Board of Directors
Board of Directors
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Russ started with Prescott Creeks as a volunteer for the Creek Observation Guide after completing a 10 week Master Watershed Steward course with the University of Arizona Yavapai County Cooperative Extension. He originally joined the Prescott Creeks Board of Directors in March of 2007, left in 2012, and returned in 2014. With a background in accounting, finance, and planning, Russ brings many needed skills to Prescott Creeks. Russ has remained an active volunteer monitoring groundwater levels in Watson Woods Riparian Preserve and chairing Prescott Creeks Finance Committee. Russ enjoys any creek that provides opportunities to hike or mountain bike.
“I joined Prescott Creeks Board because I was impressed by its commitment to fixing a damaged riparian area in Prescott. During my time as a member, Prescott Creeks prepared a restoration plan for Watson Woods Riparian Preserve and completed the work in that plan. Now, a new plan for the next phase of work will be ready soon and I look forward to working on those improvements.”
For the past 25 years, Sandy Moss has been an award-winning newspaper and AP journalist, a broadcaster with Arizona Hometown Radio Group, and the host of KAZ-TV’s Sandy and Friends daily statewide talk show. A writer and author, her book, The Terrible Loyalty, was published in 2012. In addition to her efforts with Prescott Creeks to preserve local water resources and soul-feeding wild areas, Sandy is a Docent with Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, visits the ill and elderly with her certified Therapy Dog, Bogey, and strives to be a link in connecting the community of people who make Prescott and northern Arizona the wonderful, vibrant place it is.
“I spent my career in media: newspaper, radio, and television, where I was often able to pamper my passion for non-profits by providing them a forum for publicity and support. Now that I am retired, I can personally support some of them with my time and resources. I chose to volunteer with Prescott Creeks because I believe in their mission of protecting and restoring the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve; healthy watersheds and clean waters in central Arizona; as well as educating people on the necessity and value of our wild expanses.”
Kristy joined the Prescott Creeks Board of Directors in March of 2020 after becoming acquainted with the organization through efforts to revitalize Granite Creek in the downtown and through the Granite Creek Cleanup. Kristy currently oversees all of Mandalay Homes’ community outreach initiatives working closely with local non-profit organizations to help enrich the community on behalf of Mandalay Homes. Currently, Kristy serves on the Mayor’s Commission for Well-Being for the City of Prescott and chairs the Granite Creek Revitalization Committee. Kristy’s passion for the environment and the community serves her well in this position and in driving Mandalay to be one of the country’s most environmentally conscious new home builders. Kristy joined Mandalay Homes in 2004 and has had a positive impact on various departments within the organization, working closely with accounting, human resources, customer care, and most recently, the interior design and completion of Mandalay’s model homes. Prior to joining Mandalay Homes, Kristy spent 8 years serving as both a full-time and part-time member of the Arizona Army National Guard. Kristy began her military career as a medic and transitioned into homeland security. Kristy then became the Homeland Security Grant Manager for the Arizona Department of Emergency Management. She was also a committee member for the State of Arizona’s Technical Standards Committee advising Arizona’s police and fire departments on various homeland security prevention tactics. Kristy was born and raised in Arizona and currently resides in Prescott, Arizona with her husband Dave and their five children.
Bruce D. McKeeman retired in 2006 after 36 years with the National Park Service including 26 years in law enforcement and emergency services and 10 years in management. Mr. McKeeman was born and raised in Massachusetts and Ohio. He graduated from Marietta College, Ohio with a Bachelors degree in Biology and from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources with a Bachelors degree in Forestry and a minor in Recreation Management. He worked in 12 National Park Service sites in 10 states which included large natural areas, historic, and archeological sites. He was detailed to two regional offices and two foreign assignments in Georgia and Jordan. Since his retirement, he worked on open space issues in Prescott and enjoys photography, hiking, and travel. He is married to Georjean (Bender) and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
“I spent my career working with the natural & cultural resources of the United States, living all across the Country from Massachusetts to Hawaii & Minnesota to Arizona. After retiring to Prescott and hiking throughout the land, I volunteered to protect the open spaces of the area and feel that Prescott Creeks does an outstanding job of supporting these types of efforts. I joined the Board to assist in meeting their mission of protecting & restoring the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve; healthy watersheds & clean waters in central Arizona; as well as educating people on the necessity and value of our wild expanses.”
Andie arrived in the Prescott area in 1993 and began an almost 20-year career in Fire Prevention with Central Yavapai Fire District/Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA). She retired as Assistant Fire Marshal. In her time with the department, Andie assisted homeowners in their creation of defensible space, reviewed business and construction plans, and investigated fires. She was active with the Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface Commission/Yavapai Firewise as both an agency representative and as board treasurer. In 2023, Andie became an Arizona Central Highlands Master Naturalist.
“I have always loved the outdoors and have spent as much time as possible outside, beginning as a small child and continuing with my own family. The Master Naturalist program exposed me to the science of natural history and piqued my interest in watersheds. With my ongoing financial support for Prescott Creeks, joining the Board of Directors is a natural fit to advocate for the watersheds of the area. I have particularly enjoyed workdays in the field learning about what is happening on the ground and in the skies above the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve. I am passionate about protecting this resource and excited to educate people about watersheds and their importance.”
