Team Land Trust


Board and Staff, Nov. 2021


Erin Tarr | Executive Director | | (530) 272-5994 x 205
Erin has been working in the land conservation field for 12 years and brings a wide range of skills to her position at BYLT. In 2012, she joined the staff as the Stewardship Manager and has been leading the organization since 2018. Erin grew up in Iowa and moved to Colorado upon graduating high school to explore the Rocky Mountains and follow her passion for snowboarding. Eventually landing in California, Erin received her degree from CSU Sacramento in Environmental Studies and Biology in 2009. After working with California Department of Fish and Game on the American, Mokelumne, Sacramento, and Cosumnes Rivers conducting fish research and angler surveys, she took a position with The Nature Conservancy at the Cosumnes River Preserve. This is where her understanding of the power of private land conservation was realized. Just before joining BYLT, Erin worked with Placer Land Trust in Auburn. In her free time Erin enjoys exploring nature, snowboarding, music, and spending time with her three kids.

Jorie Emory| Development and Communications Director | | (530) 272-5994 x 213

Jorie is passionate about connecting people to nature. Prior to joining the team at BYLT, Jorie was Director of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and held leadership roles at Children & Nature Network and River Network. She is a Humboldt State University alumna and later earned a Ph.D. in arts administration, education, and policy from the Ohio State University, where she researched emerging practices in participatory philanthropy and arts-based action research methodologies. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, yoga, and making art.


Kate Gazzo Stewardship Manager | | (530) 272-5994 x 201

Kate grew up on the beach of the west coast of Florida. She studied Environmental Studies and Biology at Florida Gulf Coast University.  She has 10 years of experience working on a variety of projects across the U.S. ranging from water quality monitoring to wetland restoration and invasive species eradication.  She came to California in 2012 to explore the Sierra Nevada Mountains and pursue a graduate degree in Environmental Management at the University of San Francisco.  Her Master’s research focused on using land conservation as a tool to achieve clean drinking water and avoid the use of gray infrastructure.

Kate now lives in Nevada City.  While working in California, Kate has served as a biologist to evaluate proposed impacts to special-status species and natural communities. She has supported the development of conservation and mitigation banks and coordinated in-lieu fee mitigation projects.  Kate is passionate about land conservation and promotes land conservation as a “multi-tool approach” to protect air, water, and soil resources in addition to wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.  In her spare time, she is happy doing yoga, cooking, mountain biking, snowboarding, and “botanizing”.

Sarah West | Administrative Manager | | (530) 272-5994 x 204

Born in Ventura, CA, Sarah grew up exploring the coast and wild areas that surrounded her. She always had a love for the outdoors and wildlife and knew she wanted a career that focused on those things. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA in 2013 with a degree in Animal Science. After graduating from Calpoly she got married and moved to Nevada County where she fell in love with the beautiful foothills. She spent some time as a zookeeper for Folsom City Zoo and she worked as a Wildlife Technician and Administrative Assistant for Gold Country Wildlife Rescue in Auburn, CA. Through these experiences, her love for wildlife and beautiful Northern California grew and she recognized the importance of promoting conservation of our local lands. She joined Bear Yuba Land Trust in May 2019. In her free time she enjoys hiking, recreational soccer, and spending time with her husband and two dogs and cats.

Aleena Church | Community Engagement Manager | | (530) 272-5994 x 207

Aleena grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada where her love for rivers and natural lands began. She got her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University, where she had the opportunity to work for environmental nonprofits, CALPIRG and Environment California. Aleena then went on to continue her education at Cal Poly Humboldt where she recently earned a masters degree in the Environment and Community program. During her masters degree, Aleena worked with the Nisenan Tribe to cultivate conversations in the community around federal recognition and local acknowledgement for the Tribe. Returning to the foothills, now working for the Bear Yuba Land Trust has been a grounding experience. In her free time Aleena enjoys trail running, roller skating at the Grass Valley skatepark, and kayaking our pristine lakes.

