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Christina McGinnis, Lauren Trujillo, and Gerardo Ayala Join Board of Environmental Defense Center

May 31, 2022

Santa Barbara – The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) is proud to announce that Christina McGinnis, Lauren Trujillo, and Gerardo (Gera) Ayala have joined the organization’s board of directors. Ms. McGinnis serves as EDC’s Governance Committee Chair and is an environmental consultant who previously worked for EDC and previously served on its board as co-President. Ms. Trujillo serves as EDC’s Secretary and works as the Director of the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation. Mr. Ayala has decades of experience serving as both staff and as a board member of nonprofit organizations and currently works for the Santa Barbara County Education Office. All three directors bring extensive experience with local nonprofits and community engagement.

“Gera Ayala, Christina McGinnis, and Lauren Trujillo bring significant policy, environmental, and nonprofit experience to EDC,” said Linda Krop, Chief Counsel for EDC. “We are very fortunate and grateful for their commitment to EDC and the communities that we serve. These impressive leaders are a powerful and passionate addition to our board and will help fuel EDC’s work for years to come.”

Ms. McGinnis has a long history of working on local environmental and planning issues. She has worked with numerous nonprofits over the years, served on the Sanctuary Advisory Committee for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and previously taught environmental planning at UCSB. She currently works as a consultant. During her time on EDC’s staff, she initiated the organization’s Open-space Preservation Education Network (OPEN), a project that brings farmers, ranchers, and environmentalists together to preserve important agricultural lands, and she served on the Gaviota Coast Planning Advisory Committee. Ms. McGinnis has done consulting for the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara County Wildfire Resilience Priorities project, and most recently helped found a new nonprofit, Keep Big Sur Wild.

“I am honored to once again be a part of the EDC family. I believe that the tri-county region would look much different if EDC was not here to help protect it,” said Ms. McGinnis.

Ms. Trujillo joins us with a depth of knowledge in non-profit administration, fundraising, and development. She has extensive community service experience with local organizations, including the Isla Vista Memorial Project, the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, and SFMOMA. She has served on the boards of the Santa Barbara Women’s Literary Festival, Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, United for Libraries, Northside Optimist Club, and Junior League of Santa Barbara. Before joining the Santa Barbara Library Foundation, Ms. Trujillo served as the Gift Operations Manager at SFMOMA.

“EDC is a leader in the modern environmental movement and is making great strides for environmental justice. I am honored to be a member of the Board and proud to support the organization’s trailblazing efforts,” said Ms. Trujillo.

Mr. Ayala has served on the boards of the Fund for Santa Barbara, Children’s Creative Project, Shelter Services for Women (now Domestic Violence Solutions), Marjorie Luke Theater, and Court Appointed Special Advocates. He also served on the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and currently works as a Health Advocate for the Santa Barbara County Education Office. He previously worked for PUEBLO (the precursor organization to CAUSE).

“It’s an honor to serve on the board of an organization that for the last 45 years has worked tirelessly to protect our environment and helped lead the environmental movement, not just locally, but statewide and nationally as well,” said Mr. Ayala.

These new board members will join the following members of the EDC board of directors: Judy Pirkowitsch (President), Ms. Diane Wondolowski (Treasurer), Rob Tadlock (Executive Committee, At Large), Dave Davis, Daniel Emmett, Richard Francis, Vijaya Jammalamadaka, Jim Salzman, Leanne Schlinger, and Sabrina Venskus.

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The Environmental Defense Center protects and enhances the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action and works primarily within Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community-based organizations to advance environmental protection. EDC’s focus areas include protection of the Santa Barbara Channel, ensuring clean water, preserving open space and wildlife, and addressing climate and energy.

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