Ryan Thoni is a biologist and educator. He completed his PhD in evolutionary biology and ecology from Saint Louis University in 2017, where he studied the biodiversity and evolution of Himalayan fish fauna. He has since returned to Plumas County to continue his passion for natural sciences and teaching. He is an associate faculty of the department of Environmental Studies at Feather River College, where he teaches classes wildlife diversity, field techniques, and environmental science. Additionally, Thoni still maintains active research projects in the mountains of Asia from Tajikistan to Bhutan. Despite his specialty in ichthyology, Thoni has worked on numerous projects spanning multiple fields of biology including fire ecology, botanical surveys, bird banding, carnivore trapping, various migratory waterfowl projects, freshwater mussel surveys and more. He Joined Plumas Audubon in the Spring of 2020. In his free time, he enjoys mushroom foraging, fishing, juggling, and hunting.
Elizabeth Ramsey moved to Plumas County from Southwestern Michigan in the Fall of 2017 to begin her education at Feather River College, where in 2019 she obtained her Associate degree in Environmental Studies and a Biological Field Technician Certification. While studying at FRC, she learned about an expansive array of topics pertaining to the environment and became fascinated by the Earth’s biodiversity and interconnectedness. She was the president of the Student Environmental Association at FRC and represented the student body on the Sustainability Action Team and Associated Students of FRC. In Spring of 2022, she will graduate from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, emphasizing in Ecology & Conservation Science and Media Production. Elizabeth joined the PAS team in 2019 as a Biological Field Technician and has since went on to become Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, and finally Operations Director and Project Manager for wildlife projects at PAS. Alongside the environmental humanities, Elizabeth is also passionate about indigenous studies and photography. She enjoys birding, hiking, reading, and cooking in her free time. One unique thing about Elizabeth is her participation in the local non-profit circus collective, Quircus, where she performs with a fire and LED hula-hoop and teaches classes.
Financial Administrative Assistant
Mandy is an explorer and lover of Plumas County. She earned her B.S. in International Agriculture Development from UC Davis and after a few seasonal positions around the West found herself in Plumas County in 2011. Since then she has explored Plumas County on foot, skis, bikes, over rocks, and even on an inflatable kayak from time to time. Mandy has 16 years working with nonprofits in both a field and admin capacity focusing on trails and forestry projects. Mandy is excited to support Plumas Audubon as a new staff member.
Field Crew Lead
While finishing her degree in Wildlife Conservation, Lauren “LJ” moved to Arizona from Massachusetts and was enamored with the wild landscapes she found in the west. After a season of fuels reduction in the national forests of Colorado, she came to Plumas county to pursue her primary passion of wildlife conservation and found it with Plumas Audubon Society! She spends her free time on the trails with her dogs, foraging & wildcrafting, and reading.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
I was born and raised in Pennsylvania but have lived in California most of my adult life. I have an undergraduate degree in International Relations and teaching credentials in English, social studies, and special education. My wife, Faith, and I met as VISTA volunteers on a project in South Carolina in the 1970’s. Quincy has been our home for over thirty years. Plumas County was a deliberate choice: we were attracted by its natural diversity and beauty and its relatively small human population. We are both teachers retired from PUSD. Our two sons graduated from QHS. While teaching, I was actively involved in coaching soccer and contract negotiating on behalf of the teachers’ union. I have been involved in various community organizations and efforts, especially since retiring. Responding to an appeal from PAS for new board members three years ago, I soon assumed the position of Board President. I believe PAS serves the county’s residents well, whether it be by fostering an appreciation of birds through outings, presentations, and classroom support, by conducting wildlife inventories or a festival to celebrate and protect grebes, or by coordinating large-scale habitat improvement for all living things. I am pleased to be able to work with such an ambitious and effective group. In my spare time I enjoy a number of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, travel, and gardening. When time allows, carving and woodworking are also of interest.
Kelby has been a resident of Plumas county for 15 years, all the while working as a Hydrologist and enjoying our incredible Sierra/Cascade landscape. Hobbies like hunting, fishing, and foraging are usually accompanied by a pair of binoculars to aid in bird identification along the way. He is a founding member of the Plumas Underburn Cooperative and is a proponent for continued efforts by this Audubon chapter to create and maintain defensible space for our wildlife and human communities ever-threatened by wildfire.
I have lived in Plumas County since 1989. Birds have been a lifelong interest, particularly with regard to the disturbing decline in avian population numbers and species diversity. I have served as a board Member of Plumas Audubon Society since August 2019, but have been a member of the National Audubon Society for over 40 years. As a board member, I co-ordinate Audubon’s participation in the Cal Trans Adopt-A-Highway program and serve on the Education Committee. I graduated from UCLA with degrees in History, Anthropology, and Geography-Ecosystems. Upon graduating from UCLA, I enrolled in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to secure teaching degrees in elementary and secondary education. Several years later I obtained a Master’s Degree in Education and Special Education and Resource Specialist teaching certificates at the same institution. Before beginning my career in teaching, I volunteered for VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). The project to which I was assigned, focused on community center development in low income neighborhoods. The program goal was to provide educational programs that would benefit the community. I taught for 34 years at all levels of education, 1st – Adult, including 22 years in special education. As a teacher at Quincy Elementary School, I sponsored an extra-curricular club commonly referred to as QEEC (Quincy Elementary Environmental Club) for 12 years. The goal of QEEC was to introduce students to endangered species, why they were endangered, and what we can do to help them. Students also engaged in fund raising activities to support groups who were fighting to save specific species threatened with extinction. I also organized Family Science Night for several years, and organized in-school Earth Day activities for students. As a PAS member, I wholeheartedly support Plumas Audubon’s involvement in habitat improvement projects, including making forests more fire resilient and conducting population studies as a means to help assess forest and fresh water health. I am deeply encouraged by the decision of the Plumas Unified School District to designate 5th grade as the “Year of the Bird” and the school district’s incorporation of the PAS generated PEEP (Plumas Environmental Education Program) curriculum into the general science curriculum.
Mitch Poling grew up in Michigan and attended Grand Valley State University. There, he studied natural resource management, with an emphasis on wildlife management and ecosystem restoration. After working a couple of seasons for the Forest Service in Baldwin, MI, he began seeking out wildlife work in the Sierras. After moving around to various places, a Northern goshawk surveyor position with the Plumas Audubon Society caught his attention. He moved here for the job, with his partner Jac and his dog Milo, and they pretty quickly became enamored with Plumas County. With its unique ecology and beauty, Mitch decided that this is where he wanted to work to promote the wellbeing of wildlife and the ecosystems that they reside in. While living here, he has done surveys for Northern goshawks, black-backed woodpeckers, California spotted owls, Sierra Nevada yellow legged frogs, willow flycatchers, and carnivores, as well as various habitat restoration and fire management efforts with the Forest Service.
When it's the off season for field work, he's oftentimes working in kitchens. If you've eaten at Pangaea, he has probably fed you. He has also worked at some notable restaurants in Grand Rapids, MI and Portland, OR. When he isn't doing field work or working in the kitchen, he enjoys a good hike, camping, birding, fishing, reading old sci-fi novels, playing guitar, experiencing new music, watching old cartoons, the occasional video game, and relaxing by the creek. Mitch's favorite bird is a hermit thrush!