Shaun Clarke | Trails Stewardship Coordinator | | (530) 272-5994 x 203


As an Eagle Scout, Shaun built his first trail on conservation land in his home town of Littleton Massachusetts. He earned his Associate’s degree in horticulture from SUNY Morrisville in Morrisville, New York and graduated from UMASS Amherst in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Studies. Shaun has worked for New Hampshire state parks with the Student Conservation Association and as an outdoor environmental educator with an organization called Nature’s Classroom. He worked as a farmer in small scale, organic agriculture for a decade before coming to Bear Yuba Land Trust where his career has returned full circle to nature and trails.

Bill Haire | Trails Coordinator |


Bill Haire was born in Fresno, California and raised in the small farming community of Kingsburg. He now lives in Grass Valley with his wife of 50 years, Joyce. They have two children, Mike and Jennifer. After majoring in Forest Management at Humboldt State University, Bill spent 34 years working for the Forest Service, in Mendocino, San Bernardino and Tahoe National Forests. He specialized in Recreation and Land Management and managed the trail program for the Nevada City and Downieville Ranger Districts. Bill became Trails Coordinator for Nevada County Land Trust (now Bear Yuba Land Trust) in 2003. Bill educates the community about trails, meets with groups interested in developing trails, plans trail routes that will connect to public lands, works with property owners to secure public trail easements, organizes and trains volunteer work parties to construct and maintain trails and assists the Land Trust in raising funds for the Trails Program. In 2007 Bill was awarded the Lifetime Professional Achievement Award at the California Trails and Greenways Conference for his accomplishments in trail planning, construction and maintenance, and for his work with diverse groups of trail users throughout his career.

Jason Landers | Land Stewardship Associate | | (530) 272-5994 x 209

Jason was born in Los Angeles, but loves to call the Sierras home. At a young age he developed a passion for exploring the mountains and forests near his home. He knew early on that his calling was to work in service to people, animals, and our natural world. As such, he has devoted his academic and professional life to the pursuit of community and collaborative resource management. Jason graduated from Humboldt State University with a BS in Natural Resources Management and a minor in Geospatial Analysis. After graduating he worked with Food Forward, the largest food recovery nonprofit in California and then for the El Dorado County and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts, an organization dedicated to advising and assisting individual landowners and public agencies in planning and implementation of conservation practices. He is also pursuing a MS in Forest and Watershed Sciences at the University of Colorado. He is grateful to work with the Land Trust and to help defend and conserve natural resources and improve community resilience. When he’s not working he can be found cooking delicious plant-based meals, reading by a river, or exploring the Sierras by foot and bike.


Zane Burnett | Restoration and Engagement Assistant | | (530) 272-5994 x 211

Growing up, Zane developed his love of the outdoors while exploring Folsom Lake and the Sierra Nevada Foothills. He attended UC Santa Cruz in 2015 and spent his free time hiking through the Santa Cruz mountains. He graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and spent the next five years working in the construction industry. In November of 2022 Zane was accepted into the SNAP program before being placed with the Bear Yuba Land Trust. In his free time Zane enjoys trail running, camping, art in its many forms, and reading.


Board of Directors

Robin Milam President

Robin Milam is a social entrepreneur whose passion is re-aligning human consciousness and restoring natural balance. Her broad business and internet marketing experience spans IBM, American Express, AirTouch Communications and her network of small business clients. She holds an MBA from Arizona State University and a BA from the University of Arkansas.

Working in Yellowstone National Park and leading journeys into the Amazon of Ecuador with The Pachamama Alliance ignited her passion. A global earth rights advocate, Robin has organized events around the world for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature including the launch of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal. A 20+ year Nevada County resident, Robin serves our community through Rotary and other organizations.  As a long time volunteer and now BYLT Board Member, Robin is committed to conserving open spaces and protecting the Bear and Yuba watersheds for generations to come.

