Directors, Officers & Staff

Russell SydneyRussell Sydney
Executive Director   

Born in England, he was educated in northern California. Holding a BA in Biology and a Masters in International Development, Russell began using his education to “create small town viability” in the rural areas surrounding his university. While helping grow the farmers’ market movement to over 20 California markets, Russell founded the first state-wide farmers’ market association in California.

Russell Sydney is an international seminar leader with expertise in sustainable transportation. He is the author of the book Energy and EV Secrets and has worked with experts in all aspects of low carbon fuel vehicles. In 2003 he organized the effort to create the bicycle and electric vehicle (EV) plans for Santa Monica and the surrounding areas when he co-founded the Sustainable Transport Network. He has been advocating for EVs and bicycle safety in Ventura County since 2001.

Russell says there has been so much change in the climate and people over the last 100 years that the old ways can’t work. He sees the OVGC continuing to “create positive actions” in addressing change moving forward in our neighborhoods, in our transport, in our watershed.

Deborah PendreyDeborah Pendrey
Treasurer, Director, Program Director

Deborah moved to the Ojai Valley in 2000 as a newlywed. The Coalition’s Executive Director 2008-2015, she is now the Program Director, but also offers administrative/bookkeeping services, and runs a home-based wholesale retractable screens business with her husband, Wayne.

Deborah hopes to be at ‘net zero’ with her own carbon footprint when she leaves this Earth, and plans to work on it, along with the whole community’s footprint, until that time.

The Ojai Valley Green Coalition sincerely appreciates Deborah for her service!

ChedMyers_headshot.jpgChed Myers
President, Director, Governance Committee 

Ched has worked in social change movements for almost 40 years, with a variety of organizations including the American Friends Service Committee. With degrees in theology and philosophy, he is a popular educator who animates issues of faith-based peace and justice. He is a co-founder of the Sabbath Economics Collaborative ( and the Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice ( Ched has authored over 100 articles and more than a half-dozen books, including volumes on alternative economics, restorative justice and immigrant rights ( He and his partner Elaine Enns run a small nonprofit organization ( and a sustainable living demonstration site in Oak View in the Ventura River watershed.

Chris Cohen Chris Cohen
Director, Governance Committee

Chris, of Chris Cohen Law (, has a modern, nontraditional law practice that provides business law and estate planning services to clients in Ojai and throughout California. He is a graduate of UC San Diego and Ventura College of Law. Prior to opening his practice, Chris was a government relations professional at Scripps Institution of Oceanography for nearly 10 years.

Environmental responsibility is a core value in his personal and professional life. Chris also serves on the Legal Advisory Committee for the Ojai Valley Defense Fund. He and his wife Nellie live in Meiners Oaks. In his off time, Chris enjoys fly fishing and snow skiing.

Noel DouglasNoel Douglas
Secretary, Director, Staff

Noel Douglas-Roth is a musician, minister, teacher and entrepreneur. During the '70s, Noel combined his stage talents of acting and singing with that of teaching, and became one of Silicon Valley's foremost instructors in the area of Stress Reduction. His years of experience qualified him for a California State Teaching Credential. Noel went on to become a trainer in the motivational industry with Sage Seminars, Inc. In his mid-twenties, Noel founded a non-profit community service agency that opened The Soupline Natural Foods Restaurant and Food Co-op. The Soupline Restaurant continued as The Peasant Chef for over 15 years.

Noel's purpose in life is to empower us all to be more our creative selves by sharing experiences which encourage productive thinking, open communication, close friendships, supportive environments and humanitarian services which can prosper everyone. Noel's years of entrepreneurial experience have given birth to The AIM Game (AIM: Advanced Idea Management) which he conducts as a productivity seminar or consultation for business teams and individuals. He is currently preparing a multi-media educational version of The AIM Game for publication.

Today Noel resides in Ojai, California, where he is a live-in property manager and caregiver. The birth of his first grandchild in 2009 has reinvigorated Noel's sense of community.

Laurie WaltersLaurie Walters

Laurie attended Humboldt State University studying wildlife conservation but soon succumbed to the lure of their new Theater Department. She subsequently worked as a professional actress for over 30 years. However, a keen interest in the environment and the arts have continued to be her twin passions. She worked for the renowned Los Angeles non-profit TreePeople for 5 years, serving as Volunteer Director and later as Director of Campus and Citizen Forestry Training, founding a Speakers Bureau where she was able to use her public speaking skills to champion TreePeople’s mission. She also wrote grants for the educational non-profit Project H.E.L.P. based in Silicon Valley, California.

Laurie moved to Ojai from Los Angeles in 2001 with her husband, John Slade, who taught Drama and English at Nordhoff High School for 12 years. She has worked professionally in Ventura County at the Rubicon Theatre, Santa Barbara Theatre Ensemble and Kingsmen Shakespeare Company, as well as directing in local schools and community theatres. She is the facilitator of Ojai’s long-running Shakespeare Reading Salon and has volunteered for a number of years at the Green Coalition. In 2016 she became certified as a California Naturalist, and feels blessed to live in the beautiful Ventura River Watershed.

Heather Mohan-GibbonsHeather Mohan-Gibbons

Raised in Minnesota in the 70’s, homesteading was the way of life for Heather growing up on a farm with horses, hoof stock, poultry, and a massive garden. Since 1996, her experience includes veterinary clinics, universities, animal shelters, government, and founding a consulting business with a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and a Master of Science in Zoology. She is also a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) and an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB).

Heather’s inspiration for teaching sparked when she was a Teacher’s Assistant and Biology tutor in graduate school. Since then she has taught over 100 workshops internationally and earned a teaching certificate from Global Learning Partners.  Heather regularly contributes to the profession by lecturing at national conferences and publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals. To learn more about her, visit her LinkedIn profile:
What Heather most wants people to remember is their connection to the natural world, be inspired to grow sustainable food using water-wise methods, and live in ways that reduce their carbon footprint.  She manages the Coalition Community Garden that is currently exploring regenerative land use practices. Learn more here

Kit StolzKit Stolz

Kit moved to Upper Ojai in 1991 with his family, after living in Los Angeles and working for many years for Paramount Pictures as a story analyst. In 2013 he helped organize a panel discussion on drought at the Ojai Retreat, and in 2014 he helped the Ojai Chautauqua organize panel discussions on fracking, immigration, and income inequality. When not working or visiting with friends, Stolz likes backpacking, and is currently about halfway through section-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which he hopes to finish this decade.

Kit has been reporting on science, the environment, health, and a variety of other topics in and around Ventura County for nearly twenty years. He has written hundreds of newspaper stories for the Ventura County Star, the Ventura County Reporter, the Santa Barbara Independent, and the Ojai Valley News, as well as for publications such as the California Health Report, Civil Eats, High Country Times, and essays, reviews, and profiles for the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Sierra, the Georgia Review, and Wild Earth. He won a Climate Action award in 2012 from the Ventura County Board of Supervisors for his reporting on climate issues, and a Best Investigative Reporting award, in 2015, 2nd place, from the California Newspapers Publishers Association for his story on, “The Hazardous Truth,” about the explosion in November 2014 at Santa Clara Waste Water in Santa Paula.

Check this EPA site out!
Ojai and Ventura County's
environmental conditions ...

EPA My Environment: Ojai, CA

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