Golden Hour Restoration Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit that is governed by 6 board members that embody a strong conservation ethic and drive for environmental stewardship. These are the people who make this organization efficient, successful, and professional. Board members are listed in alphabetic order: Ryan Branciforte, Emily Charley, Sasha Gennet, Lech Naumovich, Liz Rumsey, and Andrew Toebben.
Lech Naumovich (MESc, Yale School of Forestry), Executive Director
Lech has extensive experience in rare plant surveys, vegetation mapping, restoration ecology, and conservation science in the state of California. He serves on the California Native Plant Society Conservation Committee, has served as a Conference Session Chair for Restoration four times, serves on the Steering Committee for the Conservation Lands Network (versions 1 & 2), and is an appointed commissioner of the Alameda County Fish and Game Commission. He regularly teaches technical courses on Restoration Ecology in field and in the classroom and manages restoration projects throughout the Bay Area. He is the co-author of Annotated Checklist of the Flora of the East Bay, a CNPS/ Jepson Herbarium publication. He is the founder of Golden Hour Restoration Institute. Lech also works as a conservation photographer in his spare time.
Kate Ferroggiaro (MA, University of California-Santa Barbara), Program Assistant
Kate has experience doing seed collection, habitat stewardship, botanical surveys, working with endangered species, and organizing workshops. She is a passionate and committed individual that volunteers for habitat restoration work in most of her free time. She holds a B.A. with honors in Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication, a Master of Arts in Global and International Studies- with an emphasis on nonprofits, and a Permaculture Design Certificate. In the recent past, she has worked on an organic seed farm in the Sierra Foothills, at a sustainable agriculture training center in Kenya, for the East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden and for Oaktown Native Plant Nursery.
Wyllie Clayson (BS, Humboldt State University)
Wyllie has done extensive fieldwork within his courses, including soil sampling, wetland delineation, wildland restoration, and stream surveying, to list a few. This has continued that trend with his work at Golden Hour Restoration Institute, which has given him experience doing plant surveys, restoration, working with endangered species, and organizing events. He is a passionate individual dedicated to the environment and educating communities on environmental issues. He holds a B.S. with honors in Environmental Science; emphasis in Ecological Restoration.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ryan Branciforte, Treasurer, has over 15 years experience working in the conservation, environmental and resource management fields. He is the CEO of an exciting new outdoor technology company, Trailhead Labs. Trailhead Labs builds innovative technology that connects and engages people with the outdoors.
Prior to joining the Council, Ryan worked as Director of Programs for the Bay Area Open Space Council where he managed the development of the regional biodiversity conservation plan, the Bay Area Conservation Lands Network, regional climate change efforts, Transit and Trails and a number of other conservation projects. He also worked with GreenInfo Network as a GIS Specialist managing a number of regional conservation projects including compilation and oversight of the Bay Area and CA statewide protected lands database, and development of regional land information system for Greenbelt Alliance, and management of the Bay Area Ridge Trail GIS system. Earlier in his career Ryan was the GIS/GPS lab manager at the Sonoma Ecology Center and Biological Resource Technician for the National Park Service at Joshua Tree National Park. Ryan also has volunteered internationally for conservation groups in Borneo, Indonesia and the Patagonia region of South America.
Ryan enjoys spending time riding, running, biking around the parks and open spaces in the Bay Area, the Sierras and also enjoys adventure travel locally, domestically and throughout the world. Ryan received his BS degree in International Relations and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Emily Charley, Corresponding Secretary, is a litigator specializing in the representation of public agencies. She is currently an associate with Hanson Bridgett, LLP, working throughout California in both state and federal court.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Emily worked as a scientist at the UCSF Cancer Center. She has also worked in education, teaching children from the San Joaquin County environmental education.
During college, Emily worked as an ecologist studying the yellow-bellied marrots (Marmota flaviventris) at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratories, in Colorado. There she wrote grant proposals and conducted field research.
Emily is committed to giving back to her community. She lends time each year to various pro bono matters, including her work for the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Courthouse Landlord-Tenant Project, negotiating on behalf of low income tenants defending evictions, and working with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. She also stays young by volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco, and Big Brothers and Sisters of San Francisco. She also skis, swims, and has travelled extensively in the US and internationally.
Emily received her BA in Biochemistry from Mills College in 1999, and a JD from the University of San Francisco in 2005.
Sasha Gennet, Chair of Organizational Development, has 15 years experience in conservation planning and policy, habitat restoration, and ecological research. She is currently regional ecologist with The Nature Conservancy, working throughout the Central Coast of California.
Immediately prior to joining TNC, Sasha worked as a biology and conservation planning consultant on several Habitat Conservation Plans in California, including the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, for SAIC in Sacramento. She has also worked in Washington DC on science policy for the American Institute of Biological Science. Sasha started her career as an intern and later natural resources staff for the National Park Service at Golden Gate and Point Reyes, working on rare and endangered species management and habitat restoration. During college, she worked on forest ecosystems and long-term watershed science research projects in New England and Puerto Rico at several Long Term Ecological Research sites.
Sasha spends as much time as possible exploring California’s wild places and learning about its incredible biological diversity with binoculars and a hand lens. She also runs, bikes, skis, and climbs, and has travelled extensively in the US and internationally.
Sasha received her BA from Yale University in 1997 and an MS and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004 and 2007, respectively. Her master’s research was an experimental re-introduction of an endangered wetland plant at Point Reyes National Seashore. Her PhD research examined the relationship between land use, climate, and other environmental factors on native plant diversity and songbird populations in California grasslands.
Andy Toebben is a partner and member of the Executive Committee of his Bay Area law firm, VLP Law Group, where he represents high-tech start-ups and the investors who back them. He has a long and diverse background of fighting for social and political justice ranging from penning ethnographic accounts of his time in a DC homeless shelter to leading President Obama’s 2008 voter protection team for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is an avid bicyclist and fan of Jayhawk basketball and has recently found love in Barcelona.
Andy received his JD from the University of Virginia Law School and his BS from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he double majored in Sociology and Economics and was elected Phi Beta Kappa.
Lech Naumovich, Executive Director and Board President, has worked in the field of environmental conservation and restoration for the past 15 years. He works as the Executive Director for Golden Hour Restoration Institute where manages a number of tasks including educational training/instruction, programs development, and partner outreach, to name a few.
Previously, Lech served as the Conservation Analyst for the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) for 5 years. With CNPS, he was involved in a number of local and regional projects that protect native plant resources. He serves as an advisory member for regional planning efforts such as the East Contra Costa Habitat Conservation Plan, the Eastern Alameda Conservation Strategy, and the Bay Area Upland Habitat Goals Project. Lech regularly interprets and analyzes the ecological effect of development projects by writing formal comment letters on the Environmental Impact Statements and Reports. He works with community groups, wildlife agencies, and local elected officials in various capacities, helping raise awareness about the importance of native plants and vegetation. Lech sits on the State Conservation Committee of CNPS. Lech served on the 2012 CNPS Conservation Conference Steering Committee and also served as the Restoration Session Co-chair in 2012 and 2015. Lech also worked for Creekside Science as a consultant for approximately 8 years focusing on habitat restoration for serpentine habitats and rare flora and fauna in the Bay Area. Lech also works part time as an independent botanical consultant and a professional photographer.
Lech received his BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and an Master of Environmental Science in 2001 from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In 2002, Lech was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship where he studied plant evolution in Wroclaw, Poland.