Get outdoors and explore your river!
Years active: 27+
Their story: The Coastal Watershed’s vision is to transform the lower San Lorenzo River into a place where all Santa Cruzans can connect to nature in their daily lives. Through programs that inspire people to explore, enhance and protect the river, Coastal Watershed Council forges a greater connection between the community and this often-overlooked natural resource.
It’s a pivotal time at the Coastal Watershed Council. Soon, ground will break on one of our community's most significant riverfront developments. We’re working with local government, business owners, and the community to ensure changes are for the better, balancing ecology with a growing city. We’re in action to advocate for the people, plants, and animals that depend on the San Lorenzo River.
Past programs have included everything from neighborhood cleanups to guided walks along the 5-mile loop that connects the Tannery Arts Center to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, river-themed art installations, and working with youth through the Watershed Rangers education program.
Fundraising focus: The Coastal Watershed Council accepts donations to support programs such as:
- Engaging Youth & Families: Bringing youth together to explore the river, learn something new about it, and take action to preserve and protect it. Providing environmental education through leadership within the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Monterey Bay Environmental Education network.
- Community Education & Action: Empowering river neighbors with education and action for cleaner water and a healthier community.
Natural Resource Protection & Restoration: Engaging volunteers to remove invasive species and plant native species that protect the river’s edge and support local wildlife.
She’s been committed to the San Lorenzo River and the Coastal Watershed Council for over a decade, first joining the team in 2013, and in early 2022 she became Executive Director. She’s shaped strategy, launched trademark programs, forged deep and fruitful relationships with funders and decision-makers, and led staff through significant challenges. Laurie is drawn to this work because she believes that when people feel connected to nature, it strengthens them in countless ways.
Laurie holds a BA in Environmental Analysis from Harvey Mudd College. She has served on the board of directors at Board United Way Santa Cruz County and the City of Santa Cruz’s Climate Action Task Force. She was Santa Cruz County’s 2016 Emerging Leader of the Year. To learn more about the Coastal Watershed Council and Laurie’s passion for the river, reach out to join you for a chat or a stroll along the Santa Cruz Riverwalk.
(831) 464-9200 x101
Revitalizing the 2.5-mile urban river corridor in the heart of our city remains one of our most significant opportunities to increase access to nature and to steward a vital resource that provides for our entire community.