Staff

Catherine Martineau, Executive Director, (she/her) has been a leader in the nonprofit urban forestry field for over a decade. She serves on the board of California Releaf, a statewide urban forestry organization. She brings to her role extensive professional experience in both the financial and management consulting sectors. Leading Canopy, she draws on her professional experience as well as her personal interest in community service, education and the environment.

A native of France, Catherine started her career in Paris with the BNP Group and moved to the United States in 1986, joining BNP Venture Capital. In 1991, she and her husband created Martineau & Associates, a management consulting practice specializing in new initiatives. Catherine holds a post-graduate degree (ABD) in economic theory, a master’s degree in mathematical economics, and a bachelor’s degree in international economics from the University of Paris. Catherine became Executive Director in 2004. Send Catherine an email.

 

natalie-brubaker

Natalie Brubaker, Director of Special Projects, (she/her) enjoys creating opportunities for people to explore their local ecosystem and learn from others in the community. Natalie’s love of trees developed in the Piedmont region of the southern states where she grew up in Atlanta, known as “The City in the Forest.” She formerly worked as Canopy’s Education Director where she oversaw the youth and adult education programs at Canopy.

After completing her BS degree in Environmental Studies at Emory University, Natalie served as Director of Afterschool Programs at The Advent School in Boston. Her interest in place-based education led her to pursue her master’s degree in Ecological Teaching and Learning at Lesley University. Prior to joining Canopy in the fall of 2016, Natalie was the Farm & Landscape Educator at Gore Place, an historic site in Waltham, MA. Send Natalie an email.

 

Shannon McDonald

Shannon McDonald, Operations Director, (she/her) joined Canopy in fall 2015 and currently oversees grants and operations. She enjoys raising grant funds to connect young people with nature-based leadership and education experiences. Prior to joining Canopy, she was immersed in the affordable housing field where she conducted policy research and contributed to an assessment report for the City of San José’s East Santa Clara Street urban village master plan. Her goal to work towards building sustainable communities is what brought her to the field of urban forestry and Canopy.

Shannon holds a Master of Urban & Regional Planning with a focus on community development from San José State University. She grew up in San José and currently lives amongst the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Send Shannon an email.

 

Vanessa Wyns, Education Director, (she/her) joined Canopy in the autumn of 2019 after completing an internship with the National Park Service as a bilingual environmental educator in southern Arizona. She has an MS in Ethnobotany from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, where she conducted research at a community garden on the benefits of social and therapeutic horticulture for disadvantaged populations for her thesis. She also holds a dual BA in Spanish Language and Studio Art from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Previously, she has combined her varied academic training by working as a rural eco-camp instructor in northern Spain, a bilingual educator at an urban farm in Arizona, and a science and art teacher in Granada, Spain.

She is deeply interested in equalizing nature access and education, and strives to find creative ways to engage all audiences. She enjoys hiking, exploring new places, perusing thrift stores, and petting dogs. Send Vanessa an email.

 

Maika Horjus, Senior Development Specialist, (she/her) first joined Canopy in fall of 2013. A native of the verdant Pacific Northwest, she brings a love of connecting people with nature and with one another. After coordinating volunteers and events, then spearheading communications, Maika now manages Canopy’s individual giving program. She is consistently inspired by the passion, creativity, and generosity of the Canopy community.

Maika holds a BS in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied community development and conservation biology. She enjoys hiking, writing, singing, and good conversation over a tasty beverage. Send Maika an email.

 

Maya Briones

Maya Briones, Community Forestry Manager, (she/her) joined Canopy in May 2019 to coordinate tree planting and stewardship programs in East Palo Alto. Prior to Canopy, Maya researched the efficacy of the County of San Mateo’s Tree Replacement Program as a Planning Intern. She has co-authored published research on access to green space and in the future hopes to continue researching environmental justice issues in graduate school.

She is a graduate of San José State University’s Environmental Studies program where she focused on habitat restoration and resource management, with a minor in Mexican American Studies. Send Maya an email.

 

Indira Selvakumaraswamy

Indira Selvakumaraswamy, Volunteer Engagement Manager, (she/her) joined the team in August 2020 to oversee Canopy’s communications and volunteer engagement. She is a marketing and advertising professional with fifteen years of experience working with non-profits, social marketing firms, and with various clients from different industries, for their marketing communication needs. She also has extensive experience interacting, working with and managing people both in the non-profit and the for-profit sectors.

She holds an MBA from Bharathidasan Institute of Management (India) in Marketing & Personnel Management and a Certificate in Strategic Marketing from the University of California, Berkeley. Send Indira an email.

 

Juanita Ibarra, Youth Programs Coordinator, (she/her), joined Canopy in September 2020 as the Youth Program Coordinator, responsible for coordinating Canopy’s Teen Urban Forestry Program. Prior to joining Canopy, she worked with youth for five years implementing curriculum and finding new ways to inspire the youth and families she engaged. She earned her B.A. in Chicano/a Studies from University of California at Berkeley. As a native of East Palo Alto, she’s excited to find new ways to involve the community in our tree planting events, to question why certain cities or locations have a bigger or smaller urban forest and to motivate the youth to learn about the importances of trees. Trees are important because in addition to providing a healthy environment, they serve as a form of dialogue to explore the inequalities and disparities that continue to exist in the bay area. 

In her spare time, Juanita enjoys hiking, traveling, experiencing new cultures and food. Send Juanita an email.

 

Laura Gronek, Communications Manager, (she/her) joined the team in September 2020 to support Canopy’s Operations, Development, Board of Directors, and Advocacy Committee. Newly relocated to the Bay Area from Atlanta, GA, Laura has 8 years of nonprofit professional experience – particularly in arts & culture, education, and community building – and most recently worked as Marketing & Communications Manager at JumpSpark. Although Canopy is Laura’s first experience at an environmental nonprofit, she’s excited to join the team and work to expand tree cover in the Midpeninsula and its impact on the health and equity for community members.

