Our Mission

Our Vision

As the Conservation Partner of Newport Banning Ranch, the Newport Banning Land Trust will conserve and steward the natural open space preserve for the benefit of native species, and for the enjoyment by the public.

Through an innovative land use and conservation project, NBR is establishing an approximately 320 acre nature reserve.  NBLT will steward and conserve the natural land and native species while providing the public an opportunity to enjoy and learn about natural Orange County.

 

Newport Banning Land Trust was created as the community-based partner that will manage the  320 acre natural open space as a result of the Newport Banning Ranch Project.  Following the cleanup and restoration of the site, we will actively manage and preserve the site in perpetuity and host environmental, educational and volunteer activities.

 

NBLT has an established relationship with the Land Trust Alliance and the California Council of Land Trusts which will guide our policies and procedures and the full range of activities for a land trust.

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  • Graham Chisholm

    Alter Ego: California Gnatcatcher

     

    As a relentless mover and conservationist Graham is a leading force when it comes to protecting land. As the Gnatcatcher is a solitary creature it likes to join the flock to make big moves. Graham is no stranger to this as he flew into many critical executive positions with The Nature Conservancy and Audubon. When hes not getting cozy in coastal sage scrub he can be found consulting on water rights for ecosystem benefits here in California and Nevada, or immersing himself in conservation projects.

     

    Mantra: The earth is what we all have in common

    Favorite Artist: Michelangelo

    Personality Traits: Compassionate, Scientific, Empathetic, Bird Lover

     

     

    Theme Song

  • Doug Peterson

    Alter Ego: Long-Eared Owl

     

    Our fine feathered friend Doug is gifted with a passion to fly low to the ground much like the Long-Eared Owl glides on the hunt. Driven by movement of the outdoors his engagement is with trails, public access, and 30 years of active bicycling. You wont find him nesting much but most likely studying the Santa Ana River Trail and points of access as it relates to safety and environmental responsibility.

     

    Mantra: Life is short so live it

    Favorite Movie: Endless Summer

    Personality Traits: Good Health, Good Food, and Good Times

    Theme Song

  • Betsy Lake

    Alter Ego: Northern Harrier

     

    As a leading environmental attorney in California, Betsy hails from the northern portion of our state, but similar to the harrier, likes to migrate to more southerly areas in winter.  Her hawk-like keen eyesight (and insight) into the California landscape, has been honed over her past nearly 20 years of practicing environmental and land use law in California. She is a partner at Holland & Knight in San Francisco. In her free time, she is also a tireless advocate for State Parks and has been a Board Member of the California State Parks Foundation for over 15 years.  To help preserve her alter ego, Betsy is committed to smart development and preserving soaring open spaces.

     

    Mantra: Focus on what matters

    Favorite Artist(s): Christo and Jeanne-Claude

    Personality Traits: Enthusiastic, Disciplined, Positive, Committed

  • Stephanie Marguia

    Stephanie Murguia has been in education administration, management and admissions since completing her Masters degree at the University of San Diego in 1997.  Over the past two decades she has served as Registrar at Cypress College, Registrar at Orange Coast College, Director of Admissions and Records at Riverside City College and since 2001 she’s been with Cerritos College where she is now Dean of Admissions and Records.

     

    A native southern Californian and 15-year resident of Newport Beach, Stephanie serves on the Lobsterfest at Newport Beach Foundation Board, has been on the City of Newport Beach Library Board of Trustees and ​she is a three-term past Chair of Leadership Tomorrow.  She is currently completing an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University.

  • Barry Nerhus

    Alter Ego: Sea Turtle

     

    Barry Nerhus is the founder and senior biologist of Endemic Environmental Services, Inc. Barry graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a M.S. in Biology and has 7 years of experience working in environmental consulting. Barry specializes in herpetology and has extensive experience working with and studying Southern California's native pond turtle, the southwestern pond turtle. He is also trained and skilled in wildlife surveys, habitat restoration, habitat assessments, and wetland delineation.Barry can perform numerous federal endangered species surveys including california gnatcatcher, light-footed clapper rail, arroyo toad, desert tortoise, and least bell’s vireo surveys.

     

Created in 2013, to bring leaders in relevant fields to advise the NBLT as it pursues it’s mission stewarding the natural open space at the Newport Banning Ranch.

 

In April 2014, the Newport Banning Land Trust established a Finance Committee to make recommendations on financial policies and procedures in order to ensure that the Land Trust meets the high standards for a non-profit charity.  The finance committee meets quarterly ensures that Land Trust Alliance policies and procedures are adopted and followed by the Land Trust.

  • Bring current scientific information and relevant conservation and community knowledge to guide the conservation, restoration stewardship and public access planning and implementation.

