Jo Powe, President, joined the Board in 2010. A long-time resident of the Santa Monica Mountains Jo comes to the Board with a great enthusiasm for helping continue to protect this unique resource. Jo has been a lawyer since 1983 and has devoted her legal career to environmental causes. For more than 10 years she was lead attorney for the Friends of Ballona Wetlands. She was a founding partner of Hedges, Powe & Caldwell, a Los Angeles law firm that represented numerous environmental organizations. Jo was very active in the legal opposition to the SOKA development at King Gillette Ranch and worked with many environmental groups in opposition to development of Ahmanson Ranch. Jo has served on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Law in the Public Interest and is currently serving as the Executive Director of People for Parks.
Bob Wayne, Vice-President, joined the board in 2008. He is a professor at UCLA where he holds joint positions in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Institute of the Environment. He directs a research program with a strong focus on conservation and as a resident of the Cold Creek area, is familiar with local issues. He has been involved with research projects at Stunt Ranch and throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. At UCLA he teaches conservation biology and is editor of a leading journal in the field.
Marika Erdely, Treasurer, joined the board in 2009. She is a California native and lives at the base of the Santa Monica mountains. Marika is a LEED AP BD+C and her business focus is on sustainability through her consulting firm Greeneconome.com. Marika is also Chief Financial Officer and Vice President at New Millennium Homes, and has had held financial positions at Xavient Technologies, Contractors Wardrobe, and Tandon Corporation. Marika brings her financial expertise to direct the development of statements and analyses that assist in directing the financial future of MRT. She brings her business experience and love of the natural environment to her position on the Board. Duties: Treasurer.
Steve Hess was born and raised in the Santa Monica Mountains earning a Mechanical Engineering Degree from California State University Northridge in 1985. He began his Engineering career in Aerospace Optics and later held several management positions at a local Semiconductor company. As a Santa Monica Mountains native Steve became interested in conservation and land use issues early on and continues with those interests today. He is proud to be a former 3-term President of the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation and to presently serve on the Save Open Space Board of Directors. He joined the Mountains Restoration Trust as a Board Member in 2008. Steve brings management experience and an understanding of highly technical issues and to all the efforts he is involved in. Steve and his wife Patricia have two children and continue to live in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Nancy Helsley, as president of the Cold Creek Docents who operate the Trust`s education program at the UCLA Stunt Ranch Reserve, joined the board in 1993. As a charter member of the Cold Creek Docents in 1978, Nancy worked to develop the docent program that received the Take Pride in California award and the Governor`s Historic Preservation Award in 1992. Nancy has been an activist in the Santa Monica Mountains since the 1960`s and a life-long teacher of ecology, archeology, the environment and the cultural history of the Chumash. She is a director of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, past board member and president of the Cold Creek Community Council. Nancy taught in the L.A. Unified School District, managed a YMCA summer camp and participated in numerous outdoor education programs. She was the co-chair of the Trust`s Celebrity Auction which netted over $85,000.
Jim Hughes is a practicing land use and real estate attorney with nearly 30 years of experience in project development and related matters. As a large national law firm partner for most of his career, Jim has handled all manner of development, redevelopment, land use, CEQA, entitlement, and related matters on behalf of a variety of clients including owners, operators, lenders, and third parties in support and opposition. An ex-New Yorker, Jim spent many a youthful afternoon dreaming of experiencing California and the open spaces of the West. In 1978 he finally realized that goal. He is active in a wide variety of real estate organizations. His personal interest is in the crafting of win-win outcomes resulting in the successful co-existence, where feasible, of urbanization and our diminishing wild places. Jim was invited to the Board in 2010.
Tracy Bunetta was born and raised in Northern California where her love of nature was nurtured by the Coastal Ranges of Marin and Sonoma Counties. Shortly after coming to Los Angeles in 1981, she discovered the beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains and moved her young family to the small hamlet of Monte Nido, where they continue to live today. Her biggest joy is hiking the local trails of the Santa Monica Mountains and in the High Sierra Mountains. She has been a local Real Estate Agent for over 25 years, favoring conservation and the environment.