Foothill Conservancy members elect three new directors, re-elect incumbent

Three new directors were elected and one incumbent re-elected to the Foothill Conservancy Board of Directors at the nonprofit conservation group’s annual membership meeting on Sunday, August 9. While the annual meeting is normally held at the Conservancy’s annual dinner, the Conservancy canceled that major fundraising event this year due to the pandemic. The meeting was held on Zoom and members unable to attend were able to vote by mail.

The new directors, who will formally join the board on August 27, include:

  • Amanda Bohl, a native of Ione who now lives in Sacramento. Bohl is the president of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy, past executive director of the Amador (now Mother Lode) Land Trust and special assistant for planning and science with the Delta Stewardship Council. She is an avid runner, swimmer, and backpacker and the mother of two children. Bohl holds a B.A. in International Studies from Southern Oregon University and an M.S. in Community Development from U.C. Davis.
  • Marina Brand of Jackson Valley, a retired biologist and environmental scientist. Brand is the former program manager of the state Delta Science Program, an assistant division chief at the State Lands Commission and former manager and scientist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. She has also been an environmental consultant and local government environmental planner. Brand is an avid equestrian and horse breeder who holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Biology.
  • MaryAnn Tierney Kelley of Pioneer, a retired Amador High School master teacher and co-owner of local retail business. Kelley is a volunteer with the Eldorado National Forest, a member of Amador County Homeless Task Force Outreach Committee and a volunteer with the West Point Community Garden. She is an avid backpacker and environmentalist and the mother of two adult children who has worked with parents, youth and community members for 30 years. Kelley holds a Geography and a teaching credential.

Re-elected to the board was incumbent Foothill Conservancy Treasurer Caryl Callsen of Pioneer. Callsen is a retired public-school business manager and personnel director, current president of Sacramento Call to Action and a Vision Council Member of National Call to Action; the former chair and a current member of the Amador Democratic Central Committee, the former president of the Amador Interfaith Council (Food Bank) and a former member of the Amador County Planning Commission. Callsen has two adult children and holds a Master’s in Public Administration.

From Executive Director, Sherry Pease, “I am thrilled to be welcoming our new board members who bring an abundance of experience, skills and passion for Foothill Conservancy’s mission to our organization. Transitioning leadership is challenging even in the best of times and I have confidence that our new board members, coupled with our incumbents and staff, will successfully continue our advocacy work keeping our towns small, trees tall and rivers wild.”

The newly elected members will join incumbent directors Susan Bragstad of Amador City, Kelsi Williams of Jackson, Mara Feeney of Fiddletown and Marta Brady-Johnson and Will Mosgrove of Mokelumne Hill on the Conservancy board. Retiring from the board this month are long-time directors R. Winston “Pete” Bell, Jr. and Katherine K. Evatt of Volcano, and Robert C. “Bob” Leitzell of Mokelumne Hill. They will continue to volunteer for the organization and are expected to serve on a new Advisory Board. Another member of that board is expected to be Martha Davis of Nicasio, who led the Mono Lake Committee in its successful campaign to save that iconic Sierra lake. A respected California water expert, Davis is the former executive manager of policy development at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency.

For more information, contact Sherry Pease at 209-223-3508 or

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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.