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ABOUT OC HABITATS

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FOUNDED 2017

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Our Story

OC Habitats (OCH) was founded in July 2017 and is based on the clear need for more habitat protection throughout the county. 

 

First, our founders felt that areas in Orange County needed more monitoring and data to support the protection of both the habitats and the species therein that already exist or need restoration.  OCH has partnered with various nonprofit and government agencies, such as Sea and Sage Audubon, Bolsa Chica Conservancy, USFWS, and California State Parks, to support the furtherance of these protections.  We monitor habitats, collect data, and share this data with key players in habitat protection to ensure healthy and viable habitat and species populations for years to come. 

 

An equally important goal of OCH is education and outreach.  We at OCH believe that knowledge is power and the more individuals we can empower the better off our environment will be.  We educate directly on site during field monitoring, during scheduled habitat tour events, and through our habitat education programs that we provide to public, private, and home schools in and around Orange County.  Our goal is to eventually be active in most of the habitat types in Orange County and to provide a vital service the public in this area. 

Restoration of degraded habitats is the third arm of our organization. In 2019, we began to make an impact in earnest here in Orange County.  We have helped restore wetlands in Huntington and Newport Beaches and coastal sage scrub and chaparral in Tustin and Orange. 

All three of the goals come together to make OC Habitats.  We strive to make world better one person and event at a time.  If our mission speaks to your heart, join us!

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Board of Directors

Stacey Chartier-Grable

Cheryl Dyas

Susannah "Susie" Gottlieb

Melissa King

Wendy Berube

Sanjay Das

Bianca Borja-Barba

Sheen Sidhu

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Stacey Chartier-Grable

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Habitat protection and species conservation is a passion of ​Stacey Chartier-Grable. Stacey has both a business and environmental degree and background and is using her education and experience to build a strong and enduring grassroots organization that will last beyond her own tenure.  Stacey has worked in the environmental field in both private and government agencies in Orange County starting as far back as 1996. One of her top life goals is to preserve and protect our natural resources and species for the sake of future generations but also for their intrinsic value. Stacey grew up in Southern California and has raised two children, Q and Sam, with her husband, Don. She believes education is a powerful tool and is confident that the youth of today will be the leaders our world needs to handle the heavy task of moving our planet to a healthier place in the future. Through OCH and its mission, Stacey is working to give them the tools of knowledge and understanding to build positive habits will ensure a long and biologically diverse world that will continue to sustain all species of life.​

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Cheryl Dyas - Treasurer 

Cheryl joined OCH in spring of 2020 and brought with her more than 30 years accounting experience. She currently serves as the Director of Administrative Services and Treasurer for the City of Mission Viejo. She is a graduate of California State University Fullerton and a CPA. Her interest in protecting the environment and love of nature led her to volunteer at OCH. Her extensive knowledge of accounting principles, internal controls, financial reporting, grant management and budgeting will help our organization as we continue to grow. Her interests include camping and reading.  Her favorite national park is Olympic National Park in Washington State and one of her favorite memories is scuba diving off the shores of Maui with a school of dolphins.

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Cheryl Dyas
 

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Susannah "Susie" Gottlieb

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Susie Gottlieb - Secretary

Susie joined OC Habitats in the summer of 2023 and is one of our newest board members! She has a production and operations background in software and higher education. Susie has volunteered and contributed to OCH in the past and is excited to expand her role. As a native of the mid-west, she is thrilled to learn about the habitats and species of her adopted home and join the fight to preserve them. Susie’s advocacy for the environment and conservation began when she was young and grows as her children and the next generation face the climate crisis. Susie also enjoys, reading, baking, walking her dog and playing games with friends and family.