Wendy has long had a fascination with rivers (and creeks!), especially since moving to Arizona in the early 1980s. She received an M.S. in Civil Engineering, Water Resources Specialty, from Arizona State University and worked as a consulting engineer for many years before rounding out her career with the City of Phoenix. She retired and moved to Prescott in 2015 and living in this beautiful area encouraged her to become an avid birder. Wendy often “birds” many areas around Prescott, including the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve and Watson Lake and is excited about contributing to the preservation and improvement of the creeks in the Prescott area by serving on the Prescott Creeks Board of Directors.
“I have always been most at home in nature, especially when water was involved. That affinity shaped my professional engineering career, leading me into the water resources & environmental fields. When I retired and moved to Prescott, one of the first places I visited was the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve. I was impressed with the stillness of this special forest right next to Highway 89, the majesty of the large cottonwood trees, the variety of birds & other creatures, and the obvious care with which some organization had restored this area-Prescott Creeks. They have done much more than restore & maintain Watson Woods. They are involved in many other efforts to help achieve healthy watersheds & clean water. I am proud to be engaged with local environmental & water issues in my position on the Board.”
As Executive Director, my duties vary on a day to day basis from advancing the organization’s mission by working with community stakeholders, building strong programs, and presenting to school classes and civic organizations, to transplanting Schoenoplectus acutus in local wetlands, catching lizards, photographing wildflowers, and digging up previously planted cottonwoods to assess root development. The variety of experiences and the diversity of people I encounter are treats for me. The learning curve stays steep and I like that – usually. Because of my work at Prescott Creeks, I often find myself looking for the rivers and streams in other communities that I visit.
When asked why I am involved with the creeks, the challenge is to pick a single reason. There are many. I grew up in Midwestern suburbia and the nearest creek was a little trickle that emerged from a pipe in the local park. That muddy little excuse of a stream (I now know is called Turkey Run) captivated my attention in ways that I still can’t explain. Water, bugs, toads, box turtles, and box-elders pulled me in like no other place. In my work, I’ve had the opportunity to personally experience and observe this sense of wonder in kids, college students, adults, and even in seniors. My involvement with Prescott Creeks is about making our community a better place for those of us who are here now, those who will visit soon, and for those who will follow behind us. And, secretly, selfishly, I get paid to splash around in the creeks.
I’ve consciously not picked one creek as a favorite. Each of the creeks in our watershed and neighboring watersheds are individual friends that I’ve been getting to know over the years. Look closely and you’ll see that they have personalities. I’ve made an effort to visit each of the creeks on a regular basis and see what their mood is at the time. Sometimes they are jubilant in a summer downpour, which is often in contrast to their contemplativeness after a winter snow. I’ve seen them dance in the sunshine and wither in the heat of summer. Our creeks are alive, diverse, and dynamic. I love to see how they change over time.
Volunteers are a critical element to achieving healthy watersheds and clean waters. We couldn’t do it without them.
Scroll down and meet a few of the key people behind the scenes…
Mary Jo started volunteering with Prescott Creeks as one way to give back to the local environment where she enjoys hiking. Keeping her computer skills up to date by lending a hand to office tasks and projects, she marks her 5th anniversary in February! Since retiring from her career as an educator, she enjoys travel, photography, and staying involved with our local community. She has served on the Prescott Valley Library Board and currently serves on the Prescott Public Library Board.
A semi-retired social worker, Annie began volunteering in the Prescott Creeks office soon after moving to Prescott from Phoenix several years ago. Not quite ready to completely give up paid employment, she keeps her hand in working part-time as a social worker with Maggie’s Hospice and as an elder care coordinator with a Phoenix law firm. She and her husband Michael travel to Israel yearly to visit their son and granddaughter.
Julie Ann Baker
Julie Ann enjoyed a career in high-tech while living in Chandler, before moving to Prescott and volunteering at Prescott Creeks. She is focused on Marketing and Outreach for the organization. While not volunteering at Prescott Creeks, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and volunteering at the Prescott Public Library.
Donella Sas believes that conserving our natural environment and investing in our wildlife habitats will make a positive impact on our planet and protect our quality of life for future generations. With experience in administrative technology as well as a demonstrated history of database systems, she has put her skills to work with Prescott Creeks. Her goal in life is to inspire others to give back in any way they can, not because they have to, but because they want to. “Together, we can all make a difference in the lives of so many. A little goes a long way.”
Phil Taska launched his natural history practice by participating in the Arizona Master Naturalist course. “For me, volunteering at Prescott Creeks is a natural next-step in broadening my knowledge and understanding of riparian systems and ecology in general.” If you see a guy in an orange shirt working around the Preserve, that’s probably Phil. “I love it when people hiking the trails stop me and ask me what I’m doing—and I love to hear about what they’ve observed during their hikes.” Phil is passionate about the species richness, species diversity, landscape, and cultural history of the Mogollon Highlands ecoregion. You can follow Phil on the iNaturalist platform at @phil86315.