RCLC Board of Directors
- Christina Batt, President (2021)
- John Walton, Vice-President (2022)
- Joel Chaban, Secretary (2022)
- Bob Rutemoeller, Treasurer (2022)
- Kay Martin, Director (2021)
- Robin Applegarth, Director (2021)
- Cheryl Harris, Director (2022)
- Ken Fischer, Director (2022)
- Trish Miller, Director (2023)
- Jim Nybakken, Director (2023)
Meet our volunteer Board
President, Christina Batt
“My husband and I never thought we’d end up living in Sea Ranch forest, but we fell in love with our house overlooking the Gualala River and its watershed. We’ve both worked with land trusts in the San Francisco Bay area most of our adult lives and look forward to sharing the work and success of the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy with our friends, community and our family.”
Christina (“Tina”) began her career as a founder and volunteer Board member of the Martinez Regional Land Trust, which later changed to Muir Heritage Land Trust. She became the full time Executive Director. Her degree in creative writing and real estate license helped support both her grant writing and real estate negotiations.
She transitioned from the land trust to a second career in organizational and fund development consulting after attending Harvard Kennedy School’s Mid-Career Master’s of Public Administration Program. Tina consulted with a number of organizations, including the University of California’s Natural Reserve System. She also served for three years as the Land Program Officer at the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.
Vice-President, John Walton
“I first drove through Gualala in 1976 and was so taken with the natural beauty that I decided to live here. My wife Lynn and I married here in 1989, built our home, and still awaken amazed every day. We’ve spent much of our 40 years together in outdoor activities and are committed to enjoying and protecting the local environment. Membership on the Board of RCLC offers me the opportunity to engage with an experienced and dedicated group of environmentalists to protect more of our coastal lands, increase public access, and restore the environment to the benefit of all of our neighbors, human, critters, and plants.”
John’s first involvement with organized environmental action was in mid-1970 with Catfish Alliance in Tallahassee, Florida addressing concerns with the rapidly developing nuclear power industry. He has remained involved in environmental causes as an activist and conservationist.
John had a career in non-profit healthcare spanning more than 40 years. He began working in mental health as a therapist, transitioning to administration, culminating in the position of administrator of a full spectrum mental healthcare system. He completed advanced training in clinical psychology and mediation that facilitated his career. John has always believed that working collaboratively to achieve goals and address issues to the benefit of all is the most effective and rewarding path.
Secretary, Joel Chaban
“As a full-time resident here for the past 17 years, I continue to savor the beauty of this remote and rugged region of the coast. There’s a special place in my heart for Cooks Beach, one of the conservation easements managed by RCLC. When my dog Roo was alive (1998 – 2015), we would go there almost every day. This beach and the entire coast including our rivers and forests need to be preserved for future generations, for public access, and for continued regeneration of nature and wildlife. These relationships with the land are what connect and motivate me as a volunteer.”
Joel has a BS degree (Business–finance and real estate) from the University of Southern California. His career has taken him down many roads. He opened a dozen restaurants mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been a magazine editor and publisher, author of six books, and taught at Golden Gate University. He spent the last 30 years as a software developer and now consults on RCLC’s website as well as managing RCLC’s Cooks Beach property.
He has been an active volunteer with environmental and climate change organizations, and serves on the Sonoma Clean Power Community Advisory Committee. He founded Marin First Osborne Group and Mendonoma Climate Action Group.
Treasurer, Bob Rutemoeller
“Since we first moved here in 1989, our family has helped in various community projects. Both my wife Mary Sue and I have been helping with our Gualala Bluff Trail and many of the other RCLC projects. We live in such a beautiful place, we want to protect that and find ways to share with our community and visitors and encourage others to continue this important effort.”
Bob was one of the original board members for Redwood Coast Land Conservancy. His professional background includes being an Enrolled Agent since 1987, (licensed by IRS to prepare tax returns). He is also a Certified Financial Planner, since 1984. He holds a BSC degree in finance and accounting from Santa Clara University. He also volunteers at Gualala Arts and the local California Native Plant Society chapter.
“My professional life has been devoted to the study and preservation of cultural and natural resource systems. Those of us privileged enough to live on the beautiful Mendonoma Coast also have a responsibility to be environmental stewards. Being a part of RCLC is an opportunity to actively participate in programs for the protection and restoration of native flora and fauna and the return of sensitive habitats to the public domain.”
