At the end of February, we will say goodbye to Natalynne DeLapp-Hinton, EPIC’s Executive Director since 2014. We are pleased to introduce a new face, Briana Villalobos as the Director of Communications and Development, and welcome current Program Director Tom Wheeler J.D. as EPIC’s new Executive Director.
While Natalynne will be leaving us this year, her impact on the community and all things EPIC will stay with us. During her time as the Executive Director, Natalynne built upon EPIC’s strong brand as California’s North Coast forest protection organization, all while centralizing EPIC’S strengths as an operationally and strategically focused powerhouse. Her unconventional and bold strategies have introduced a collaborative and principled standard of communication that sought to build bridges and work within the community to find pragmatic yet idealistic solutions.
From everyone on the staff and Board of Directors, we wish Natalynne happy trails.
Since Tom joined EPIC in 2014, he has brought a keen legal eye to EPIC’s work. Tom graduated from the University of Washington School of Law with a concentration in Environmental Law. Tom was President of the Environmental Law Society, served as Articles Editor of the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, and defended old-growth and endangered species at the Washington Forest Law Center. Tom was drawn to EPIC for its predominant “history of fighting and winning the fights no one thought possible.” Tom is excited to continue to bring his legal skills to work on protecting our wild places.
Briana attended Humboldt State University where she earned her degree in sociology with an emphasis on human ecology. Her passion for environmental and social justice is exemplified by her time and research dedicated throughout her undergrad career, and as an intern for EPIC. She is fresh out of academia and is excited to further ignite her burning love for social activism and the environment.
We are pleased to enter this celebratory year with new faces, and exciting changes! However, as we carry on forward we must first acknowledge the tall tasks ahead of us. From climate change to the Trump administration, our North Coast ecosystems have never needed a vigorous advocate more than now. This year we will be on high alert, and continue to advocate for the sustainable management of public forests. The faces of EPIC are changing, but our heart remains the same. We have an exceptional staff of experts and support from a community of people who dare to think the world can be a better place. Together, we are powerful and together we will ensure California remains wild.