Foothill Conservancy welcomes new Executive Director Megan Fiske

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.


“Megan is a significant addition to the Foothill Conservancy staff,” Foothill Conservancy Board President Marta Johnson said. “Her environmental knowledge and organizational skills will build on the organization’s mission ‘to protect, restore and sustain the natural and human environment in Amador and Calaveras counties for the benefit of current and future generations’. Welcome, Megan!”

Conservancy Vice President Amanda Bohl said, “As a resident of Calaveras County, Megan brings a deep appreciation for and knowledge of Amador and Calaveras counties. We look forward to the attention and passion that Megan brings to keeping our trees tall, towns small, and rivers wild.”

Fiske graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in wildlife management and conservation.

“I grew up in Tuolumne County and learned to appreciate the beautiful natural resources of the Sierra Nevada while also experiencing the widely disparate views on how those resources should be treated in a rural county,”  Fiske said. “While attending the local community college, I took field courses exploring all the natural gems of California, from Lassen to Lake Tahoe to Death Valley. My professor recommended I apply for a job as a wildlife surveyor for the local Forest Service, and at 19 I worked the first of five seasons as a biological technician. I spent nights calling for Spotted Owl in the forest that had been my backyard all along but I never knew existed; I spent long days waist deep in streams surveying and mapping road crossings; I spent hours on my knees in wet meadows searching for rare ancient mosses and carnivorous plants. I learned so much about the flora and fauna of the Sierra Nevada, which instilled in me a deep love and passion to protect it.

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.

“I am honored and proud to be working for an organization with such a strong history of success in protecting the Mokelumne River and the surrounding watershed,” Fiske said.  “My love for the environment has only deepened as I have gained more knowledge and experience as a biologist and as an advocate. My passion and my desire to collaborate and work with others to find creative solutions is stronger than ever.”

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.

“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.

Fiske 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.

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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.