elise is a Senior Park Aide in the Santa Cruz District and is responsible for assisting with photographic resources and graphic images. She works to support the exhibit design team with the many tasks involved in renovating visitor centers and museums.
Brenda is the Executive Director of Mountain Parks Foundation, State Parks’ nonprofit partner on the Big Basin Nature Museum and Research Center renovation project. Brenda is a seasoned leader with 28 years of nonprofit and corporate leadership experience. She has developed and managed multi-million dollar operating budgets and programs and has a proven track record working with governmental agencies and collaborative partners. Brenda’s expertise in project planning and fiscal management will support the securing of additional funding and effective allocation of financial resources on this project.
Larry is a retired California State Parks District Maintenance Chief, with 35 years' experience working in various State Parks in the Central Coast area, starting at Big Basin in 1981. He currently works as a consultant for Save the Redwoods League and helps with conferences at the California State Parks Statewide Trails office.
Jessica is the Land Project and Stewardship Manager for Save the Redwoods League, a non-profit partner organization on the Big Basin Nature Museum & Research Center renovation project. She has over 12 years of experience working in land conservation and restoration, beginning in stewardship for a land trust in Oregon, then moving to California, where she has been working for Save the Redwoods League since 2011. Jessica’s role has her managing multiple partnerships and projects with California state parks, as well as national, regional, and county parks.
Deborah is the Education and Interpretation Manager at Save the Redwoods League. Deborah joined the League in 2013 with over 8 years of experience teaching students environmental science. Before joining the League she worked for an environmental education organization, where she taught watershed ecology to elementary school students. Deborah has also worked for the National Park Service, KQED and the UC Cooperative Extension creating curriculum and outreach material relating to the natural history and ecology of the Bay Area. At the League, Deborah deals with everything “education and interpretation.” She runs our education grants program and our elementary and high school programs. She partners with education organizations and state and national parks to enhance their redwood education and interpretation programs and engages the public in our citizen science projects.
Amanda is a valuable asset to the exhibit committee team, contributing her experience with the visual arts, science and background in working in a museum. She is also the Director of Tribute and Legacy Giving at Sempervirens Fund.
Leigh Ann Gessner
Leigh Ann is serving in an advisory role as part of the exhibit committee. Her sensitive, thoughtful writing lends well to our themes and story lines for the project as she continues to be a valuable asset to the exhibit experience planning team.
Mike has joined us in a volunteer capacity, his interest in all things connecting Silicon Valley Tech culture to the outdoors serves to create a relevant experience for area visitors.
Juliann brings graphic design expertise, and a love of the outdoors to the exhibit committee and we are delighted to have her participation and knowledge available to the team.
Tim, our environmental scientist at California State Parks, is an irreplaceable resource. We call on Tim continuously and benefit from his extensive knowledge of the natural history of our region.
Well-established in Santa County and co-owner of an Aptos-based firm, Franks Brenkwitz & Associates, Bret goes beyond just supplying high quality architectural drawings and schematics. He provides architectural expertise to meet all the design goals for the museum’s building renovation.