 

  • Incorporate the experience of science, environmental, educational and community leaders to advise on all aspects of the NBLT operation

 

  • Bring a wide range of perspectives and skills including those with specialized expertise

 

 

Advisory Board

Finance Committee

  • George Basye - Chairman

    Alter Ego: Great Blue Heron

     

    It's Management, planning, entitlement, and disposition that is responsible for George's professional qualities and is much like his alter egos flexibility to nest in colonies and work efficiently at many levels. His ability to hunt day and night with optimum vision is a key factor in his success in the management of more than 4000 acres in Orange and Los Angeles counties. His nest is in Yorba Linda but he considers the marsh land his home.

     

    Mantra: Trust your guts

    Favorite Pastime: Cardinal watching (yep the baseball team)

    Personality Traits: Leader, Engaging, Content, Ready to Move Forward

     

     

    Theme Song

Every success story begins with a challenge overcome by individuals who are inspired to act for the greater good to influence collectively. The Newport Banning Land Trust core values are represented by the aspirations and drive of its board members, friends and sponsors.

Board Members

Inspired to Act

  • John Oliver

    Alter Ego: Side Blotched Lizard

     

    Out of the 3 color variety's of the Side Blotched Lizard, John finds himself most comparable to the defining qualities of the orange. As the president of a reputable award winning engineering company he shares the strength and dominant nature of his counter part, defending territories that he claims for success. With over 25 years of experience in civil engineering, sustainability, survey and mapping John's 360 degree view is his greatest asset.

     

    Mantra: Well done is better than well said

    Favorite Artist: Leonardo Da Vinci

    Personality Traits: Brainiac, Loyal, Dedicated, Fit for Life

     

    Theme Song

  • Byron de Arakal

    Alter Ego: Baja California Tree Frog

     

    As communication has trademarked the infamous cricket of the billowing Tree Frog, Byron has branded himself much as his alter ego; a master of communications. At a ripe age of 21 he launched his journalism career and became the youngest executive editor of Orange Coast Magazine! Since then he's crafted a multi-level practice in marketing communications, public and government affairs, corporate communications, media relations and issues management. Like the territorial nature of the Tree Frog, Byron is too when it comes to issues he stands by, so come prepared.

     

    Mantra: I can't sing...

    doesn't mean I wont.

    Favorite Movie: The Big Lebowski

    Personality Traits: Creative, Thinker,  Advocate, Good Listener

     

    Theme Song

  • Philip Bettencourt - Secretary

    Alter Ego: Green Winged Teal

     

    As the Green Winged Teal fly in a tight group formation Philip's key characteristic is working closely with his team at hand. His diverse background in public affairs, government entitlement, stewardship and feasibility analysis keeps him active and agile. Philip is no stranger to marsh and estuary environments considering his civic affiliations with the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and the Land Trust Alliance.

     

    Mantra: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken

    Favorite Artist: Jackson Pollock

    Personality Traits: Analytical, Outspoken, Chess Master

     

     

    Theme Song

  • Kate Klimow - Board President

    Alter Ego: Osprey

     

    As the Osprey's innate nature is to patrol and apply cunning strategy to the hunt, Kate relies on her broad-based business perspective in both public and private sectors that earns her respect. Born in Phoenix, educated in New York and nesting in Costa Mesa her migration and adaptation skill will make even the most adventurous Osprey envious. You are likely to spot Kate tending to her nest at UCI as Assistant Vice Chancellor Community and Government Relations.

     

    Mantra: Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures

    Favorite Composer: Beethoven

    Personality Traits: Grounded, Wise, Caring, Believer, Actress

     

     

    Theme Song

  • Neil Brandom - Treasurer

    Alter Ego: Coyote

     

    Since Neil has been a pup and strayed from his den, his journey has fostered a successful blend of talents including: engineering, land development, management, entitlement and infrastructure. At top running speed of 40 mph, Neil is responsible for day-to-day management of an expanding portfolio of real estate assets, looking over his pack and serves on the board of a parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a national non-profit.

     

    http://coalitionduchenne.org

     

    Mantra: Enjoy the little things in life

    Favorite Artist: Picasso

    Personality Traits: Compassionate, Leader, Outdoor Enthusiast, Runner

     

     

    Theme Song

Check me out

  • Robyn Vettraino - Executive Director

    Alter Ego: Great Egret

     

    Much like her alter ego Robyn's passion can be simplified into grace and elegance. Her extensive background in environmental stewardship and outdoor lifestyle allows her the compassion to inspire others with hopes to make our world a better place; more blue sky; cleaner water; and a place to run free.

     

    Mantra: Live and let live

    Favorite Architect: Frank O. Gehry

    Personality Traits: Compassionate, Leader, Empathetic, Nature Lover

     

     

    Theme Song

Clean, Restore, and Open Newport Banning Ranch.

Newport Banning Ranch deserves a real solution. Let’s clean, restore, and open it for the environment and for our community.

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© Newport Banning Land Trust