Staff and Board of Directors

Dave Matthews
Executive Director
Dave Matthews began working in the parks and recreation field in 1985, serving with the National Park Service for four seasons and worked as a ranger, supervisor and superintendent for the California State Parks for 27 years. Graduated from California State University, Chico with a BA in Recreation Administration, Parks and Resource Management.

Retiring in 2014 moved to Grass Valley and began working at the Placer Nature Center in January 2017.

Mariana Gorceac                                                                                                 Programs Assistant                                                                                                    Employment Date May 2017, Mariana currently attends Sierra College. She is pursuing a Bachelors degree in environmental science, and has A.S degrees in biology, natural science and environmental studies. She enjoys spending most of her outdoors. Her hobbies include hiking, swimming, camping and rock climbing.

Barbara Leak
Barbara is an experienced and outstanding bookkeeper who works with the Foothills Farmers Market and other clients. She brings her positive attitude and team spirit as well as her efficiency and attention to detail to her role as bookkeeper for Placer Nature Center.


                   2017 Placer Nature Center                 Board of Directors

 Richard Huntley, Board member since 2014 (President beginning 2015)                                                                                                                       Affiliations:  Richard is retired from Pacific Telephone and a former US Navy man. He currently resides in Auburn, CA where he has dedicated his time to give back to the community. He currently sits on the Board of Telephone Pioneers, Auburn Garden Club, and Clown Alley of Sacramento. He is also a Master Gardener with Placer County Master Gardeners where he is the current composting co-chair. His hobbies include: gardening, teaching, traveling, and repairing “Talking Books for the Blind”. He joined the Board to help facilitate connections with the local community.

Neeshant Desai, Board member since 2010 (Secretary beginning 2014)                                                                                                                 Affiliations:  Neeshant is a software engineer for Hewlett Packard in Roseville, CA.  He has a special interest in the outdoors being an avid fisherman but also on the Placer Nature Center because he has watched it grow into the community resource that it is since his youth.  He has interest in its continued growth and reach into the community.

Linda Desai, Board Member since August 2016, (Treasurer beginning March 2017)                                                                          Affiliations:  Linda is an instructor at Sierra College and the former Education Director of the Placer Nature Center and one of its founding members.

Josena Allieo, Board Member since 2016.                                  Affiliations: Josena is an instructor with Early Head Start program and was the staff naturalist for the Placer Nature Center over eight years. She has studied the natural sciences for many years and works to blend her love of the outdoors in her lesson plans in hopes of growing more earth stewards.

 Joe McInerney, JD, Board Member since March 2017, Deputy District Attorney Placer County California.                                Affiliations: Joe is a Litigator/Senior Counsel with the Placer County District Attorney’s office. Joe is licensed to practice through the State Bar of California, California Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court.  Joe enjoys hiking, golf tennis and biking


Providing Environmental Education since 1991