Changes have come to Foothill Conservancy

Foothill Conservancy welcomes new executive director.


Megan Fiske has been named the Foothill Conservancy’s new executive director, effective immediately. She brings with her over a decade’s experience working in the Sierra Nevada with both environmental nonprofits and the U.S. Forest Service. She graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in wildlife management and conservation.

Fiske first joined the Conservancy in May as its watershed conservation and land use advocate. She was previously the biologist for the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center (CSERC), working to protect the environment in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. While with CSERC, she co-authored a scientific paper demonstrating the connection between livestock grazing and water quality degradation on national forests in the Sierra Nevada. She also participated in numerous coalitions and reviewed land use planning projects as well as projects in the national forest and in Yosemite National Park. After leaving CSERC she worked as a naturalist guide in Yosemite, as a snowboard instructor at Bear Valley, and as a water sampler at a local water quality testing lab.


“My love for the environment has only deepened as I have gained more knowledge and experience as a biologist and as an advocate,” Fiske said. “My passion and my desire to collaborate and work with others to find creative solutions is stronger than ever. I’ve been a scientist, a photographer, a lover of wildlife, a wildflower enthusiast, an activist and an advocate for most of my life. I appreciate nature in so many different ways and have dedicated my life to fostering a love for the natural world in others. In my new role as the executive director I will use my passion and experience to further the mission of the Foothill Conservancy and broaden our impact on the local community.”

Among Fiske’s first duties will be helping recruit someone to take over as the new watershed conservation and land use advocate. She will be instrumental in preparing for upcoming events and activities, including the annual Foothill Conservancy dinner on Oct. 9, and the annual Mokelumne River cleanup in the fall.

She looks forward to meeting Foothill Conservancy members and hopes they will stop by the office to learn more about its current projects. She can be reached by email at, or by phone at 209.223.3508.

Foothill Conservancy welcomes two new board directors, Barbara Hodgin and Larry Patterson.

 The two new directors were elected to the Foothill Conservancy Board of Directors at the Foothill Conservancy’s annual membership meeting on Tuesday, July 20. While the annual meeting is normally held at the Conservancy’s annual dinner, the Conservancy held the meeting this year on Zoom because of the Covid pandemic and members were able to vote by mail.

The new directors, who joined the board on July 27, are:

  • Barbara Hodgin comes to us from Sacramento. She earned her BA and MA in Linguistics at UC Riverside and has a CA K-12 Teaching Credential. Barbara has worked serving native youth and families of Alaska in several capacities, including 10 years as Grant Administrator and Local Government Specialist to the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs. She has served on many nonprofit boards, including Catholic Social Services (Alaska Diocese), Bishop Quinn Cottages, Pacific Crest Trail Association and Sierra Business Council. She is fluent in Spanish and has a hobby farm in the Shenandoah Valley, where she grows olives, fruit, and tomatoes. Her interests are backpacking, cooking, baking, bookbinding and fixing irrigation.
  • Larry Patterson lives in Ione. Larry earned his MS in Civil/Transportation Engineering from UC Berkeley and a BS in Civil Engineering from University of Texas at Arlington. Larry owned his own consulting engineering firm and provided traffic consulting services throughout northern California. He was the public works director for the City of San Mateo prior to becoming the City Manager. He served in different capacities for the City/County Engineers Association, the San Mateo County/City Managers Association, the South Bayside Waste Management Authority, the League of California Cities Housing/Economic Development and Communications/Transportation/Public Works Policy Committees and the League of California Cities Public Works Department. He was the recipient of the League’s James L. Martin Award in 2012.

Re-elected to the board was incumbent Foothill Conservancy board member Susan Bragstad and Board President Marta Johnson. The newly elected members will join incumbent directors Caryl Callsen, treasurer, MaryAnn Kelley, secretary, Marina Brand, and Amanda Bohl, vice president. Retiring from the board were Mara Feeney, Will Mosgrove, and Kelsi Williams. They have plans to continue to volunteer for the organization on special projects.

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Leslie Smith, Sutter Creek, CA: Raised in Washington State, Leslie is a happy California transplant having moved to Sunny Sutter Creek full time in 2020. As a nascent fly fisher and lifelong skier, she is committed to the natural environment and brings extensive organizational and finance experience to the board from a nearly 40 year career in banking.