American River National History Association
The American River Natural History Association, a nonprofit membership organization, was founded in 1981 by concerned citizen volunteers to support educational and interpretive activities in the American River Parkway in cooperation with the Effie Yeaw Nature Center ran by Sacramento County.
In July, 2010, the Natural History Association was chosen by the County to take over operations and funding of the Effie Yeaw Nature Center and the 77-acre Nature Study Area that surrounds it.
We are committed to continuing the excellent, award-winning Nature Center programs that introduce thousands of school children each year to the beauty and diversity of the American River Parkway. Here visitors of all ages learn the importance of conserving and protecting our most precious natural resource.
We partnered with the American River Parkway Foundation and Save the American River Association and other stakeholders to create the American River Parkway Coalition. The coalition reacts to joint concerns and looks for ways to educate and involve Parkway users in the ongoing quest for short and long-term solutions.
Annual Membership Meeting
The American River Natural History Association’s Annual Membership Meeting is held each September at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Members enjoy an update on the year’s activities and successes, celebrate staff and volunteers, and participate in a short business meeting. Information on the Annual General Meeting is sent to members 20 days prior to the scheduled meeting.
Board of Directors Meetings
The American River Natural History Association is led by the Board of Directors. The Board meets at least eight times per year on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, or virtually on-line if necessary.
See below for a list of our current Board Members. Please click on the name for a brief biography of each member.
Mission and Bylaws of the Natural History Association
The American River Natural History Association is a 501c3 nonprofit public benefit corporation whose purpose is to conduct, promote, aid, and augment educational and interpretive activities about the natural and cultural histories of the Sacramento region, principally in the American River Parkway, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, and the educational facilities of other organizations and agencies along the lower American River. We are governed by the Bylaws of the Association, available here.
The Board of Directors adopted a Strategic Plan in 2021 that provides focus and direction for the Board and staff’s activities. The complete Plan can be found here.
The Goals of the Plan include:
- PROGRAMS – Realize full onsite and outreach program potential based on community needs.
- SUSTAINABILITY – Secure and maintain required financial resources that support the Effie Yeaw Nature Center as the premier nature education provider in the Sacramento region.
- PEOPLE – Continue to build an exemplary team of dedicated, passionate, and skilled individuals in a positive and productive work environment.
- PHYSICAL SITE/HABITAT – Enhance the physical and structural site to provide optimal use for visitors, staff, and animals.
- BOARD CAPACITY – Enhance the membership, skills, and diversity of the American River Natural History Association Board of Directors to set direction and provide oversight of the Natural History Association and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center.
The American River Natural History Association is a financially secure organization enjoying broad community support. The Association’s finances are overseen by the entire Board, the Executive Director, staff, a professional bookkeeper, and a Certified Public Accountant. The Board approves the organization’s budget and tax filings annually.
The Natural History Association provides Annual Reports on the activities and accomplishments of the organization. The Association also submits all required tax filings annually. These reports and filings can be found here.
The American River Natural History Association Board of Directors has organized Committees to carry out important work needed to accomplish Board obligations and the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. The Natural History Association’s efforts are supported by the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Nominations Committee, Fund Development Committee, and Media Committee.
An Associate Board performs specific services, and may represent the Natural History Association in a liaison position to other agencies and organizations. Our current Associate Board Members are:
- Betty Cooper
- Bud Getty
- Joey Johnson
- Bruce Kennedy
- Peggy Kennedy
- Hunter Merritt
- Beryl Michaels
- Don Mongeau
- Diana Parker
- Kip Skidmore
- Betsy Weiland
My family loved exploring nature. Family trips in the old Chevrolet station wagon ranged from hikes in Tilden Park and clamming on California beaches, to cross country trips visiting National Parks.
I graduated from the USC School of Architecture. While working on “Rebuild LA” after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, I transitioned away from architecture to a career in finance and investment. I retired as an Investment Director from CalPERS Investment Office. Over the course of my career, I served on many boards, and worked with State Legislature and professional organizations on public policy issues.
I am married to Jacek Lisiewicz, a life-long architect. We are the parents of Stefan, currently serving in special operations in the Air Force. Over the 20+ years that we have lived in Carmichael, we have grown to love walks through the Nature Center with stops to look at the American River. Joining the Board was a natural step for me – and the best way for me to give back to my community.
First Vice President
I was raised on a ranch in the San Francisco Bay Area and spent my childhood exploring the outdoors by foot and on horseback. Those childhood experiences led me to a thirty-year career practicing natural resources and water law. I am a graduate of Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
After retiring from the law, I began volunteering my time at the Nature Center, where my children had participated in school field trips and day camps, and where the trails were a favorite family weekend destination. As a volunteer, I was a docent and receptionist, and served on the Publications, Nominating and Executive Search Committees, and became a Certified California Naturalist. In 2019, I joined the American River Natural History Association Board.