Melissa King

Melissa joined our team as a volunteer and is now excited to be our board member!  She loves our educational hikes, training others in our habitat monitoring program, and engaging in community outreach.  Born and raised in New York, she is an alumnus of Columbia University where she studied economics and environmental science.  She discovered her passion for environmental issues while studying abroad in Australia where she learned about the effects of globalization on the environment and the importance of maintaining diversity in our ecosystems and preserving natural habitats.  When she returned to the U.S., she decided to pursue a career in law, obtaining a J.D. from California Western School of Law in San Diego.  Melissa has interned and volunteered with various nonprofits, agencies, and associations, including the San Diego Coastkeeper, SANDAG, and the OC Bar Association.  She is currently practicing law with a boutique law firm out of Anaheim, but loves spending her free time with us!  She is now the proud owner of a pair of binoculars and bird-spotting guidebooks.

Sanjay Das - Restoration Leadership

Sanjay’s love for nature and his passion for conservation connected him with OCH. He joined OCH in the summer of 2021 as an intern and is now excited to be our newest board member. Born and raised in Nepal, he and his wife moved to Orange County in the Spring of 2017. He holds a master’s and BSc. degree in Environmental Science from Tribhuwan University, Nepal. In addition, he graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Master in Conservation and Restoration Science in the Spring of 2022.  Through Winter 2023, he worked as an Environmental Specialist for an air emissions testing consulting firm in Orange County. He recently started a new position with CDFW as a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) in Region 3. He is an enthusiastic natural resource management professional with more than eight years of applied experience in a variety of focus areas including conservation, restoration, environmental planning and monitoring, project management, and resource management. He is highly collaborative in working with teams to drive performance and create an inclusive workplace that inspires, engages, and energizes teams

Wendy Berube - Educator & Naturalist

Wendy grew up in Laguna Beach and with a deep love for the ocean and natural resource conservation. Wendy has a marine biology degree from UC Santa Barbara and a masters degree in environmental science from Pt. Loma University, San Diego, CA. She joined OCH as an intern in 2021 and has many years of teaching experience under her belt as she was in formal education for over 15 years with a strong focus in STEM curriculum and learning. Her upbeat and energetic personality brings inspiration to our OCH team as she helps us to navigate, develop, and implement our educational programs in all ages levels. She brings her education and experience to OC Habitats education, restoration, and monitoring programs as well as the behind the scenes work as an organization. Wendy is currently working as the Education & Outreach Coordinator at Laguna Ocean Foundation in Laguna Beach, CA. In addition to her current nonprofit work, she also has experience through her work with the Ocean Institute and Pacific Marine Mammal Center. 

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Bianca Borja-Barba

Bianca joined OCH shortly after its founding in 2017, and since then has served on the Habitat Educator and Habitat Monitoring Team with a 2018 award for OCH Volunteer of the Year. Her passion for conservation and single-use material reduction brought her to OCH. She is a passionate believer in the importance of education and has experience in both K-12 and higher education. During her undergraduate studies, while working towards her BS in Anthropology she was able to match her love for education and the environment by studying Agroforestry and Agriculture in Chiapas, Mexico. Bianca also has her MS in Educational Counseling and her area of expertise lies within higher education, where she has worked at over 5 local colleges in student outreach, onboarding, retention, career education, and more. Her most recent experience was at Irvine Valley College as Program Coordinator for CA College Corps. Since then, she has been working towards a career in Educational Counseling within OC Community Colleges. As a former OCH Volunteer, Bianca is excited to get involved again as a Board Member!

Sheen Sidhu

Sheen is an Orange County native, born and raised in Tustin. An early exposure to environmental issues at a young age inspired Sheen to continue educating herself and others on the topic. In 2019, she joined OCH for a year-long internship, during which she worked on a wide variety of projects. Sheen holds a BS in Public Policy with a concentration in Environmental and Energy Policy from the University of Southern California. During her undergraduate studies, she explored policy solutions to address environmental and social justice issues. Currently, Sheen works as a District Representative for CA State Senator Josh Newman’s office. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, stargazing, and spending time with her friends and family. As a Junior Board Member, she hopes to learn more about the administrative aspects of nonprofits while leveraging her network and skills to grow OC Habitat's impact and outreach.

