Owen joined EDC in 2013 after almost ten years at Sierra Club, where he was initially focused on community and media outreach and grassroots organizing for their California coastal campaign. Here he worked alongside EDC on the successful campaign against a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas terminal in the Santa Barbara Channel. Owen then went on to develop and manage Sierra Club’s entertainment industry outreach program on the way to becoming Director of Advancement overseeing eight Southwestern states. Owen has also been involved in several political campaigns, including serving as Director of Surrogate Operations for Senator Boxer’s 2010 reelection effort.
Jessica graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Anthropology and concentrations in Geology and Environmental Studies. She worked for a nonprofit land trust in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina committed to conserving land to benefit people and the environment before moving to Santa Barbara in 2012. Jessica joined EDC in 2019 after working in a variety of industries including green construction and wealth management but is excited to get back to her roots in nonprofit. She is committed to educating the public about climate change and protecting our environment.
Office Manager & Event Coordinator
Daniel joined EDC in 2019 upon graduation from the Bren School at UCSB with a Master’s in Environmental Science and Management, with a focus on environmental policy and strategic communication. Daniel comes to EDC with years of experience working in environmental nonprofits, including the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. Prior to attaining his masters degree, Daniel taught climate and ocean science at classrooms and events around the Bay Area. Apart from his role at EDC, he volunteers with the organization HeadCount to register voters at events in the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles areas, and performs regularly with his bluegrass band.
Marine Conservation Program Director
Kristen joins EDC with experience as a California Sea Grant Fellow for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, coastal program analyst for the California Coastal Commission, and consulting researcher for Seafood Watch. Kristen earned her B.A. in geography from UCSB and her Master of Environmental Science and Management (M.E.S.M.), with emphasis in coastal and marine resources management, from the Bren School at UCSB. While studying at the Bren School, Kristen worked for EDC as an environmental advocacy intern, conducting research on the environmental impacts of oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel. Kristen enjoys hiking Santa Barbara trails, paddling along our coast, and exploring the Channel Islands.
Before joining EDC, Maggie worked at Los Angeles Waterkeeper and was a law clerk at the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Earthjustice, and Earthrise Law Center. She holds a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School and a B.A. from New York University. During law school, Maggie argued before Chief Justice John Roberts in the Advocate of the Year Competition, and was a member of the first place team in a national moot court competition. She has also co-authored an article in the Natural Resources Journal on Ninth Circuit administrative law. In her free time, Maggie enjoys stand up paddle boarding, hiking, travel, and yoga.
Rachel joined EDC in 2021. After working for environmental advocacy organizations in Arizona, Rachel spent more than a decade working for federal lawmakers, as senior legislative assistant on environmental and tribal matters to Congressman Raúl Grijalva, and later as a local representative of Congresswoman Lois Capps. She has served on the boards of several environmental non-profits, including the California Wilderness Coalition, and Natural Allies. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and her Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland with a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. Rachel is an active and dedicated volunteer on political campaigns, from local to national races, and everything in between.
Linda has worked at EDC as a staff attorney since 1989 and as Chief Counsel since 1999. Linda’s specialties include fighting offshore oil and gas development, protecting natural resources, and preserving open space lands. Linda’s successes include the unprecedented termination of 40 federal oil and gas leases offshore California, defeat of several specific oil drilling projects, and preservation of important areas for public access and ecological protection, including Hearst Ranch, Ellwood, Carpinteria Bluffs and Sedgwick Ranch. Linda represented the conservation community on the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council from 1998-2013, and teaches Environmental Law at UCSB.
Pearl has managed EDC’s finances since 2015. Pearl has provided bookkeeping services for many nonprofits and local businesses in the Santa Barbara area. When she is not at work you will find her with her two golden retrievers at the dog park or on the beach.
Tara Messing has a diverse legal practice with a focus on environmental law. As a staff attorney with the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), she handles a variety of cases involving environmental laws such as the California Environmental Quality Act, Endangered Species Act, and other land use laws. In addition to her legal practice at EDC, Tara also has experience with coalition building, multi-sector partnerships, and communications through webinars and public forums. Prior to joining EDC staff in 2017, Tara practiced as a civil litigator in Santa Barbara. She currently serves as the President of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers Foundation and Vice President of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers. She also continues to serve on the Board for the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and is the co-editor for the Santa Barbara Lawyer Magazine. Tara graduated from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law with honors and a certificate in environmental law in 2015.
Environmental Analyst & Watershed Program Coordinator
Brian grew up in Goleta beginning in 1970, attended local schools including UCSB, graduated with High Honors in 1990 and earned various accolades including the Environmental Studies Department’s first Outstanding Alumni Award. Brian founded the Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council in 1987 and served as the group’s Executive Director until 1997. Brian received the statewide Outstanding Organizer Award after increasing the Council’s membership from 150 to 3,000 in one year. A stream restoration manager and biologist, he was named California Trout’s Streamkeeper. Brian has twice been recognized as a Santa Barbara Independent Local Hero before beginning his tenure at EDC.
Betsy joined EDC in 2007 after working at the Wyoming Wilderness Association to protect and expand federal Wilderness Areas in her home state. She serves as the interface between EDC and the public by coordinating community outreach and education initiatives, along with EDC’s array of public, media, and online communications. Betsy also conducts operations administration and event planning. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.