Southern Sierra Research Station Board Members
Ernie Flores, President
Ernie Flores is a Director in a large aerospace company where he has been pursuing his passion for things that fly. Born in Los Angeles, California, Ernie spent his formative years between Southern California and Mexico City. He graduated college as an Electrical Engineer from California State University, Long Beach. While his career on the Space Shuttle and many exotic aircraft has been a dream come true, Ernie's true encounter with his passion for flight came in the mid 1990's, when his eyes were opened to the natural world of birds. In one of his earliest explorations, Ernie and his wife, Nancy, came upon the Nature Conservancy Kern River Preserve (now Audubon), which was the beginning of a close association with the Preserve, its leaders and conservation and outreach goals. Ernie has enjoyed volunteering and supporting the preserve in numerous ways, and has become a supporter of the conservation and environmental movement, animal rights, and bird research, rehabilitation, and advocacy organizations. He has also been a regular volunteer for the SSRS and recently received his California Naturalist Certificate at Tejon Ranch Conservancy. Outside of work, Ernie enjoys helping the needy, exploring the wilderness, hiking, downhill skiing, genealogy, birding and especially searching for owls in the Southern Sierra. A favorite quote of his is: "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened" - Anatole France.
Wendy Walwyn, Treasurer and Secretary
Wendy is a professor at UCLA who spends her workdays figuring out why prescription opioids are so addictive. But as a South African who grew up watching birds and traveling through remote parts of Africa, birding and the outdoors are her passion and hobby. She has lived in different parts of the world and traveled through many more and remains at heart an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves to watch and study birds on any continent from a bike, a kayak or on foot. While based in Southern California Wendy has spent many hours volunteering for different wildlife organizations doing all sorts of tasks from cleaning oiled birds, translocating raptors, picking up micro-trash in condor territory, surveying plants and looking for resident owls. Most recently she has worked for the Kern River Valley Heritage Foundation increasing their social media presence. She and her husband, Raul, have been visiting the Kern Valley for many years and plan to retire here shortly.
Jason is a long time environmental advocate, whose passion for the Sierra's and its wildlife was instilled at a young age from his time in the wonderful range. He currently works as an attorney to protect the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples. Previously, for 11 years, Jason served as the Senior and General Counsel, International Program Director, and Water Initiative Director for Wishtoyo Foundation, where he used his science and legal background to advocate and litigate to protect the environment and the lifeways of indigenous peoples. While with Wishtoyo, Jason also led and managed an estuarine restoration project, and established a watershed monitoring and research program. Prior to his time with Wishtoyo, he helped represent over 700 Nicaraguan community members, sugarcane workers, and indigenous peoples in a complaint to the International Financial Corporation to protect their environment and to improve their living and working conditions, and volunteered in an ecological park in San Andréas, Petén Guatemala. Jason's educational background includes a Masters of Environmental Management with a concentration in water resources science, policy, and management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environment Studies, and a law degree from Vermont Law School. He has also served as Adjunct Faculty at California State University Channel Islands, where he twice taught Environmental Law & Policy.