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BOARD ADVISORS

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OCH STAFF

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Kim Yumul
Program & Project Manager

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Kim Yumul - Staff

Kim completed her bachelor’s degree in biological science with a concentration in marine biology at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). She's in the CSUF Zacherl Laboratory, where she studies the effects of Watersipora spp. on the recruitment and settlement of native Olympia oysters at Upper Newport Bay. She joined OC Habitats as an intern in January 2021. Kim is interested in the form and function of organisms as a biology major, so going out to OCH events such as habitat restoration and bird monitoring help her understand this important concept in science. As a staff member, she will continue to help in restoration, monitoring, education, and other OCH projects. Kim's goal is to help restore and conserve our natural habitats and the organisms in these areas for future generations. 

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Gina Thompson - Staff

Gina is super excited to be back at OC Habitats as a staff member! She has been volunteering with OCH for years and had a year-long internship starting in August of 2020. Throughout her internship she led several C&C presentations along with helping with restoration, education, and outreach projects. She is currently getting her bachelor’s degree at Oberlin College in Ohio, majoring in Environmental Studies with a possible double major in English. Gina is looking forward to getting even more experience with OCH’s many fulfilling and impactful projects as a staff member. She will carry that experience and knowledge with her as she continues her education with the hope of informing more people about environmental issues and furthering the work being done to solve the global climate crisis.

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Gina Thompson
Project Lead

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Jessica Brogna
Project Lead

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Jessica Brogna - Staff

Jess is from Stockton, CA and is a recent graduate of CSULB, majoring in Environmental Science and Policy. She interned with OCH during her last semester of college. As an intern, Jess collaborated with Get Inspired to build our Sea Urchin Monitoring program. Habitat restoration is her favorite part of OCH's work because for Jess, restoring habitats is such a gratifying experience to know that she is making a difference in the area. Her environmental passions center around the ocean, but she's also recently been interested in sustainable agriculture and urban agriculture since doing a research project on those topics for a class. Finally, Jess is the newest staff member here at OCH! As a staff member, she will provide mentorship and leadership to our interns and volunteers. We're very excited to work with her!

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Gabby Lopez - Staff

Gabby is a local of Orange County, born in Santa Ana, and a recent graduate of Cal State Long Beach University. Before earning her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy, she started with OCH as an intern. With this internship, Gabby had the opportunity to establish a restoration partnership with Santa Ana city officials and OC Habitats in local parks. After her internship, she was hired as a staff member in the early spring of 2023 where she has continued her restoration project in Santa Ana and has led many educational programs throughout Orange County school districts. Gabby is very excited to be expanding her environmental skills and knowledge with OC Habitats and hopes to continue working in the restoration, education, and hiking projects done here at OCH.

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Gabby Lopez
Project Lead

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Linsey Schroll

Project Lead

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Linsey Schroll - Staff

Linsey is a former OCH intern and recently graduated with her bachelors in Environmental Science and Policy from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). At CSULB, she completed her capstone project analyzing the landscape conversion impacts on the blue oak (Quercus douglasii) community from Euro-American settlement to present day in the Upper Tule watershed, California. Linsey is also passionate about helping her community through restoration and education. She enjoys passing her knowledge of the environment on to others and making a difference restoring the health of Orange County's many habitats. Linsey is excited to continue her journey with OC Habitats as a staff member.

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OCH INTERNS

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Tiffany Sun

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Mattie Margrave

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Brianna Ramirez

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Michelle Lee

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Rebecca Cummings

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Ellis Waterman

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VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP

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OCH Monitors, Educators, and Volunteers

 

OC Habitats relies heavily on our volunteers to accomplish the many tasks of our mission. We have active volunteers who work with us each month to work on a variety of projects and programs and we have our OCH Friends who join us for events throughout the year. We are thankful for all of our team and all the hard work and dedication they provide our organization. 

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Tom Gee, Kevin Bartelheim, Danny Rivas, Melody Aminian, Dianne Biggs, Erika Moe, 
Michelle L. , Marjorie & Joe King, Judy Bermann, Peter Lam
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In Memory of Drew Kosicki

Beloved environmentalist and volunteer of OC Habitats since 2017. He will be missed.

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CONTACT US

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