Kathryn (Katie) McCamant | Vice President

Katie grew up hiking, fishing and skiing with her Dad in Colorado who taught her that one does their best thinking in nature. A licensed architect, now practicing as a development consultant, Katie runs her own consulting firm, CoHousing Solutions in Nevada City, consulting on environmentally and socially sustainable development all over the country. Katie has a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley. She, along with her husband Chuck Durrett, introduced cohousing, a model for collaborative neighborhoods, to North America. Katie moved to Nevada City in 2004, after decades of driving through on her family’s way to Goodyears Bar and the North Fork of the Yuba where they spent summer vacations. She loves living so close to fabulous hiking and rivers.

Debbie Wivholm | Treasurer

Debbie grew up on the northern plains of Montana, east of Glacier Park. Her family enjoyed snowmobiling, camping and fishing. She graduated from Montana State University (Bozeman) with a degree in accounting. This is also where she met her husband, Dallas. With one quarter of college remaining, she sat for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and then spent her summer in Sacramento as an intern at a CPA firm while living with her grandparents in Weimar. She fell in love with the foothills of northern California and was thrilled when the CPA firm offered her a position after she finished her last quarter. Debbie and Dallas live outside Grass Valley and she is a tax manager at McSweeney and Associates. Their two children graduated from NU and live in Colorado Springs and Denver. Debbie and Dallas enjoy the outdoors whenever they can camping, backpacking or just spending the day exploring the many trails of northern California.


Christy Sherr | Secretary

Christy Sherr is an avid hiker, equestrian and swimmer who enjoys learning and sharing about our native flora and fauna, especially chaparral. She holds a BA in Wildlife Biology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and has worked most recently as Outreach Coordinator for the Earth Island Institute’s John Muir Project, traveling statewide inspiring others about the importance of protecting snags and post-fire forests from salvage logging to protect habitat dependent wildlife species and protect watersheds. Her favorite aspect of the work was having their young teenage daughter don a woodpecker costume and accompany her for many presentations and meetings.

She served as a California State Park Ranger along with her husband Greg in diverse parks like Point Mugu and Leo Carrillo State Beaches, and Malibu Creek SP (site of the famous “Mash” TV set). She worked at and helped prepare for Big Basin SP’s 100th birthday Centennial celebration (it was California’s first state park…), and most recently she and Greg shared a ranger position here in Nevada County at Malakoff Diggins SHP for twelve years. She also shared her love of California biodiversity as a National Park Ranger in Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks. During her Park Ranger career she became very adept at relocating rattlesnakes!

Tim Ackerman | Assistant Secretary

After receiving his B.S. in Biology from UC Davis, Tim worked for the Federal Government as a Research Fisheries Biologist before returning to school earning an M.S. at Moss Landing Marine Lab. Moving with his wife Janie to Nevada County in 1972, they worked in the local school districts and raised their two sons Cam and Josh. They walk almost daily on one of the BYLT trails. Tim has served on the Boards and is active with the Gold Country Fly Fishers and Nevada County Habitat for Humanity.  He enjoys spending time with family, reading, and learning to play the guitar.  Tim identifies strongly with the BYLT mission and commitment to build trails and conserve the lands where he likes to hike, explore, paddle, fly-fish, camp, and roast the perfect marshmallow.

Robert SmailBoard Member

Robert fell in love with the outdoors at a young age through the Scouting program. After attending college at the University of Colorado in Boulder, he served in the United States Marine Corps as a Ground Intelligence Officer with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Robert settled in the Grass Valley area where he is a financial advisor. He enjoys fishing, hunting, skiing, and hiking.


