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.

Linda Chaiko-Lepley                                                                                                         Staff Naturalist                                                                                                             Linda has extensive experience working with children and adults of all ages having taught at the elementary, middle school, high school and community college level.  The outdoors has always been a major part of Linda’s life and is also one of the major reasons that she and her husband moved to Penn Valley from the S.F. Bay Area in 2015, so that they could be in the country, closer to nature, and enjoy the many outdoor activities offered in the area.  The move also allowed Linda the chance to work at the Placer Nature Center, an opportunity for which she is most appreciative because it allows her to combine her love of the outdoors with her love of teaching

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.

                   2018 Placer Nature Center                 Board of Directors

 Mary Weeks Board Member since Nov. 2017  (Chair beginning 2018)                                                                                                                         Affiliations: Mary has worked in education for the past 35 years beginning at the pre-school level to high school. She retired in 2014 after working for 15 years as a high school secretary for Placer Union High School District. Mary began volunteering at the Placer Nature Center in September 2014.  Mary enjoys learning from the students encountered while visiting the PNC. Beside the PNC Mary volunteers for various organizations including Project Linus. Mary enjoys sewing, work on crafts and gardening.

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.

Liz Pessaran, Board Member since September 2018    Affiliations: Liz is a school counselor in the community and is passionate about child development in our community. Liz is an active gardener and explorer. She loves hiking and camping and spending time in nature every chance she gets. Liz is especially passionate about the Placer Nature Center since she was born and raised right here in Auburn. She enjoys watching children and families connect and learn while having fun at the nature center.

Erin Riswold: Board member since December 2018                       Affiliations: Erin was born and raised in Meadow Vista and frequently visited the Placer Nature Center as a kid. After leaving the area for school, she has returned to her home town and is now a lawyer in Auburn. Erin loves the outdoors and wants to be part of connecting the community to nature. She hopes she can contribute to growing the Placer Nature Center so that it can have the same positive impact on others that it had on her.

Tim Riswold: Board member since December 2018                               Tim grew up in Newcastle, spending most of his time playing outdoors (or wanting to if he was in school). He left town for college and law school, then came back. Tim is proud to be a board member of the Placer Nature Center, an organization that values education and the great outdoors. When he is not outside, he works in Auburn as an attorney.”

Providing Environmental Education since 1991