Laura holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She enjoys musical theater, hiking, and trying new recipes in the kitchen. Send Laura an email.

 

Mel Sutton, Community Forestry Field Technician, (they/them) joined the team in September 2020. Hailing from the great midwest state of Iowa where they learned a little about trees and a lot about corn, Mel studied urban forestry at Iowa State University. In 2019 they moved to California for a year-long AmeriCorps term with Our City Forest in San Jose. Mel is a firm believer in trees as an integral part of this planet and the importance of teaching people to love and care for them, and they look forward to getting to know the trees Canopy has planted and the stewards in our community that take care of them.

An avid outdoorsman, Mel enjoys hiking, backpacking, camping, music, and collecting local art. Send Mel an email.

 

Gabby Trudeau, Community Forestry Coordinator

Gabby Trudeau, Community Forestry Coordinator, (she/her) joined the Canopy team in September 2020 as a Community Forestry Coordinator for Palo Alto and Mountain View. A certified arborist, she’ll be working to coordinate planting events and community volunteers, to help Canopy meet tree planting goals. Before joining Canopy, she was working in Cochabamba, Bolivia for International Honors Program (IHP): Climate Change as a cultural liaison/translator/field assistant for the students.

 

In her spare time, Gabby propagates plants (reproduce plants through various methods), rides her bike, and enjoys listening to music. Send Gabby an email.

 

Cynthia Perez headshot

Cynthia Perez, Administrative Associate, (she/her) joined the Canopy team in May 2021 after graduating from Scripps College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Art minor. Cynthia was a Teen Urban Forester with Canopy from 2016-2017, where she worked with our education manager and other Teen Urban Foresters to teach elementary school children about tree biology and general tree care. As the Administrative Associate, Cynthia closely works with the Executive Team to support Canopy’s Executive Director, Operations Director, Board of Directors, and fundraising activities.

 

In her spare time, Cynthia practices her art and loves drawing and painting, especially with watercolor and oil paint. Send Cynthia an email.

 

2021 Summer Teen Urban Foresters

 

Jose Brambila is a junior at Eastside College Prep and joined the Teen Urban Foresters in January 2018. He started working at Canopy as a way to meaningfully contribute to his community. His goal as a TUF is to grow and strengthen his leadership skills. In his free time, Jose likes to play soccer and run. His favorite tree is the valley oak.

“My vision is for a community where we see the importance of trees and do not harm them.”

Homero Equihua is a senior at East Palo Alto Academy. He joined Canopy to make a difference in the community in which he attends school. His hobbies include drawing, archery, and reading.

Jose Luis Flores is a senior at East Palo Alto Academy. He joined Canopy because he wants to help out his community, bring other communities together, and meet new people. His hobbies include boxing, running, and baking.

Bethzy Garcia is a sophomore at Kipp Esperanza. She joined Canopy this summer to help plant more trees in her community. Her hobbies include walking and playing with her dog and hanging out with friends and cousins.

Marlon Guerra

Marlon Guerra is a student at Eastside College Prep and started as a Teen Urban Forester in summer 2019. He joined Canopy to better his community because he has noticed that many of the trees are struggling and are not well taken care of. He’s excited about this new work experience and the chance to learn more about tree care. Marlon enjoys playing video games, hanging out with friends and family, and playing sports like soccer or skating.

Eduardo Hernandez is a sophomore at Kipp Esperanza. He looks forward to helping out the community and growing more trees. He likes playing video games, walking and playing with his dog, and going fishing.

Jacqueline Hernandez

Jacqueline Hernandez is a sophomore at East Palo Alto Academy and joined the Teen Urban Forester team in fall 2020. She chose to work at Canopy because she wants to uplift the community and create a greener environment. In her free time, she likes to hang out with friends, paint and work out.

“My vision is to make East Palo Alto more green and positive for everyone in the community.”

Adrian Maciel is a student at Oxford Day Academy and joined the Teen Urban Forester team in fall 2019. He joined Canopy because it looks like a fun program to join and he would like to learn how to plant trees. In his free time Adrian likes to play with his dog, cook, and ride his bike.

Carla Reyna is a sophomore at East Palo Alto Academy. She joined Canopy in January 2021 because she wants to help plant more trees in the community. Her goal is to learn more about trees and learn new skills. Carla enjoys exploring new places, cooking, and going on walks.

Rio Vazquez is a senior at Menlo School. He joined Canopy to help out in the community and meet new people. Hobbies include sports, learning new skills, and hiking.

Samantha Velaquez

Samantha Velasquez is a junior at Eastside College Preparatory and joined the Teen Urban Forester team in fall 2019. She decided to join Canopy because she thinks the work is a proactive way to help the environment, which she thinks is awesome. In her free time Samantha likes to run, eat junk food, or watch movies.

“My vision is to help create more green space in East Palo Alto, and make the environment healthier.”

Jonathan Villanueva is a junior at Eastside College Prep. He joined Canopy as a Teen Urban Forester in January 2018 so he could give back to his community. His goal is to become comfortable talking with anyone and to gain knowledge about trees. His favorite tree is the maple because he likes how the color of the leaves change for the seasons. In his free time he likes to play video games, hang out with his cousins, and make rap songs.

“My vision is to improve my community by planting more trees.” 

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“Canopy’s staff and volunteers are dedicated, serious and sophisticated about preserving
and expanding
Palo Alto’s canopy.”

~ Alan Weller,
Palo Alto Resident

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