Board of Directors
Ms. Sandy Buechley, Vice President Business Intelligence Manager, Patagonia, Inc.
Sandy moved to Ojai in 1964 to raise her two now grown sons who attended Monica Ros, San Antonio and Nordhoff. Sandy’s sons and their families are frequent guests to the Ojai home of their childhood and they all have a passion for the outdoors, the mountains, trails and the beauty of the Ojai Valley. They also love their current homes in the mountains of Colorado and Utah. Sandy has spent the last 30 years at Patagonia. Sandy and her late husband, George, shared a deep appreciation for the work of the OVLC and have been friends and supporters for nearly ten years.
Ms. Mary Bergen, Director Retired Marine Biologist
Mary first came to Ojai in 1957 when her parents bought a ranch on Creek Road. She learned to love the land by exploring the hills and canyons on horse and on foot. After graduating from high school, she became a marine biologist and worked as for the California State Lands Commission and the Department of Fish and Game, studying the effects of man’s activities on the ocean. In 2000, Mary moved back to the ranch in Ojai and permanently set down roots. She is very happy managing the avocado orchard and continuing to explore the beauty of the valley with her two horses and two dogs.
Mr. Roger Essick, Director Avocado grower and orchard manager
Roger Essick, an Ojai resident and avocado and citrus farmer for 36 years, will return to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy Board of Directors after a year off. Roger served as board President during his previous term and has a long history with the OVLC after having served several times on the board since the beginning days. Roger has enjoyed raising his family of two grown children and four grandchildren in the Ojai Valley and looks forward to helping to preserve Ojai’s natural places for generations to come. He lives on the east end of Ojai on a large avocado ranch with his wife Pat, a retired Topa Topa school teacher, who shares his love for the Ojai Valley.
Ms. Margot Griswold, Director Senior restoration ecologist, NewFields Agricultural & Environmental Resources
Margot is a resident of the Upper Ojai Valley since 2003. She has a background in farming from the Central Valley of California, and currently works as a plant ecologist specializing in native habitat restoration. She is past president for SERCAL (California Society for Ecological Restoration) and currently serves on the board of Los Angeles Audubon where she directs local science education projects. She is also a member of the Los Angeles County Environmental Review Board. She is dedicated to ecological education and land conservation.
Mr. Brian Holly, Director
Conservation biologist, BioResource Consultants, Inc.
A third generation Ojai resident, Brian is a conservation biologist with BioResource Consultants, an environmental consulting firm based in Ojai. Brian brings extensive experience in ecology, wildlife biology, ecosystem management, environmental policy and natural resource planning. For over ten years, Brian has been working on ecological restoration projects in the Ojai watershed and other southern California watersheds. He also serves as an active member of the Ventura County Search and Rescue Team-Upper Ojai. Brian and his wife Camille spend much of their free time rock climbing, backpacking, fly fishing and mountain biking throughout the Sierra range and western United States. Brian has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science-Conservation Biology from the UC Santa Cruz and a Master in Ecosystem Science and Conservation from Duke University.
Mr. Allan Jacobs, Director
CPA and attorney, Waite, Jacobs and Atkinson, Attorneys at Law
A former OVLC board member, CPA and Attorney is returning to our board. We are pleased to welcome him back as he is such an asset to the OVLC. Allan and his wife Janet have lived in Ojai for 10 years though his family settled here in the 1930’s. Allan attended Monica Ros, San Antonio School, and Nordhoff. He and Janet have 3 grown children. Allan is an avid hiker and fisherman, Peace Corps volunteer, Eagle Scout and dedicated Ojai Rotarian.
Ms. Ann Oppenheimer, Director Retired Corporate Meeting Planner and publisher of resource guides for special events
Ann has loved Ojai since the 1940s. Ann first came to Ojai when her grandparents moved to the valley and began ranching. She’s thrilled to be a part of protecting the “views, trails, water & wildlife” that her grandparents fought so fervently to preserve. Now her grandchildren are discovering the many treasures the Ojai Valley holds. She and her husband Harry, split their time between their home in Ojai and their farm outside of Chicago. Together they enjoy tennis, swimming and hiking the many gorgeous trails surrounding Ojai.
Mr. Don Reed, President Retired teacher and headmaster. Don initially taught in New England but moved to Ojai with his family in 1970 to The Thacher School. At Thacher he taught physics and astronomy, served in several administrative positions, coached gymkhana, and lead back trips in the Sespe backcountry. Don left Thacher in 1985 and became headmaster at four independent schools during the next twenty-one years, one each in Illinois, California, Colorado and Virginia. In 2008 he and his wife Susan fulfilled a life-long dream to return to Ojai for their retirement. Don maintains his interest in education and board governance by serving as treasurer of the Monica Ros School and chair of the scholarship committee of the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Ojai Educational Foundation.
Ms. Cricket Twichell, Secretary Retired Administrator
A natural to serve on the board, having lived in the Ojai Valley since 1969, Cricket moved here from the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts when her husband was hired by The Thacher School. A full-time Mom until 1977, she began working in Admissions for the Thacher School and worked in the Development office as well as taught study skills, until retiring in 1996. Often found wandering around the Ojai hills, she is interested in wildflowers and native plants and enjoys giving nature hikes. She’s also hooked on Ojai history, giving talks about the colorful characters and events which have influenced Ojai’s past. She is honored to have been asked to join the OVLC board, and “humbled to serve amongst such a great group of people”.
Mr. Nathan Wallace, Treasurer Financial Consultant, Grasswood Partners
Nathan Wallace moved to Ojai in 1992 and has lived here since, with the exception of a short stint in San Antonio and San Diego. He works for a financial consultant based out of Malibu. Nathan is an avid hiker, skier, camper and enjoys anything in the outdoors. He spends the majority of his time with his wife Rebecca and his children Archer and Scout. He also makes sure to spend time with family including his mother, aunt and uncle and his younger sister who all live in Ojai.
Ms. Barbara Washburn, Director Chairperson, Voulunteer Docent Program
A new England transplant, Barbara moved to Los Angeles 25 years ago. As she became aware of the rapid development up and down the California coast, she developed a passion for land preservation. She and her husband Deric, moved to Ojai in 1998 drawn by the unspoiled beauty of the valley. Barbara immediately became involved with the Land Conservancy as a volunteer and joined the OVLC board of Directors the first time in 2004. Barbara is the Chair of the OVLC docent group and can often be spotted walking her leashed Standard Poodle, Charley, on the Ojai Meadows Preserve.