I enjoy hiking, trekking, canoeing, skiing and snowshoeing, particularly when combined with my passion for international travel.
Second Vice President
I moved to Carmichael in 2013 after living and raising a family in Flagstaff, AZ since 1989. My wife Mary Lou Fairweather and I have two adult sons, Matthew and Silas. I have worked for The Nature Conservancy as forest scientist and fire manager for 25 years with a focus on using science, stewardship, robust partnerships, effective communication and adequate fundraising to restore healthy ecosystems.
I received a BA in Biology from the University of California, San Diego in 1983 and a MS in Forestry from Northern Arizona University in 1996. I have published on rare plant conservation, using biodiversity to plan and implement restoration of Sierra Nevada forests, the human impacts of smoke, and applying natural history to prioritize investments in land management. We live near the Nature Center and enjoy walking, jogging, kayaking, biking, mushroom hunting and birdwatching, as well as yoga, singing and organic gardening.
My family moved from the East Coast to Citrus Heights in 1984. After graduating from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in Managerial Economics, I bought my first home in Carmichael and began my professional career as a project manager.
That first home I bought in Carmichael over twenty years ago is STILL home. We are fortunate to have an acre in our eclectic area, allowing us to have a hobby farm full of critters. Helping me take care of all of this are my wonderful children.
After several years of visiting Effie Yeaw Nature Center as a chaperone for many school field trips, I decided it would be a great place to volunteer. I am passionate about supporting nature, including educating those who want to learn more. I happily joined the American River Natural History Association Board in 2018 and currently serve as Treasurer.
Michigan is the place where I first learned to celebrate the wonder of the natural world. As a Girl Scout I camped, hiked, and explored the state’s diverse geography including the beauty of the Great Lakes.
Professionally, as an elementary school educator I have had the pleasure of working in a variety of independent schools situated across the country in Massachusetts, Michigan, and California. I have a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education and an M.S. degree in Teaching Young Children (K-3).
After living in Los Angeles for many years, my husband, Mark Hoag, and I ventured to Sacramento in 1992 and purchased a Steelcase office furniture dealership. Concurrently, I began teaching first grade at Sacramento Country Day School. To enhance our science study of the river/riparian habitats, I visited the Effie Yeaw Nature Center each year with my students. I was inspired by the life of Effie Yeaw and her mission to provide environmental education experiences for both children and adults. I am delighted to serve on the ARNHA board of directors.
In addition to my work with Effie Yeaw Nature Center, I serve on the boards of Girl Scouts Heart of Central California and the YMCA of Superior California. I am also a docent/schoolmarm at Rhoads Schoolhouse in Elk Grove. Both my husband and I recently retired. He can now be found on the ski slopes, while I enjoy reading, gardening, and participating in water aerobics. Together, we appreciate walking along the American River Parkway and exploring the rugged California coast.
I excitedly joined Effie Yeaw Nature Center at the very end of 2019, bringing along more than 20 years of experience with education and conservation focused non-profits. It has been my honor to serve on the boards of several environmental non-profits, including the Wildlife Care Association, and the Sacramento Zoological Society through education efforts at the Sacramento Zoo. My professional work benefits from a wide range of certifications, including Emergency Medical Technician with Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services and UC Certified Naturalist, a program of the Effie Yeaw Nature Center.
As an avid outdoorsman and hiker, I have spent many days and nights outdoors throughout California building my first-hand knowledge of and passion for all that nature has to offer. As a lifelong learner, I approach new learning opportunities with passion and excitement and I am always on the lookout for new occasions to expand my knowledge and experience.
I came to Sacramento for employment in 1974, and have never left. I grew up in the Oakland area, attended college at Santa Barbara, and had medical training in St. Louis and Houston. The Army claimed two years, one in Vietnam. Our three children are grown and are settled.
I retired several years ago from a career in Radiation Oncology. I now have more time to pursue hobbies, take walks, and serve on the Natural History Association Board. Favorite trails are in the gold dredging areas up river from the Nature Center, and of course in the Nature Center preserve. Given the quiet I experience in the trails, it’s hard to believe I am surrounded by a million or so people. We all need to continue to care for our natural areas.
I was born and raised in Carmichael, California and had the privilege of visiting the Effie Yeaw Nature Center as a child. After leaving Sacramento for college followed by law school, I returned to the area where I began my law career practicing employment law.
Although I benefited greatly from exploring the Nature Center throughout my youth, it took the Annual Art Gala to open my eyes to how many wonderful services the Nature Center provides. I was especially moved by the realization that the Nature Center provides an introduction to nature for children in the Sacramento region who were not as privileged as I was to grow up within walking distance of the Nature Center and the American River. I am privileged to serve on this Board and work for an organization dedicated to educating the next generation of environmentalists and conservationists by introducing them to the treasure that is the Effie Yeaw Nature Center.
