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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, Staff 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.  Matt feels incredibly grateful that he gets to spend his days working to defend Northern California's magnificent forests.  Ever since he first visited Humboldt County several years ago, Matt has hoped he would be able to return and now he gets to call this unique place his home.

 

At EPIC, Matt is focused on using his law degree to make life as difficult as possible for people who want to harm the environment.  Whether it's private companies, misguided state agencies, or the federal government (no matter who is in charge), Matt is ready to use every legal tool at his disposal to defend this corner of the planet.  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, Public Lands Advocate (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 Ecoregion. 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, Klamath River Advocate (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 worked on and applied many of the environmental, economic and community planning policies throughout the region. Her love for the environment has evolved into a lifelong commitment to defend wild places facing the threats of modern development.

 

In addition to monitoring public lands and developing comments on projects, Amber also manages donor relations, fundraising events, grant writing, communications, graphic design, newsletter production and community organizing to further the organization’s causes.

When Amber is not working at EPIC, she is gardening, rafting, hiking and exploring the beauty of the North Coast with her family.

 

Contact Amber at amber@wildcalifornia.org.

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Luis Neuner, Decarbonize the North Coast Advocate (he/him)

Luis graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in May of 2022. Before joining the team at EPIC, he enjoyed various policy-related internships with tribes, NGOs, and think tanks. He carries U.S. and German nationality, is a proud citizen and cultural practitioner of the Karuk Tribe, and is a Yurok and Shasta descendant. 

 

It is Luis’ core belief that we carry a reciprocal responsibility to protect and nourish our environment and surroundings. If we care for the land, then the land, in return, will care for us. To uphold his end of the bargain, Luis has dedicated a greater part of his life to promoting viable natural resource governance. At EPIC since January 2023, he focuses on decarbonization in the face of the climate crisis, building sustainable energy networks, and promoting strong, healthy, and resilient communities on the North Coast. 

 

When not at work, you can find Luis surfing the rough waters of Humboldt, wandering about in the mountains of his ancestral territory, or spending quality time with family and friends. 

 

Contact Luis at luis@wildcalifornia.org.

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Josefina Barrantes, 30x30 Coordinator (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, as well as knowledges of 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 serves to function as someone 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 that is their way of life.

 

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 Coordinator (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 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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