Scott Culbertson - Executive Director
Scott started his career at Unilever and later worked at Activision, Mediacentrix and a start-up or two. A self-proclaimed "intrepreneur," he has experience working in finance, brand management, and entertainment.
But it was his passion for children and education, as well as the environment, science and technology that led him to working with nonprofits. It was at the Los Angeles inner-city agency A Place Called Home where, for more than 10 years, Culbertson was dedicated to supporting and helping provide opportunities for youth living and growing up in one of the most challenging zip codes in Los Angeles.
"I am honored to serve this remarkable organization that changed the fate of an environmental gem. Today more than ever, the Ballona Wetlands, like so many other important ecological sites, faces many challenges and an uncertain future. I strongly believe we have an obligation to continue the important work that was started 40 years ago at Friends of Ballona Wetlands. With a dedicated and knowledgeable staff, an engaged and supportive board, steadfast partners, and the community’s support, I look forward to helping sustain this urban oasis."
Carolyn Everhart - Manager of Environmental Education
Carolyn oversees school field trips for pre-kindergarten through 8th grade along with Ballona Discovery Nature Camp in the spring and summer.
When not in the field leading tours, she is working to create school tours to support state standards, including Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Having worked locally in the Santa Monica Mountains before joining the Friends of Ballona Wetlands team, Carolyn enjoys seeing how the mountains are tied to the wetlands and ocean through the watershed.
Carolyn is a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) through the National Association for Interpretation, a Project WET and Project Learning Tree trainer and facilitator, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Neysa Frechette - Manager of Scientific Programs
Neysa has always had a passion for the environment. She graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. At college, Neysa discovered her fondness for birds and wetlands, and their importance in local urban ecosystems. Seeking to share this passion with others and to expand on it through biological research, Neysa came to work with Friends of Ballona Wetlands (FBW). This non-profit achieves the perfect balance between protecting wetlands, educating the public, and promoting wildlife appreciation and understanding.
After working with FBW for over a year, Neysa found herself wanting to learn more about wildlife and natural resources. This knowledge and experience could be used to strengthen educational and environmental programs at FBW. To accomplish this, Neysa is now pursuing a Master of Natural Resources Degree from Oregon State University, with an emphasis in Wildlife Management. Through this program, and the partnership with local Environmental Scientist, Dr. Edith Read, Neysa has done research in the Ballona Freshwater Marsh studying maintenance impacts on nesting wetland birds. Dr. Read and Neysa are seeking a deeper understanding of how to manage for nesting bird habitat and health, while meeting the human needs of the manmade wetland system.
As the Field Biologist for Friends of Ballona Wetlands, Neysa hopes to promote endangered and sensitive species habitat protection and restoration, while educating the public about the importance of nature, especially in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles.
Dani Hsia - Office Administrator and Volunteer Coordinator
Dani wears several hats around the office: administrator, bookkeeper, volunteer coordinator, and occasional nature guide.
While studying cellular biology and physiology at Cal State University Long Beach, her love for numbers and spreadsheets drew her to bookkeeping and accounting. After nearly ten years in the private sector, she joined the Friends in 2017. Intent on creating more opportunities for the community to connect with nature, she is currently helping to expand the volunteer, internship, and docent programs.
In her free time, Dani enjoys hiking, camping, and rock climbing. She frequently volunteers for local causes and also raises and trains service dogs for the blind. One of her trainees, River, shares the spotlight with FBW staff in the picture above.
Patrick Tyrrell - Manager of Habitat Restoration and Upper Education
Patrick grew up in Playa del Rey, CA, with the Ballona Wetlands right in his backyard, inspiring a life-long appreciation of and passion for wetlands and wildlife. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, a city where the natural and built environments blend and merge almost seamlessly.
Upon returning to Los Angeles, Patrick began his career working in the environmental non-profit world with Heal the Bay, where he was the Coastal Cleanup Day coordinator, successfully implementing over 50 clean-up sites throughout Los Angeles County for the annual Coastal Cleanup Day volunteer event.
Since joining Friends of Ballona Wetlands, Patrick has continued the Friend’s critical work to restore Ballona's coastal sand dunes while managing and growing the educational programs for high school, university, and the general public. From the tiny El Segundo Blue Butterflies to the majestic Great Blue Herons, the rich diversity of wildlife at Ballona never ceases to amaze Patrick.
Ammy Rojas - Office Assistant
Ammy has interned with the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands since her junior year of high school. Having volunteered for restoration events, creek clean-ups, and spring/summer camp with the Friends, she is now enjoying her new role as Office Assistant. Studying at Loyola Marymount University, she is pursuing a major in Liberal Studies with a concentration in science, specifically environmental. In her free time, she enjoys theatre and performs in musicals and acapella groups. She also works at LMU's Children Center as a caregiver.