I was born and raised in San Francisco, received an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. I am an investment broker with CBRE, Inc. here in Sacramento. Prior to joining CBRE, I was a partner in a general civil practice.
I am on the board of directors of LAI, an honorary land economics society. I am married to the artist, Pat Mahony, and we are parents of Camille, a film editor in Los Angeles.
I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona. I lived in Los Angles, Albuquerque, San Francisco, and Sacramento while working for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway from 1978 to 1988.
I moved to Carmichael in 1992 and recently retired after toiling for 35-years in the salt mines of California politics. In the 1980s, wearing another hat that says US Monuments Plus, I produced the monument-sized bronze mascots at UCLA, the Bruin, and at UC Irvine, Zot The Anteater. These days, unencumbered by work obligations and still able to get around quite well, I get to walk from home and spend time every day in the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, which gives me great pleasure.
I have very much enjoyed my time as a volunteer and Board member of the Nature Center and look forward to many visits to this beautiful and peaceful oasis in the midst of our large and growing urban area.
Having been born and raised in Sacramento, I chose to stay local on my journey towards higher education and starting a career as an Environmental Scientist. Professionally, I am involved in various compliance, mapping, and assessment efforts associated with the control of aquatic invasive vegetation in the Delta. Outside of my career, I enjoy hiking, teaching music, gardening, ethnobotany, studying languages, and volunteering as a Snowy Plover Docent at Point Reyes.
I first discovered the Effie Yeaw Nature Center as a child in elementary school. My field trip to the Nature Center left an indelible impression that would eventually bring me back as intern and volunteer. As I later set off on my career, I completed the Nature Center’s inaugural UC California Naturalist certification course and committed to serving on the Board as a way to preserve my connection with the Nature Center and give back to the community.
I came to Sacramento in 1983 after completing graduate school in San Francisco. I worked, got experience and co-founded a Medical Case Management, Rehabilitation, and Medical Utilization Review company. I got married and raised my family in Carmichael.
I have enjoyed the outdoors since childhood. I attended camps, worked summers as a camp counselor, and have hiked, fished, skied, and rafted all over the country. The natural world is my playground, inspiration, and sanctuary. I cherish and want to protect our worlds natural heritage. Upon coming to Sacramento, I immediately began enjoying the American River parkway. It is one of the (if not the) best attributes of this area. The Effie Yeaw Nature Center is a nexus of my interests and is the crown jewel of the parkway. Through its dedicated staff and volunteers, it offers so much to our community, particularly our youth. I am proud to serve on its board.
I am originally from the East Coast but relocated to Sacramento for a new career opportunity in 2018. I graduated with a degree in finance from The Ohio State University, and I received a master’s in accounting from the University of Illinois. I plan on sitting for the CPA exam. I am currently a financial analyst at a software company based in San Mateo.
I’ve always loved the outdoors and being in nature, especially on the water. Growing up on Long Island, the beach was never too far away. I believe nature is one of our most valuable resources and believe that people should learn about it protect it. That was my motivation for joining this board. Outside of my professional career, I enjoy travelling and going to the gym. I am also a Fellow of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP) Class XII.
I am a Finance Specialist at Intel Corporation, where I have worked since 2010. As the Finance Program Owner for the Rebate Automation effort, I am currently transforming operational execution and financial reporting for more than $20B in annual rebates. In previous roles at Intel, I have provided finance support for various Research and Development and Sales and Marketing organizations. My experience spans from budgets and forecasting to capital planning for technical tools, to revenue and rebates. I am active in finance community organizations, including co-chairing the local group focused on creating and sustaining a strong sense of community in Folsom Finance.
Fulfilling my dream to fly, I took military leave from Intel in 2016 to become a pilot in the United States Air Force Reserve. Balancing my part-time Reserve commitment with my full-time role at Intel, I serve as a Captain and C-17 Globemaster III pilot.
I earned a BS in Finance and a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in Sustainability from Arizona State University in 2010. Originally from New Jersey, I spent 15 years in Arizona before moving to Sacramento to work at Intel. A proud Sacramento transplant, I care deeply about the region and continue to expand my involvement in the community. Recently, I’ve been fortunate to participate in the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program as a member of Class XII. I am excited to join the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, helping to preserve our local environment and offer the community exciting opportunities to learn more about this beautiful region.
My children thoroughly enjoyed the summer and winter vacation camps at EYNC; one of them was a camp counselor there for a couple of summers. During their K-12 years, I was the publisher of the elementary, middle and high school newspapers, for a total of about 15 years, and chaired the Rio Americano Playathon one year. I was also a member of Omega Nu, Kappa Tau chapter, a community-based sorority that raises funds to benefit local charities, serving in various chapter offices. Recently, I joined the Sacramento Childrens’ Home Guild.
My family and I enjoy all kinds of outdoor sports, such as skiing, hiking, bicycling; I also enjoy traveling, gardening and agility classes with my border collie. Sometimes I even find time for creative textile endeavors.