Our Board

NBC’s Board volunteer their time and expertise throughout the year to uphold the mission of the Newport Bay Conservancy and strategically direct the organization to fill that charge. Board Members are elected by our membership (volunteers who serve over 48 hours or more in the past year) each November at our annual meeting to serve two year terms and can be elected for a subsequent term. The Conservancy is always looking for passionate folks to sit on the Board. For more information on how you can become a Board Member, send us an email to info@newportbay.org.

Board Meetings are conducted on the fourth Wednesday each month (exc. Nov. & Dec.) from 5:30-7:00 p.m. via ZOOM. The public is welcome to attend. Please give us a call at 949-923-2269 or e-mail us for more details.

2022 Annual Report Presentation
2022 Operational Budget
2021 Annual Report Presentation
2020 Annual Report Presentation
NBC Bylaws (last rev. 2021)
Non-discrimination Policy
Unaudited Financial Statement FYE2020
Other Financial Reports posted to Guidestar.org

Cassandra Radcliff, President
Cassandra wrote the book Saving Upper Newport Bay: How Frank and Frances Robinson Fought to Preserve One of California’s Last Estuaries (2020). She is an Associate Acquisitions Editor at Walter Foster Publishing (an imprint of The Quarto Group), an art instruction book publisher founded in 1922 by Laguna Beach artist Walter T. Foster. Cassandra began volunteering with the Newport Bay Conservancy and OC Parks in 2014 after visiting the Bay for birdwatching. Now a Volunteer Naturalist (class of 2020), Cassandra is most passionate about trash cleanups, restoration, and birdwatching. In 2019 she was the recipient of a OneOC Spirit of Volunteerism Award and in 2020 was elected to the Newport Bay Conservancy Board of Directors. Serving as the Vice President and Community Outreach Committee Chair, Cassandra uses her expertise in writing and editing to help educate the public about the Bay, as well as acquire funds for the organization.

Julie Ferguson, Vice President 
Julie is a Teaching Professor in the Department of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. She holds a PhD in Earth Sciences from the University of Oxford. After moving to this area 10 years ago, she enjoys having good weather all year round to hike and enjoy the outdoors. Julie is currently chair of the Education Committee, interested in promoting educational opportunities in the Bay. She also aims to highlight the various research projects that are being carried out in the area, such as the spread of invasive species and the impacts of sea level rise.

Ramraghi Fuller, Treasurer
Ramraghi Fuller is a Private Banker Team Lead for a global financial services institution with expertise in wealth management for law firms and their attorneys. As a Team Lead, she is responsible for the banker team business strategy for legal markets in Beverly Hills, Orange County, and San Diego. She has twenty years experience as a financial advisor to legal markets in Orange County and San Diego. Ramraghi is involved in the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion and Mentorship Committees. As a nature enthusiast, Ramraghi personally understands the importance of protecting natural resources such as the Upper Newport Bay. She looks forward to volunteering in education programs to the public. Keeping our future generations informed about the relationship between humans and nature is essential in our mission to protect and preserve the Upper Newport Bay. Ramraghi is Chair of the Finance Committee and sits on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Susie Onate, Secretary
Susie Onate manages complex transactions for Pacific Life’s commercial mortgage loan portfolio line of business and is part of the leadership team that established Pacific Life’s Asian American and Pacific Islander resource group. Susie has worked in real estate for over 18 years and has over 25 years of experience working in law in Australia and the United States. She holds a degree in Finance from the University of Phoenix and a Paralegal Certificate from the University of San Diego. Her interest in protecting the environment started in her late 20’s when she became an avid mountain biker. As a Filipino Australian, she knew nothing about California and gained an appreciation for the diverse and beautiful landscape and how urban sprawl threatens it. She was pleased to find out during her time at Rutan & Tucker how local governments protect nature and wildlife through open space requirements. She gained a lot of knowledge reading environmental impact studies and entitlement documents and how undeveloped open spaces such as wetlands and parks protect the flora and fauna native to a specific area. Because the Upper Newport Bay is one of the very few remaining undeveloped wetlands in Orange County, she believes it is important to preserve the Bay to not only protect the native plants, birds, and other wildlife but also to protect the ocean from pollutants. Susie believes that as home prices soar, there is growing pressure to protect undeveloped spaces so educating people on the importance of preserving the wetlands is critical.

Derrick Ankerstar, OC Parks Representative
Derrick is one of the Orange County Parks Rangers assigned to the Peter and Mary Muth Center. He is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach. Derrick has been a full-time Park Ranger for the County of Orange since 2012 and served as a Reserve Ranger for OC Parks from 2010 until his appointment to full-time status in 2012. He is passionate about nature and its preservation and has maintained particular interest in the Newport Back Bay.

Kimberly Leue-Bick, Past President
Kimberly is the Founder and Managing Partner of a certified, woman-owned environmental law firm in Newport Beach California. She holds her Law degree from Stanford, MS in Civil Engineering and an undergraduate degree in Applied Earth Sciences. As part of her work, but also because of her own interest, Kimberly follows trends and emerging issues in the environmental field. The Back Bay is an important resource and she values and prioritizes restoring and protecting if for future generations of species and for our own well-being into the future. Kimberly’s background allows her to understand the issues that face the Back Bay. Being on the Board, she helps further the mission of the Conservancy and strengthen opportunities to educating our youth.

