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About Us

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Louise Thornton
is an estate planner who moved to Laguna Beach in 2003 from Ventura County where she resided for over 20 years. She formed her own living trust/estate preservation business in 1994 after more than 25 years in the insurance industry. Louise, who grew up along California's central coast, is a graduate of Pitzer College where she has remained active in college and alumni affairs. She currently enjoys swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving and is a Tidewater Docent.

Ed Almanza
is a professional environmental planner with special interest in the conservation of natural resources. His professional work focuses on implementing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the science of habitat management. He has authored dozens of environmental documents for local municipalities in Orange County. Mr. Almanza has a strong interest in the role of science in public policy formation, particularly in the area of natural resource conservation. He was instrumental in developing a scientific research program to support long-term management of multi-species preserves for the Natural Communities Conservation Program (NCCP). He is Laguna Ocean Foundation’s project manager for the Aliso Creek Estuary Restoration Project and coordinates the Laguna Coast Shorebird Survey. Mr. Almanza earned a Master’s Degree in Geography at UCSB with a thesis that analyzed methods for monitoring water quality of Mono Lake, California. A native southern Californian, Mr. Almanza first moved to Laguna Beach in 1971.

Candice Burroughs
Candice is a 30+ year resident of the Laguna Beach area and is currently a real estate professional with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Realty. She is also a Certified Meeting Professional with extensive experience in the hospitality industry. She has had many opportunities to serve the community on both the local and regional level where she shares her passion for ocean, seniors, and the arts. She has been a student of gerontology and has been involved in the development of senior and affordable housing projects as well as many educational events for seniors and their families. Candice is the mother of two adult children and in her free time enjoys being on or in the water.

Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson is the Southern California Director for the Conservation Fund, a national land conservation organization whose Southern California office is located in Laguna Beach. In his professional career he has been involved in conservation issues throughout California and has worked for more than 25 years with several well-known conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy, The Planning and Conservation League, The Trust for Public Land and in his current position with the Conservation Fund. A third generation native southern Californian and a 30 year resident of Laguna Beach he has long been actively involved in the efforts to establish and manage the Laguna Greenbelt and currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Laguna Canyon Foundation. An avid body surfer, diver, and kayaker he has a deep interest in marine wildlife and conservation issues. Scott Ferguson has a BA from UC Irvine in Social Ecology and a Masters from Cal Poly Pomona in Urban and Regional Planning.

Dr. Jayson Smith
Dr. Jayson Smith is a marine and conservation ecologist employed as an assistant professor in the Biological Sciences Department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His research focuses on anthropogenic disturbances on ecosystem functioning and community structure of coastal habitats. Given the high population of humans in southern California, urban coastal ecosystems are subjected to numerous human impacts. Work in Smith's lab attempts to understand how these systems are changing and functioning in the face of these disturbances. Smith applies his conservation interests mostly to rocky intertidal ecosystems, focusing on invasive seaweeds; effects of human visitation; long-term change in community structure and dynamics; effects of climate change; restoration ecology, and environmental policy and management (such as Marine Protected Areas). The research questions addressed have implication in policy making decisions, particularly with current emphasis being placed on Ecosystem Based Management. Recently, research focus has been placed on introduced seaweeds, including determining their impact on community structure, how they fit into native food webs, and examination of transport vectors.

Sean Vogt
Sean Vogt is a coastal marine ecologist employed by the City of Dana Point to manage its State Marine Conservation Area and the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area. His past research focused on non-native seaweeds and how these invaders potentially affected native food web dynamics. In addition, he has been involved in local research projects that addressed stable isotopes in food webs, species restoration feasibility, and how humans impact coastal marine ecosystems (both short and long term). Lastly, Mr. Vogt worked as a wildlife biologist for several years with a local biological consulting company performing rare plant and animal surveys in a variety of ecosystems throughout California.

Morgan Lamb
more info coming soon

Joan Mounteer
Joan Mounteer graduated from UCLA with a degree in French and earned her law degree at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. She is a retired appellate attorney and adjunct faculty member of the University of Colorado School of Law at Boulder. Joan combined her passion for swimming by serving as assistant coach on the Caltech Masters Swim Team and by competitive ocean swimming. In retirement, Joan volunteered as a tidewater docent and now devotes much of her time to classical guitar studies, fitness swimming and walking Trudi the Weimaraner.

Robin Zur Schmiede
Robin Zur Schmiede is an attorney with over 20 years of experience in municipal administrative and regulatory law practice with an emphasis on land use and environmental law. She was Assistant City Attorney and later City Attorney for the City of Newport Beach from 1989-2008. A 32 year Laguna Beach resident, Zur Schmiede is an active and enthusiastic tidepool docent, and recently stepped down after serving 6 years on the City's Design Review Board.

Mike Stice
Mike Stice is the Director of Communications at Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD). He has maintained a post as a part-time Liberal Arts faculty member and Writing Lab Director at LCAD since the fall semester 2000 and worked in several different capacities at Laguna Art Museum for over twenty years between 1990 and 2012. A native of Southern California, Stice worked at SURFING Magazine as an Art Assistant in the late eighties and early nineties. In 1998, Stice graduated cum laude from University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where he served as the Student Director of UCSD’s Language and Cognition Lab while earning a B.A. in Linguistics with a Specialization in Language and Mind. His graduate studies in English were at University of California, Irvine (UCI). Stice is the author of Wolfgang Bloch: The Colors of Coincidence (Chronicle Books, 2008). His writing has appeared in the pages of Juxtapoz, The Surfer’s Journal, Surfer Magazine, Surfer’s Path, Surfer’s Mind, Surfline, The Inertia, Saatchi, Glide, Laguna Art Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Riviera Magazine, OC In-Room Magazine, and more. Stice is the creator, writer, editor and producer of “College. Art. Radio.” a weekly, hour-long radio program on KX935FM.