Board & Staff 2017-02-11T13:55:25+00:00

Board Members

Richard Lucas
Richard LucasPresident
Richard joined the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center in 1989, shortly after its founding. He has been a Board member since 1993 and served as its President since 2009. His passion for nature is experienced through hiking, skiing, diving, river rafting, personal forestry, gardening, immersive travel to wild places, dancing in the woods and working with the amazing folks associated with MSBEC.

He has owned a local business, Shasta Visions and played music with SoundFarm Band and many others since 1987. His son grew up running in the wilderness around Mount Shasta.

lydia hobbs
lydia hobbsSecretary
lydia hobbs grew up in Santa Barbara, where she enjoyed engaging with nature on camping trips to the beach or hikes in the surrounding hills. The aftermath of the 1969 Chevron oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara was a formative experience for her as a teenager and from that point on she became an environmentalist.

Lydia began visiting Mount Shasta in the mid-1980s and moved up here in 1991. She has been involved with MSBEC since the late 1990s and became a board member in 2001. Since 2012 she has been a co-owner of Directions, a local boutique.

Looking at Mount Shasta and its beautiful surrounding landscapes inspires her on a daily basis to work towards protecting these natural wonders for future generations.

John Sanguinetti
John SanguinettiBoard Member
John grew up running wild in the orchards, fields and foothills of San Jose, California. His family camped every summer for at least four weeks, and he was involved in scouting and its many outings and camps. His mother interested him in birds and his dad in trout fishing.  He started river rafting on the Stanislaus in 1970 and has run most California rivers plus the Grand Canyon and part of the Zambezi in Africa.

John has spent a lot of time traveling and reading, still his favorite things to do. He is a fiscal and environmental conservative and a political progressive, and doesn’t think population growth solves anything. An electrician and contractor for 44 years. John has two daughters and 5 grandsons. The Mount Shasta area inspired John to live here for 26 years and he is wary of unplanned growth which is unlikely to make things better.

Andy Fusso
Andy FussoTreasurer
Andy’s focus is on advising organizations and entrepreneurs that make the world a better place. He has extensive strategic and financial management experience in entrepreneurial, corporate, nonprofit and public organizations. Andy also serves as CFO for Earthdance’s global network of peace events.

Starting a public career with the California Legislature and the University of California, he later moved to the private sector. He was part of the finance team that accomplished Dolby Laboratories’ initial public offering in 2005.  From 2003 to 2011, he owned the Jellyfish Gallery art and performance space in San Francisco’s SOMA area.

Andy holds an M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration) degree from the University of Southern California.

Fred Lewis
Fred LewisBoard Member
At the age of 21 Fred began managing a clothing store in Miami, and by age 29 he launched “London Britches” which grew to 19 stores within a year and 29 stores in two years, eventually manufacturing his own clothing as well. After selling that business he remodeled a 1902 Victorian hotel, “Healing Waters”.

He also became active in helping Navajo tribes from the Big Mountain area of Arizona preserve their land and rights from exploitation. In 1988 he purchased the Stoney Brook Inn in McCloud, and in 1990 founded Klamath Blue Green Algae Company.  In recent years, he developed a destination resort, “Astanga Yoga Centers” in Sri Lanka. In 2007 he was one of the initiators of Mount Shasta’s Community Garden in Shastice Park.

Our Founder

Michelle Berditschevsky
Michelle BerditschevskySenior Conservation Consultant
Ms. Berditschevsky, M.A., founded the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center (Ecology Center) in 1988 and served as its Executive Director for 23 years. She used her knowledge of environmental and cultural preservation policy and grassroots organizing to successfully lead the Save Mount Shasta campaign, and also worked on forest and watershed issues.

During her tenure the Center’s programs expanded to include the H.O.M.E. (Honor Our Mountain Environment) Stewardship Project, the Mount Shasta Community Garden, many educational events and celebrations, and other projects fostering a culture in harmony with nature. She was instrumental in gaining Historic District designations for Mount Shasta and the Medicine Lake Highlands and developed strong working relationships with Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, agencies at the local and federal levels, environmental groups and Native American Tribes.

She worked as Environmental Director for the Pit River Tribe for ten years, and as Executive Secretary of the Native Coalition for over a decade. She is now serving the Ecology Center as Senior Conservation Consultant, leading our work to save Medicine Lake Highlands and advising on the creation of a Regional Conservation Strategy.

Please take a moment to read Michelle’s life story, “Listening to the Mountain” here.


Angelina Cook
Angelina CookStewardship Coordinator
Throughout 2014 Angelina led MSBEC’s effort to create the climate adaptation plan called “Renew Siskiyou”. Developed with guidance and funding from the Climate Solutions University and the Model Forest Policy Project its purpose is to help our region to prepare for the inevitable, and to prevent the avoidable, impacts of climate change.

After receiving a Master’s degree in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2004, Angelina moved to Mount Shasta, focusing on her passion for rebalancing human economy and planet ecology. An environmental advocate and eco-entrepreneur, Angelina has advanced multiple stewardship efforts in the region, previously serving as lead instructor for the Sustainable Communities program at College of the Siskiyous.

Currently, Angelina also represents the McCloud Watershed Council in the Upper Sacramento Regional Water Management Group, serves as President for the Great Exchange – Mountain Community Thrift Center, teaches yoga and facilitates health support groups through Vital Options – Preventative Healthcare Program in cooperation with the McCloud Healthcare Clinic. Angelina resides in McCloud with her son, Rio.

Courtney Laverty
Courtney LavertyAdministrative Director
Ms. Laverty is the hub of MSBEC’s wheel as she brings her organizational, project and financial management skills to the organization, and also coordinates the HOME project. She has previously worked as a Children’s Librarian and Early Childhood Educator. As an outdoor enthusiast, she seeks to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy all that nature has to offer.

Courtney has a B.A. in Psychology from Providence College.

Phoenix Lawhon Isler
Phoenix Lawhon IslerProgram Director
Phoenix Lawhon Isler, PhD is an experienced environmental researcher and policy analyst with a wealth of knowledge in environmental policy, sustainability, water management, and conservation.  She has conducted in-depth interdisciplinary research on water issues in Israel and Australia, focusing on decision-making processes for treated wastewater recycling and drought policy responses. She has also worked on adaptive management planning for protected wetlands in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin, and taught various university courses on sustainability, environmental policy.

She began working with Mount Shasta Ecology in late 2014, helping with preparation of the Climate Adaptation Plan. In June 2015 she started working as Program Director, helping make sure that things run smoothly, developing new activities, and getting the word out about our work.

In 2012, Phoenix received her PhD in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.