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Meet the EPIC Team

Tom Wheeler, Executive Director (he/him)

Tom graduated from the University of Washington School of Law with a concentration in Environmental Law, where he was President of the Environmental Law Society, served as Articles Editor of the WA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, and defended old-growth and endangered species at the WA Forest Law Center.

 

Tom began working for EPIC in 2014 as the Program & Legal Coordinator, and has since moved up the ranks to Executive Director. When he’s not nerding out over the Endangered Species Act (his all-time favorite law), Tom is probably plunking the banjo, playing ping-pong with his wife Jenna, or petting his cats.

 

Contact Tom at tom@wildcalifornia.org.

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Matt Simmons, Climate Attorney (he/him)

Matt graduated from UCLA School of Law in May 2020 with specializations in Environmental Law and Public Interest Law.  While there, Matt served as President of the Environmental Law Society, participated in the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic, and completed a summer internship at the Natural Resources Defense Council. At EPIC, Matt is focused on fighting climate change at the local level — that means advocating for responsible renewable energy development, robust climate action planning, and arguing against false climate solutions. 

 

When he's not working, Matt can be found enjoying the places he protects, usually on a hike or at the beach.

 

Contact Matt at matt@wildcalifornia.org.

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Kimberly Baker, Conservation Director (she/her)

Kimberly has worked to defend Northern California’s national forests for over two decades, starting as Forest and Wildlife Protection Coordinator for the Klamath Forest Alliance. Kimberly has advocated for the protection of public lands with EPIC since 2007.

 

Her efforts include tracking, commenting, ground-truthing and litigating projects in the remote and rugged watersheds of the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. Kimberly has also organized multiple events, trainings and conferences, engages with regional conservation organizations, and works with USFS employees to ensure safeguards for the wildlife, waters and wild lands in our forests. She is also passionate about riding and caring for her equine mustangs.

 

Contact Kimberly at kimberly@wildcalifornia.org.

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Amber Jamieson, Water Advocacy Director (she/her)

Amber attended Humboldt State University where she earned a degree in Natural Resource Policy Economics. Through previous work with public agencies and private planning firms, she has helped develop and apply many of the environmental, economic, and community planning policies throughout the region. She began working at EPIC in 2009, and in addition to monitoring public lands and waters and analyzing and commenting on countless environmental and policy documents, she has done communications, fundraising, outreach, graphic design, grant writing, and community organizing. 

 

In her role as water advocacy director, she has campaigned for Klamath dam removal, sustainable salmon populations, in-stream flows, and responsible agency actions to protect waterways that support healthy ecosystems and communities.

 

When Amber is not working at EPIC, she is gardening, rafting, hiking, and exploring nature with her family.

 

Contact Amber at amber@wildcalifornia.org.

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Melodie Meyer, Conservation Attorney (she/her)

Melodie is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She researched the disproportionate impacts of environmental disasters on indigenous peoples across the Southwest and interned with her Tribe’s Natural Resources Department during college, and graduated from the University of New Mexico with a major in Native American Studies. She interned for the Indian Law firm Fredericks, Peebles, and Patterson, LLP, and the Malibu-based environmental nonprofit the Wishtoyo Foundation during law school, and graduated from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law with specializations in Indian Law and Environmental Law in 2020.

 

Soon after graduating, Melodie moved to Humboldt County to work for the Yurok Tribe, first as a Justice Catalyst/Public Rights Project Legal Fellow and then as Associate General Counsel.

In her role as Conservation Attorney, Melodie shapes policy actions that make up EPIC’s core conservation program areas — Public Lands, Biodiversity Defense, and Clean Water & Healthy Rivers — and helps manage EPIC’s litigation docket.

 

Contact Melodie at melodie@wildcalifornia.org.

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Josefina Barrantes, 30x30 Coordinator & Del Norte Advocate (she/her)

Josefina earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a concentration in Law and Policy in May 2021 and a Masters of Social Science in Environment and Community in May 2023 from Cal Poly Humboldt. Her Masters’ thesis focused on edible landscapes at the university with a special focus on land politics in higher education, uplifting student voices, and knowledges of Indigenous landback. Her experience includes interning with district Senator McGuire, EPIC itself, and being the Environmental Sustainability Officer for Cal Poly Humboldt’s Associated Students.

At EPIC since spring 2023, Josefina serves the far north region of California by advocating for parcels of land to be protected under the 30x30 Pathways to California strategy. She works to uplift the voices of those who historically have been harmed by colonization and to help them seek a pathway to having access to, stewarding, and possessing their land in accordance with their ways of life. Josefina also advocates for the natural environment of Del Norte County by watchdogging planning agencies to ensure that projects are being developed with proper environmental review, and avoiding harmful environmental impacts to the beautiful county.

In life, Josefina enjoys being outside with her dog, cooking delicious meals for loved ones and reading memoirs.

Contact Josefina at josefina@wildcalifornia.org.

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Abigail Lowell, Communications Director (she/her)

Abigail graduated from Humboldt State University with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science & Management with an emphasis in Environmental Education & Interpretation in May 2021. While at HSU, she worked and volunteered as a youth outdoor education instructor, served as Outreach Coordinator for HSU's Green Campus team, worked as a seasonal interpreter for the CA State Parks North Coast Redwoods District, and published research on the unmanaged risks posed by sea-level rise to the nuclear waste stored on Humboldt Bay. After graduating, Abigail taught at Sequoia Park Zoo Camp in Eureka and served as a Team Leader with the California Conservation Corps / AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Program in Northern California.

 

Abigail believes education and community are some of our most powerful tools for environmental conservation and stewardship. She began working at EPIC in August 2022, where she leads our outreach and communications efforts, including managing our social media accounts, producing our email newsletters, coordinating events, fundraising, and engaging with our amazing members.

When she's not working, you can usually find Abigail gardening, crafting, playing with her tuxedo cat Jasper, or identifying plants and exploring the North Coast.

 

Contact Abigail at abigail@wildcalifornia.org.

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