CALIFORNIA RANGELAND TRUST STAFF MEMBER BIOGRAPHIES
Chief Executive Officer, Sacramento
Nita Vail was appointed Executive Director of the California Rangeland Trust in September 2001. She is a founding Board member of the organization and an environmental and agricultural consultant in Sacramento. Nita, a fourth generation rancher, is a partner in a family business operating a commercial game operation on Santa Rosa Island. She was appointed by Governor Wilson in 1994 to serve as Assistant Secretary of Agricultural and Environmental Policy for the California Department of Food and Agriculture under Secretary Ann Veneman and has worked with diverse agribusiness operations including poultry and swine, and as a market analyst for Cattle-Fax, a cattle market information service. Nita received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Agricultural Business Management from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA and her MBA from University of Santa Clara, Institute of Agribusiness in Santa Clara, CA. (photo by: TC Reiner)
MICHAEL M. DELBAR
Chief Operating Officer, Sacramento
As the California Rangeland Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, Michael Delbar oversees day-to-day operations and provide landowner outreach and legislative support to the organization. Most recently, Delbar was elected and served three consecutive terms as the First District Supervisor for the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and was Second Vice President of the California State Association (CSAC). Delbar served on the state and national agriculture policy advisory boards for California State Association of Counties and the National Association of Counties. He is a former Lake County Farm Bureau executive director and part of a six generation Mendocino County ranching family, raising beef cattle, timber and hay where they recently celebrated 150 years of family ownership of the original homesteaded land. Additionally, Michael currently serves on the board of directors for the Potter Valley Rodeo Association, was a former director of Mendocino County Farm Bureau and was state chair of California Young Farmers and Ranchers. Michael is a member of the California Ag Leadership Program, Class XXIV.
Transaction Director, Sacramento
This position compliments the organization’s efforts to secure rangelands and foster conservation partnerships necessary to conserve environmentally critical property. Marshall manages the conservation easement transactions that preserve rangelands throughout California and serves as the California Rangeland Trust’s principal staff liaison with interested landowners and conservation partners. He earned an undergraduate degree in marketing from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT, and a law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA. He came to the California Rangeland Trust from the law firm McDonough Holland & Allen, PC where he was an attorney in the firm’s real estate practice group. Prior to practicing law and working in the corporate finance and marketing sectors, he served this country in the United States Army, 3rd Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard,” Fort Meyer, Arlington, VA.
Director of Development, Sacramento
Sahara joins the Rangeland Trust staff team as our Director of Development. In this position, Sahara leads the organization’s major donor and legacy programs by raising funds to help ranching families in California conserve working ranches. Sahara’s family has owned and operated the Dias Ranch in the Gabilan Mountains of the Pacific Coast Range since 1916. Her background in ranching, combined with her education and experience in environmental policy, conservation management and fundraising makes Sahara a great choice for California Rangeland Trust. Sahara has worked for the U.S. government, the private business sector, and with non-profit organizations in California, Madagascar, Central America, Europe, and Indonesia focusing on long-term conservation management, environmental policy, and stewardship. Ms. Saude completed an undergraduate degree in English at Sonoma State University and holds a Master’s degree in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Stewardship Director, Placerville
Andy Mills acts
as the California Rangeland Trust’s Stewardship Director, helping ranchers
throughout the state with conservation issues. He coordinates the conservation
easement program with ranchers and farmers, and, oversees the monitoring of
Rangeland Trust easements. Andy is a Trustee for the Santa Barbara Land Trust
and spent four years as the Chair of its Finance Committee and two as the Chair
of its Development Program. He is a long time director of the Santa Barbara
County Cattlemen's Association – Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau Land Use
Committee and is currently on the County Agricultural Advisory Committee’s
subcommittee on Agricultural Resources Environmental/Economic Assessment
representing the Cattlemen’s Association. He is also currently the External
Affairs Director for the Hollister Ranch Owners Association, a role in which he
is responsible for all Hollister Ranch public and governmental relations.
Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Phillips Library of California
history Andy holds a B.A. in Art and English from the University
of California, Santa Barbara with post-graduate work in
Business Administration. He has attended numerous workshops and other training
in rangeland monitoring, watershed protection and conservation planning and
Conservation Land Specialist, Rancho Murieta
the Conservation Land Specialist with the California Rangeland Trust,
Meredith Kupferman concentrates on processing conservation easement
applications through several public and private funding sources. She
has a real estate background spending the prior eight years assisting
California public school districts acquire property for new school
sites and previously as a mortgage loan officer in Southern California.
Meredith's experience and knowledge goes a long way towards helping the
Rangeland Trust reach its goal of preserving California's rangelands.
Finance Manager, Roseville
As Finance Manager of the Rangeland Trust, Jon directs the internal operations of the organization, including business and financial. Prior to coming to the Rangeland Trust, Jon worked as consultant specializing in organizational development, bookkeeping, and community relations.Jon has over 15 years of bookkeeping and office management experience. Throughout Jon's career he has had many an opportunity to utilize his knowledge and skills related to event planning and fund raising. Jon's assistance in planning events for the past several years have benefited many charities such as Breast Cancer Emergency Fund of San Francisco, The Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Cure ALD Foundation to name just a few. Jon has also had past experience as a Ranch Hand at the White Oak Ranch in Oregon raising cattle and horses.
Conservation Associate, Sacramento
As California Rangeland Trust’s Conservation Associate, Nancy Loogman is responsible for coordinating and conducting conservation easement monitoring, compiling and submitting monitoring reports, creating photo point maps, and maintaining project files, photographs, databases and archives of the Conservation Unit. Nancy has been involved in keying, identifying, and mapping vegetation using GIS software as a Graduate Research Assistant. While working in the Caltrans District 5 Environmental Planning Department, Nancy completed biological reports for minimal impact projects, produced monitoring reports for federal agencies, completed permit applications, and assisted in plant identification field surveys.
At Cal Poly, Nancy received a B.S. Degree in Animal Science with a minor in Rangeland Resources and a B.S. in Ecology and Systematic Biology. She is currently finishing up a M.S. Degree in Agricultural Sciences with an Animal Science specialization. Her thesis involves a comparative small rodent observational study involving an analysis of species captures, diversity index, and species richness among a livestock grazed site and a livestock rested site.
Bay Area Program Manager, Martinez
As the Bay Area Program Manager, Nancy Schaefer brings more than 24 years of conservation real estate, program development and project management experience to facilitate conservation easements and related projects on working ranches in the greater San Fransisco Bay Area.
Prior to joining the Rangeland
Trust, Schaefer served as a land conservation consultant to numerous agencies
including the Bay Area Open Space Council, California Coastal Conservancy, and
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and numerous
other public agencies, nonprofits and foundations. She has also worked for The Conservation
Fund, The Trust for Public Land, and established the San Francisco Bay Joint
Venture. It is no secret that she is extremely qualified and a great fit at the
Rangeland Trust. Her passion for helping land owners Protect What Matters is evidenced by the more than 50,000 acres of
California land she has helped protect in her career.
Executive Assistant, Sacramento
Leigh Geren brings to the Rangeland Trust an extensive resume of over 20 years of administrative and customer service experience. She joined the Sacramento staff as Executive Assistant in April of 2008. Leigh's organizational skills and event planning experience will be utilized on projects such as the annual Western Affair fundraiser and other donor related activities. As Executive Assistant, she offers all staff and the Board of Directors administrative support with project management and provides assistance with annual fundraising efforts and donor recognition and communication. Leigh served as Executive Assistant and ISO9000 manager for System Studies, Inc., a telecom company in Santa Cruz, CA before moving to Lincoln, CA in 2006. She is an invaluable asset to California Rangeland Trust combining her ten years as an Executive Assistant to Senior Management with her organizational effectiveness skills.
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