Explore the Coast Advisory Board
The Advisory Board to the Explore the Coast program is comprised of experts and people with experience with outdoor education and equity. Their professional backgrounds serve the interests of the communities in grant program. The Advisory Board counsels Conservancy staff on the application process, review of applications, and ongoing delivery of the Explore the Coast grant program.
The Explore the Coast program seeks to increase recreational, educational, or stewardship opportunities particularly for people and communities that may face challenges visiting and enjoying the coast. Over the past five years, this program has distributed over $5.3 million through nearly 200 ETC grants throughout California to connect more people to California’s spectacular coast. Through these grants, tens of thousands of Californians have been able to experience the coast, often for the first time.
The Conservancy aims to equitably distribute this funding and maximize the impact of every dollar spent. The Advisory Board brings a wealth of insight and diverse experience to help this program better serve the needs of all Californians.
Advisory Board Members
Mr. Au supports The San Diego Foundation’s Community Impact work by administering The Foundation’s environmental grant programs; researching current and future trends of environmental policymaking; and stewarding The Foundation’s relationships with those working to address critical environmental issues across the county, state and nation. Everett has a background in public education and nonprofit work where he wore many hats as an informal educator, academic counselor, volunteer coordinator and grant writer. Everett strives to build connections between communities most in need of support and those with the resources and desire to make a difference.
Mr. Chavez serves as the General Manager of the Hesperia Recreation & Park District. He brings with him an extensive background in day-to-day operations, budget administration, managing parks/facilities, recreation management oversight, and leading administrative divisions. He is a member of the California Parks & Recreation Society, the California Association of Recreation & Parks Districts, and the California Special Districts Association. His mission is to build a healthy community through people, parks, and programs. He is a true believer in exceptional customer service, proactive government, and the preservation of parks and facilities. Furthermore, he strongly believes that recreation & parks services enhance the quality of life, health, and well-being of the people and community.
Myrian Solis Coronel
Ms. Coronel is the Director of Parks California, a nonprofit organization and California State Parks’ official statutory partner dedicated to expanding programs, amenities, and resources so that all people have the opportunity to build lifelong, meaningful connections with nature. Prior to this position she led REI’s Next Gen Marketing program. Prior to joining REI, she worked at KPBS, a local PBS and NPR affiliate, where she managed special events and developed media and outreach campaigns. She has been a board member for several organizations including I Love a Clean San Diego and MANA de San Diego. She is also the co-creator of the Latina Giving Circle. From 2018-2019, she was Chair of the California State Park and Recreation Commission, serving as the Commission’s first Latina Chair.
Ms. Diaz is the Founder and Director of the Educator Collective for Environmental Justice and an Educator Collaborator with Science Friday. Her work centers around empowering and supporting educators to drive social change towards environmental justice. Laura’s research interests lie in the cross-section between educators, students, and the community using environmental justice and data mapping.
Ms. Mohnot is a Senior Policy Analyst and Program Manager on the Environmental Equity team at the Greenlining Institute. Sona works on creating equitable climate adaptation and resilience strategies to ensure that communities hit first and worst by climate disasters have the resources and support needed to adapt to a changing climate and thrive in spite of it. She was the lead author of Making Equity Real in Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience Policies and Programs, a guidebook for policymakers on how to meaningfully embed equity in resilience efforts. Sona also serves as a council member on the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP), out of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and is a member of the California Climate Insurance Working Group, out of the California Department of Insurance. She holds a J.D. from Tulane School of Law and her LL.M in Natural Resources and Environmental Law from Lewis and Clark Law School.
Ms. Molina is a Community Organizer with the Trust for Public Land’s Los Angeles office. She is a community advocate who has been working on access to parks and open space since the age of 13. Her involvement in advocacy for two State Parks, Rio de Los Angeles State Park and Los Angeles Historic State Park, and the Los Angeles River Revitalization efforts in her teens inspired her to pursue a community-organizer career focused on community empowerment and park and open space equity. Through her 20 plus years of community organizing experience, working with various nonprofits in the environmental and social justice sector, she continues to bring commitment, passion and the ability to connect with community members to every project. Dayana is also a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary and advocate for immigrant rights and resources.
Mr. Morales is the reserve steward at University of California – Davis’s Bodega Marine Reserve. He is a restoration practitioner that aims to broaden stakeholder engagement in natural resource management through natural history. As an avid recreationist, he is an advocate for programming that develops underserved youth’s water competency, and observation abilities through inquiry-based learning.
Dr. Seto is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research lies at the intersection of environmental justice, political ecology, and sustainability science within marine and coastal systems. Her work explores the equity, sustainability, and governance of marine and coastal resources, and how they can best support the health and wellbeing of local communities.
Ms. Smith, Founder and Director Emerita of AXIS Dance Company, is one of the world’s driving forces in dance and disability. She is an avid hiker, birder and advocate for universal accessibility in the outdoors. Judith is in training to become a certified CA Naturalist and is helping to start a Birding for All program. She also volunteers with several animal welfare and wildlife organizations doing animal transport and fostering squirrels.
Ms. VanDamme is a Mexican-American woman who grew up in California and currently lives on Ramaytush Ohlone land. She has worked as an environmental educator for 8 years, beginning at her college Adventure Outings program leading outdoor trips for fellow students. She has exemplified a dedication to helping others build reciprocity with nature, especially with the ocean through City Surf Project and Brown Girl Surf. She has worked on several coastal access and environmental justice initiatives at the government and non-profit levels. Olivia has advocated for more equity and representation in outdoor spaces and has amplified narratives that are underrepresented in media. Through her art, poetry, and music she illuminates her experiences at the intersections of her identities, passions, and connection to nature.
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