Staff

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper has a highly skilled staff with strong scientific expertise and a deep commitment to our organization and mission.

Kira Redmond

Executive Director

Kira Redmond has served as Channelkeeper’s leader since 2004. Kira has more than 15 years of experience in the environmental policy arena and has succeeded in securing significant improvements in water quality and marine habitat protection policies at the local and state levels. Prior to taking up residence as the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, she worked with Bluewater Network in San Francisco managing an advocacy campaign to combat pollution from commercial vessels, particularly cruise ships, and succeeded in getting legislation passed to prohibit cruise ship dumping in California waters. She also worked as a consultant for Energy Independence Now on alternative vehicles and fuels, for Redefining Progress on environmental tax reform, and for the Earth Island Institute on transportation and global warming policies, including California’s landmark legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles. She spent three years writing and editing for the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s “Earth Negotiations Bulletin,” reporting on United Nations environmental treaty negotiations around the world. She also worked as a research associate for the Worldwatch Institute. Kira holds a Masters in International Affairs and Environmental Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Management from the University of California Berkeley.

Morgan Coffey

Development Director

Morgan Coffey joined the Channelkeeper team as our Development Director in August 2013. For the previous nine years, Morgan raised funds and awareness for the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, a conservation organization responsible for protecting natural lands and restoring wildlife habitat. Morgan brings a long history of ocean activism to Channelkeeper, including swimming across the Channel to raise money for us in 2006, volunteering as an educator for the Jason Project at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, assisting with marine mammal necropsies for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and bringing marine biology programs to classrooms with the Waves On Wheels project. She continues her commitment to the Channel by serving as a volunteer naturalist for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the National Park.

Ben Pitterle

Watershed and Marine Program Director

Ben joined Channelkeeper as an intern managing our Stream Walk program in 2005, and became our Director of Watershed Programs in January 2006. Before that he worked as a staff scientist for GeoSyntec Consultants, a Stream Team field technician for Heal the Bay’s Malibu Stream Team, and an environmental instructor for the Community Environmental Council. He has a Masters in Environmental Science and Management from UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School and a BS in Environmental Science from UC Riverside. Ben has extensive experience with water quality monitoring, stream surveying, Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, and environmental education.

Penny Owens

Education and Community Outreach Director

Penny joined Santa Barbara Channelkeeper in 2004 as our Education Coordinator and Assistant Biologist. After receiving a Bachelor’s in Biology and Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz, she assisted with several sub-tidal and inter-tidal monitoring projects, including work as a research diver in the kelp forests from Santa Cruz to the southern limit of giant kelp in Baja Sur, Mexico. Prior to joining the Channelkeeper staff to coordinate and implement our marine education program and assist with field work, she spent two years on Catalina Island as a science instructor with Catalina Island Marine Institute. She also volunteers for the National Wildlife Federation every summer as faculty for their Conservation and Family Summit Program, educating teens from across the nation to be environmental stewards. Penny’s knowledge of marine and coastal ecosystems is a natural complement to her diverse field experiences in environmental education.

Jenna Driscoll

Watershed and Marine Program Associate

Jenna joined Channelkeeper in July 2013 as the Watershed and Marine Program Associate after receiving her Masters in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UCSB, with specializations in Coastal Marine Resources and Conservation Planning. Passionate about marine protection, policy, and outreach, she has interned with the Environmental Defense Center, NOAA’s Ocean for Life program, and NOAA’s international marine protected area capacity building program. She also studied abroad in Mexico where she researched sea turtle population ecology and fisheries management. Jenna previously worked with Island Packers, the concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park and is a kayak instructor with UCSB Adventure Programs.

Laura Moreno

Communications and Administrative Coordinator

Laura joined Channelkeeper in March 2015 as Communications and Administrative Coordinator. Recently graduated from UCSB with a degree in English and Spanish, she has interned and volunteered with Sprout Up and UCSB’s Office of Education Partnerships doing grant writing and social media marketing. Laura also studied and lived abroad in Spain, where she attended the University of Granada. Having grown up surfing in Northern California, she is invested in continuing her lifelong advocacy for the ocean and the natural world through her work with Channelkeeper.