Meet the Team!
Meet our environmental leaders! These dedicated individuals help run every facet of our program. Each are incredibly talented and passionate about the environment and work hard to teach and lead local communities in the restoration of our sites in the Newport Bay. Their leadership activities include coordination of volunteers, planning and preparing restoration events and offering educational programs to the public and school groups. We recruit from Chapman University, Saddleback College, and the UCI Center for Environmental Biology. Click on an image to learn more about our amazing environmental leaders!
Hi, I’m Matt Yurko. I am the Restoration Education Program Manager for the California Coastal Commission's Community-Based Restoration and Education Program and have been with the program since 2005. I train and supervise a core group of Environmental Leaders whom I depend on for the program’s success. I coordinate the plant and wildlife monitoring efforts as well as our plant nursery where volunteers propagate native plants for use in the restoration sites. I have a BS in Biology from Loyola University Maryland and a MS in Environmental Education from Lesley University. I enjoy sharing nature with everyone I meet and I think Orange County is an excellent place for appreciating the natural world. I especially enjoy watching my daughter grow in her own interest in wildlife, especially marine organisms. Since 2012, I have been an Associate Faculty at Saddleback College where I teach courses in Ecological Restoration Techniques and Environmental Studies. I have also taught an Ecosystem Ecology Lab at Chapman University.
Hi! My name is Michaela Montgomery and I am currently a junior Environmental Science and Policy major with an emphasis in Ecology and a minor in Psychology at Chapman University. I have lived in southern California all of my life and truly been able experience the kinds of environments. It has been surreal being able to be an hour drive from the beach, mountains, and desert. Being able to witness all of these different environments has greatly influenced me in my studies and life in general. Due to this, I hope to go into Environmental Education so I can share my love and passion about the beauty of nature and inspire future generations to also recognize and appreciate its beauty.
Hello! My name is Anna Bergland and I am a Junior at Chapman University, pursuing a major in Environmental Science and Policy with a focus in Ecology. I am extremely passionate about protecting the natural world and I believe the most effective way to make a change is through education, teaching and inspiring others to help our surrounding environment. I would love to lead youth outdoor leadership trips in the future, be a park ranger for the national park service, and explore field work anywhere outside, preferably by the ocean!
Hi! My name is Kelsey Albarian, and I'm a third-year Environmental Science major at Chapman University. I've been extremely curious about nature since I was young, but growing up in the LA suburbs never satisfied that curiosity. Now, I finally get to pursue that passion by working for Project Grow! Here at Project Grow, I'm able to get my hands dirty and work in the natural environment like I've always dreamed of doing!
Hey!! My name is Jesse Galvez and I am currently a Senior at Chapman University majoring in Environmental Science and Policy! My emphasis is in Policy and I am very interested in either becoming a environmental consultant for a local firm in southern california or to also work in the growing field of sustainable fashion. As a child I was always curious about the planet and the way nature worked and decided that this is something that I want to learn more about. Being a native to SoCal my goal is to be able to help educate the general public on the importance of being sustainable and how being green can be easy and fun.
Hi! My name is Daisy Torres and I'm from Lakeville, Connecticut. I'm currently a junior at Chapman University studying Environmental Science & Policy with an emphasis in ecology. Growing up in an area with so many lakes, forests, and state parks helped me discover my love for nature and my desire to study environmental science. I am particularly interested in wildlife conservation and ecological restoration, and I plan on contributing to these efforts throughout my career. By working in restoration, I hope to protect the environment from threats imposed by human activities and to preserve nature's beauty for the benefit of future generations.
My name is Gigi Vujovich and I’m from Shoreline, Washington. I'm into plants and agriculture and the Newport Back Bay. Along with spending my Wednesdays doing some hardcore restoration, I study environmental science and policy at Chapman University, work in a hagfish lab, and waitress on the side. The Newport Back Bay has helped me appreciate the beauty of native California and I'm grateful to be able to give back to it.