Peter Bryant, Past President
Peter Bryant’s interest and passion are in documenting, monitoring and preserving local biodiversity and ecosystems. He taught Biodiversity and Conservation for over 20 years at UCI. Peter specializes in photographing invertebrates, especially the more difficult ones including the smallest insects as well as various marine and aquatic species. He has a Masters’ degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Genetics, and he is now participating in an international effort to catalog biodiversity using DNA-based methods. This is Dr. Bryant’s second stint on the Board, serving for 6 years from 2012-2018, and NBC’s President in 2017-2018. Dr. Bryant also established a Research Committee which has organized an Annual World Wetlands Day Symposium annually since 2015.

Mario Cuevas
Mario Cuevas serves as a teacher at Lowell School in Santa Ana. He became involved with the Conservancy as a result of our FiiN program. Mario has been a teacher in the Santa Ana District for 26 years. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from National University. Mario was instrumental in developing a partnership between Coast Hill Church and Second Harvest of Orange County to provide meals to needy families at both the Lowell school site as well as the Madison Elementary school in Santa Ana. Mario views his service to protect Newport Bay as an honor and a privilege, and looks forward to opportunities to increase the Conservancy’s capacity of diversity, equity and inclusion for all. As an educator, he looks forward to working with the community at large, Board Members, County/City staff and all those who are unfamiliar with the diverse ecosystems the back bay offers.

Cesar Gallo
Cesar Gallo’s love for Upper Newport Bay began on a foggy morning, diary in hand, with an open mind and an open heart. It was then when he first penciled in the idea of getting involved and learning more about this enchanting place. Cesar started volunteering with NBC and later completed Naturalist Training in 2019. He is frequently seen sweeping kayak tours or leading trash cleanups. Seven plus years later, he now seeks to bring his years of filmmaking, marketing, networking and web development skills to service and further the mission of NBC. Cesar graduated with a BS in Computer Science and recently completed a Certificate in Public Employee Leadership Development from California State University, Fullerton. One of his main goals with the Conservancy is to recreate responsibly and expose people from all walks of life to a sanctuary where they can find what they were looking for within.

Susan Jarratt
Over a forty-year career as a teacher and writer, Susan Jarratt has taught high school, first-year college writing, undergraduate humanities courses, and graduate seminars in rhetoric.  She’s done lots of academic writing and is now trying her hand at environmental topics.  She began volunteering for NBC in the early 2000s and completed the naturalist course in 2018. Since then she has greeted visitors to the Muth Center, talked about birds for Friends Tour groups, and served on the Research and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committees. Susan has contributed “Ask-a-Naturalist” columns for the NBC website and currently organizes the DEI reading group. As a board member, she looks forward to contributing in many areas to the NBC mission.

Taylor Sais
Taylor Sais holds a B.A. Environmental Science from UC Irvine and M.S. Environmental Studies from Cal State Fullerton. He is currently employed by San Diego Gas & Electric and advises on infrastructure projects throughout South Orange County and San Diego County. Taylor has participated in multiple Newport Back Bay clean-up events as well as assisted the NBC Research Committee on numerous projects. Taylor chairs the Board Development Committee and is part of Marketing, Outreach and Advocacy Committee.

Saam Shams

Raised in Southern Orange County, Saam has spent much of his life exploring the natural wonders the region has to offer. He holds two Master’s degrees, one in Geotechnical Engineering from U.C. Berkeley and another in Geophysics from Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. He has a multi-disciplinary background, with a career as a Civil Engineer, currently employed by AECOM and formerly serving as a public servant for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, he has experience working on large waterway infrastructure projects as well as researching and working with Near-Surface Geophysical Methods. He also has a long history of volunteering for nature conservation efforts both in and outside of the country. His passion for restoring natural ecosystems and reducing human-caused ecological degradation has brought him to the board of NBC.

Stacey Tutt
Stacey L. Tutt moved to Southern California in 2018 to design the Consumer Law Clinic as visiting clinical Professor of Law at University of California Irvine. She’s now Senior Staff Attorney for the National Housing Law Project. Stacey quickly found NBC while on a kayak tour in 2019 and learned more about the Bay at World Wetlands Day. Stacey has always loved the outdoors, and can’t wait for her next hiking or camping adventure. She not only volunteers with NBC, but also volunteers with Irvine Ranch Conservancy. As Senior Staff Attorney and Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) Coordinator at the National Housing Law Project, Stacey works with legal aid attorneys, housing counselors, state-level HAF administrators and mortgage servicers to preserve and expand access to homeownership. Previously, she was at University of Illinois College of Law where she developed and directed the Community Preservation Clinic. Stacey has been active both in the academy and in practice; she has served as president of the Board of Directors for Illinois Legal Aid Online, and prior to teaching, she was managing attorney at Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. in Bloomington, Illinois. At the Conservancy, Stacey wants to promote and ensure access to the bay for everyone.

See Past Board Documents