Meet Our Staff

We are the small but dedicated team working to restore and protect the Sausal Creek Watershed through education and community engagement.

Anna Marie Schmidt

Anna Marie Schmidt

Executive Director
(510) 501-3672
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Anna Marie provides oversight for FOSC's projects and programs and administers the organization. She manages field staff, oversees finances, writes grants and leads other fundraising efforts. Prior to joining FOSC, Anna Marie worked across the country providing technical assistance and training to nonprofits and National Service Programs in evaluation and evidence informed programming. Her eclectic background includes coordinating a women’s literacy program in the barrios of Santa Cruz, Bolivia; running a pilot goat raising project; and directing a STEM program for girls under-represented in science in Santa Clara County. She holds a B.A. in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine and an M.A. in International Development Education from Stanford.

Ella Matsuda

Ella Matsuda

Restoration and Education Manager
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After falling in love with plants while studying lemurs in Madagascar, Ella moved home to restore local ecosystems. At FOSC she coordinates volunteers and restoration efforts, leads seed and native plant ID hikes with the community, and conducts field trips with students in the Sausal Creek Watershed. She has research and environmental monitoring expertise and previously worked at the Houston Arboretum in resource management and native horticulture in addition to comanaging the nursery. Ella has degrees in ecology and environmental sciences from Rice University and has been leading backpacking trips and environmental education programs for over a decade.

Jay Cassianni

Jay Cassianni

Restoration and Nursery Manager
(510) 325-9006
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Jay oversees the Native Plant Nursery, plant production and care as well as site restoration within the Sausal Creek Watershed. Jay is originally from Southern California and became enamored with California native and drought tolerant plants while working at a botanic garden and installing low-water landscapes. He has recently transplanted from the Sierras, having spent many years backpacking to remote locations as a wilderness restoration biological technician with the National Park Service. Jay has a B.A. in Anthropology and Botany from Humboldt State University.

Rosa Nelson

Rosa Nelson

Outreach and Stewardship Intern
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Rosa comes to us during her final year at Saint Mary’s College of California where she is majoring in environmental studies. Rosa’s primary field of study is coastal wetlands focusing on blue carbon sequestration. However her work in coastal wetlands ignited a passion and interest for watershed health and native plant restoration. Rosa is excited to work in the lower watershed on community outreach. Rosa is also looking forward to working on water quality monitoring and data collection across the Sausal Creek Watershed. When Rosa is not in school or with us, she loves to hike Mt. Diablo and explore the greater Bay Area. Rosa also has a passion for sustainability and loves upcycling clothing.

Kate Berlin

Kate Berlin

Communications and Restoration Intern
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Kate first joined FOSC as a volunteer in the native plant nursery as she sought out ways to connect more to nature and her community. She was inspired by this experience to pursue a new path exploring and protecting the ecology of Oakland's wild spaces through a FOSC internship and as a new student in Merritt College's Natural History and Sustainability program. Excited to get outside and support FOSC's restoration and nursery projects in the watershed, she also looks forward to the opportunity to enrich the volunteer program that stoked her own fire. Kate has a B.S. in fashion design from the University of Cincinnati. Her personal design work is focused on natural fiber and plant-dyed textile arts.

Nicki Alexander

Nicki Alexander

Special Projects
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Nicki holds bachelors degrees in Environmental Economics & Management and Spanish from the University of Georgia and a Master of Development Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked in environmental education in the U.S., the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Paraguay and is passionate about providing students with opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning about nature. A former education and outreach coordinator with FOSC, she was recently evacuated from her Peace Corps post in Alto Paraná, Paraguay. She has rejoined the FOSC team to work on special projects remotely.