Kay has a diversified research, planning, and management background. She was a university professor, and has held executive posts in the fields of applied anthropology, environmental research, resource conservation, and renewable energy development. She has experience preparing CEQA documents, negotiating contracts, and has run environmental programs (Ventura County) and served on historic preservation boards. She is the author of three academic books and serves as Vice-President of the BioEnergy Producers Association. Academic Degrees: BA Psychology; MA Anthropology; Ph.D. Anthropology; MPA Public Administration.
“I spent formative childhood years living on a 600 acre wilderness ranch, where I loved exploring the streams and oak forests of the region. I’m a fourth generation California native who believes in protecting wild and scenic places for future generations, including my children and grandchildren. The growing threat of climate change calls us all to better stewardship of the precious natural world upon which we depend.”
Robin holds a B.A. (History) from the University of California, Riverside as well as a Personal Financial Planner certification. She and her husband Tony started a non-profit school, where she learned the nuances of non-profit operation and served on the Board for 10 years. Later, she earned another financial planning certification (CRPC) from the College for Financial Planning. Recently, she has been active in climate change awareness organizations, including organizing a community Earth Day.
“The Sonoma-Mendocino Coast is one of the most unique and beautiful areas in the world. My wife and I consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have had our second home here for over thirty years. We want to be able to assist in preserving and restoring its beautiful landscapes and to make them available for the public to enjoy whenever possible.”
Ken earned a BA (History) from UC Santa Barbara. He has had a long career in the insurance field and holds a Chartered Life Underwriter Designation (CLU). He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Muir Heritage Land Trust (Now the John Muir Land Trust) from 2003 – 2010.
“Through the years, my husband and I spent many vacation days enjoying this beautiful Sonoma Coast and are now able to spend extended periods of time here. We engage in multiple volunteer activities while also enjoying hiking the coastal trails, kayaking the rivers, birding, and dabbling in art and quilting projects. I have been fortunate to live in a beautiful natural area most of my life, enjoying the peace and calm as well as the exhilaration and inspiration it provides. I would like everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy similar experiences. My hope is that working to help preserve and restore our local natural areas through RCLC can help achieve this.”
Cheryl’s experience includes extensive work with volunteers in parks, gardens and interpretive centers. She served on several Napa County Commissions and committees appointed by the Napa County Supervisors. She has also been president of Napa CA. Native Plant Society and the Napa-Solano Audubon Society. She organized and implemented the successful volunteer campaign to establish and manage the 850 acre Skyline Regional Park and served as President. More recently, she worked on the ballot measure that created the Napa County Parks and Open Space District.
Education: BA Environmental Studies & Botany Sonoma State University; post grad work -Non-profit Administration
“My husband and I bought some land in southern Mendocino county and built our log home in 1979, going “back to the land” as many of our peers were doing. We raised our three children here, homeschooling them so they could have the freedom to explore the beach on a school-day low tide, or hunt for boletus after the fall rains. We still call Cook’s Beach “Trespass Beach,” because it was one of our favorite places to explore before RCLC made it a public access beach. Before that, the southernmost public beach access in Mendocino county was Schooner Gulch. All children, all people, deserve access to wild and beautiful places, and I am honored to be a part of an organization committed to protecting those places in our own community.”
Trish holds a B.A. (Psychology) from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and completed a Registered Nurse program through Cabrillo College. She retired in January 2020 from RCMS, where she was a Diabetes, Hypertension, and Nutrition educator. She has been a volunteer with the Seal Docent program for over ten years, surveys Gualala Point Beach monthly through The Farallones Association Beach Watch program, and is a new volunteer with California Academy of Sciences.
“My wife Marcia and I feel extremely lucky to be able to live in such a beautiful area and to be able to contribute to the preservation of its unique qualities. I was born and raised in North Dakota and graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in Business Administration. Making my way west while serving in the Navy during the Viet Nam era, Marcia and I met in San Francisco and lived there for several years before settling in Oakland and Piedmont. Following 35 years of renting vacation properties in this area, we were delighted to be able to buy a second home at Sea Ranch 11 years ago. We are now living pretty much full time here on the Mendonoma coast and loving it.”
Jim has been fully retired for several years, but prior to that he worked in public and private development for many years in San Francisco and the East Bay. He worked in a number of different capacities, including project management, harbor management, financial management, risk management, HR and employee relations, and manager of administrative services.
He served on a range of non-profit and governmental boards over the years, most recently on The Sea Ranch Association Board of Directors. He is currently active with Redwood Coast Medical Services (RCMS), the Sea Ranch Chapel Foundation, the Posh Squash Community Garden, North Sonoma Coast Fire Protection District, and the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in the Berkeley Hills.