Dr. Trent Pridemore Board Member

Trent’s educational background includes Field Zoology at University of California at Santa Barbara and a D.D.S. from University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Early in life he worked summers on an uncle’s West Texas ranch where he became endeared to the preservation of rural lands, and later as a timber cruiser on California’s Lost Coast. Returning home from Air Force service in South East Asia during the Vietnam War, he started a dental practice and soon used his zoology background in fisheries conservation. He was the Biological Consultant and Project Manager for the Little Truckee River Trout Restoration Task Force and a founder of California Fisheries Restoration Task Force. He wrote the protective regulations for the Truckee River system 12 years ago when he and his wife Karen moved from the Bay Area to rural Grass Valley. He is an avid fly fisherman and writes for California Fly Fisher on the biology of stillwater fly fishing, outdoor cooking and restaurant reviews. His science background, early experiences on the ranch, time spent in California’s timber country and a lifetime of chasing diversions in the outdoors made him a perfect fit for Bear Yuba Land Trust and its mission.

Mike Chapel | Board Member

Mike is an avid outdoorsman who spends many days each year hiking with his friends and dogs, fly fishing, and bird hunting.  He has lived in Grass Valley with his wife Suzanne since they moved there with their two sons Chris and Darren in 1986.

Mike graduated from CSU Fresno with an M.S. in Biology in 1976.  His focus areas were wildlife biology and plant ecology.  Mike worked for the US Forest Service for 33 years, where he managed wildlife and fish programs on one ranger district and two national forests in the Sierra Nevada from 1979 to 1991.  He served as a Forest Service liaison to the State of California in Sacramento from 1991 – 2012.  Since his retirement, Mike volunteers with several local and regional groups to advance natural resource conservation and recreation.

Tom Holdrege | Board Member

Growing up in Boulder, Colorado, Tom gained an early appreciation for nature. In his youth, Tom and his friends explored the mountain parks, and became familiar even the most remote areas surrounding Boulder’s famed Flatirons.

During his career with Holdrege & Kull Consulting Engineers and Geologist, which he co-founded with his partner Chuck Kull, Tom completed over 1,000 environmental, hazardous materials, solid waste, geotechnical, and geologic site characterizations in California from 1986 to 2017. His experience in environmental site characterization ranges from initial site assessment to complex fracture flow modeling and soil and groundwater remediation.

Tom and his wife, Peggy, are very active in adventure travel. Having traveled to 6 of the 7 continents, their goal is to ski on all 7 continents, with only Africa and Australia remaining. In addition, they are high altitude mountaineers, having been over 18,500 feet on 5 continents and have reached the high point on two continents (Africa and Europe) and the third highest point in North America. In preparation for these worldwide adventures, Tom and Peggy have become intimately familiar with the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, particularly in the Tahoe Sierra and Nevada County.

Cathy Roberts | Board Member

Cathy Roberts is a retired judge who moved here in 2017 from Utah to take advantage of Nevada County’s cross-country skiing, horseback riding and hiking opportunities. She and her husband keep bees, grow tomatoes, and enjoy the view of Nevada City from their home on Banner Mountain.

Jodi StarbirdBoard Member

Before moving to Nevada City, Jodi Starbird was involved with the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy (GRPC) in San Jose, California for 14 years, serving as President and on the Master Plan, Governance, Finance, and Development Committees. She also served on the Rotary Steering Committee for the development of an all-access Children’s PlayGarden in the Guadalupe Gardens where children of all physical abilities can play side-by-side.

A graduate of UC Davis, Jodi has been working in the environmental field for over 35 years with expertise in land use planning. She has assisted public agencies in the Bay area in the planning and entitlement process for parks, trails, and residential, commercial, and industrial development.

Jodi is an avid hiker. She is married to Sterling (Drew) Starbird, a Business School Professor at Santa Clara University. They have three sons and a German shepherd named Stella.

Jo McProud | Board Member

As a fourth generation Californian and a 42 year resident of Nevada County, Jo feels a profound connection and responsibility to our beautiful region. She first came to Nevada City after finishing a degree in Landscape Architecture at UC Davis and has worked as a self-employed landscape architect since then. Until recently, she also owned and operated Riverhill Farm with her husband, Alan Haight. Riverhill was a labor of love, driven by their desire to create an organic farm that would feed the community and enhance the natural environment.