Mountains Restoration Trust

Thank you Jo!



On May 19th, at Malibu State Creek Park, friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate the retirement of Jo Kitz and honor Jo for her many accomplishments in protecting and preserving the Santa Monica Mountains. After 26 years at MRT, Jo is moving closer to family in Idaho. Malibu Creek State Park was the perfect setting, re-named "Jo Kitz State Park" for the day; it is the site of the Commemorative Oaks, the program that Jo helped launch in 1992 to restore the oak woodlands in the park. Over the years, hundreds of volunteers planted over 2,000 oak trees and dedicated many hours to keeping them alive. MRT has created a Commemorative Oaks Fund to help maintain Jo`s legacy and care for the oak trees and their habitat in Malibu Creek State Park.


Thank you to our speakers who helped honor Jo and share stories of her mentoring over the years! Her impact has been great and she will certainly be missed!


- Craig Sapp, Superintendent, Angeles Sector, California State Parks
- Debbie Sharpton, MRT Executive Director
- Nancy Helsley, MRT Board Secretary
- Charles Thomas, Regional Manager, NPS Youth Programs and
      former Executive Director of Outward Bound
- Kara Seward, District Director, Office of Senator Fran Pavley
- Timothy Lippman, Senior Deputy, Office of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
- Suzanne Goode, Senior Ecologist, Angeles District, CA State Parks
- Melanie Beck, representing NPS Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
- Rosie Dagit, Senior Research Biologist, Resource Conservation District SMM
- Steve Hartman, San Fernando Valley Chapter, California Native Plant Society
- Dr. Lee Kats, Provost and Scientist, Pepperdine University, Malibu




The board and staff of MRT present Jo with a painting depicting Cold Creek from local artist Virginie Snyder.



Tom Hayduk, MRT Restoration Manager, talks about planting oak tree with Jo Kitz.



The Santa Monica Mountains, a unique transverse range, running along the western edge of Los Angeles County`s LA Basin and the San Fernando Valley and ending in Ventura County, represents the collision of urban sprawl and the wild, producing enclaves that neither belong entirely to the city nor to the mountains.

For more than 30 years Mountains Restoration Trust (MRT) has worked to preserve, protect and restore this fragile ecosystem by offering responsible preservation and restoration programs, acquiring resource-rich land, and offering educational and recreational activities to the public.