We are the Channel Islands
Formed in 2005, Channel Islands Park Foundation is the only non-profit, philanthropic partner of Channel Islands National Park. Recognizing the challenges of managing the complex island ecosystems and richly diverse cultural resources, the Foundation is committed to the ongoing work of Channel Islands National Park. In co-operation with the National Park, the Foundation funds education, protection and preservation efforts.
Channel Islands National Park was set aside by Congress not only to preserve park resources, but to provide for visitor enjoyment of these resources. As such, we are dedicated to creating innovative opportunities for people to connect with the park through interactive education and volunteerism.
We encourage you to visit Channel Islands National Park, to experience the tranquility, to enjoy the beauty and in so doing, create a lasting connection that will inspire memories for years to come.
We strive to build a broad base of diverse stewards who understand and appreciate the fragile island ecosystems and rich cultural legacies and act to preserve them for generations to come.
Help Preserve this Island Ecosystem
Close to the California mainland, yet worlds apart, Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment.
Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.
How we do this…
Connect: Build broad support and awareness of the mission of Channel Islands Park Foundation.
Inspire: Identify opportunities, strategies and systems that inspire our community and lead to philanthropic generosity of time, talent and treasure to reach our mission.
Commit: Cultivate opportunities for the community to invest time, talent, and/or treasure to meaningfully contribute to education, protection, and preservation.
Channel Islands Park Foundation
Vahagn Nahabedian, President
Vahagn Nahabedian is a California native and a fourth generation oilman. He is also a Scuba Instructor and considers the Channel Islands the best diving in world. He is a volunteer scuba diver for Channel Islands Live and has shared his passion for the National Parks with his son Tigran who is also a volunteer with Channel Islands National Park, the first Student Buddy Bison Ambassador for the National Park Trust and a Centennial Events Coordinator for the CIPF.
Vice President, Vacant
Marcella Klein Williams, Secretary
Dr. Marcella Klein Williams has a career in education that has ranged from the classroom to the national level. She has a doctorate in educational leadership and experience building STEM education networks. Additionally, Marcella has been involved with the Channel Islands for over 20 years and is the wife of an island ranger.
Peter Haggerty, Treasurer
Peter Haggerty has extensive experience preparing annual operating and capital budgets in the healthcare sector. In addition to his work on behalf of the Channel Islands, Mr. Haggerty continues his commitment to non-profit as assistant treasurer to The Rotary Club of Ojai Education Foundation and serves as a board member of The Ojai Valley Community Hospital Foundation.
Susanne Wilson, Director of Special Gifts
Susanne Wilson is the former co-owner of Property Management Business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She has extensive background in Resort Marketing and Property Management. Susanne is committed to supporting local non-profits including the Ojai Music Festival, the Ojai Defense Fund, and sponsoring the Nordhoff High school AVID program: Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college readiness system.
Ken McAlpine, Director of Media
Ken McAlpine is an acclaimed local author of more than eight books. His novel, “Juncture,” is a cerebral “Jaws”; a suspense-filled thriller, a story of primal love and our changing oceans and, perhaps, a final fork in the road. “Islands Apart: A Year on the Edge of Civilization,” journaled his journey through California’s Channel Islands National Park in an effort to “breathe slowly and think clearly, to examine how we live and what we live for.”
Kyle Klein Stephenson, Director of Marketing
Kyle Klein-Stephenson is an accomplished website developer and marketing specialist who has grown up on the Channel Islands. He brings his personal love and passion for the islands and hopes to inspire others to develop deep meaningful connections with the Channel Islands.
Tigran Nahabedian, Youth Director
I earned my first Junior Ranger Badge at Channel Islands National Park when I was five years old and have loved the park ever since. I have completed over 70 Junior Ranger programs so far and was the first Junior Ranger Underwater Explorer at Channel Islands National Park. I was really honored to help the National Park Service with the Find Your Park and Every Kid in a Park campaigns and I represented Let’s Move Outside at the White House, where I got to help First Lady Michelle Obama plant the White House garden. I was asked to help kick off the Rose Parade in 2016 and rode on the Find Your Adventure banner float. I completed the NPS Centennial Volunteer Challenge. I am a volunteer for Channel Islands National Park as a Special Events Information Specialist, Division of Interpretation and have volunteered with invasive species removal on Anacapa Island as part of the Hands on the Land program and at beach clean-ups. I was asked by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation to play Trooper Tigran in “Ready, Set, Hike!” the National Parks episode of Mack and Moxy. Mack and Moxy is a children’s education show that focuses on causes and airs on PBS. My episode promotes the National Park Service Junior Ranger Programs. I also represented the National Park Foundation during the Subaru Share the Love Campaign. One day, I want to be the Director of the National Park Service You can follow my adventures in Buddy Bison’s Buzz at www.parktrust.org and on Instagram and Twitter @JrRangerTigran @nationalparktrust and @nationalparkgeek .
Bonnie Brown, Director
As a former Science educator with a Biology degree that emphasizes Marine Biology & Marine Botany I find myself in the most fortunate situation as a member of the Channel Islands Park Foundation Board. The Channel Islands have been a magnificent landmark throughout my childhood and as an adult. Now that I have retired from a major bio-tech I look to respectfully and responsibly help care for these rare treasures now and for the future.
Ellie Hui Tu, Liaison “Bring the Islands Home” Plant Adoption
Ellie has been volunteering at the nursery and demonstration garden of Channel Islands National Park since 2012. As a botanical artist, she illustrated the plants in the CINP guide books that visitors can refer to while taking a walk in the demonstration garden. Her favorite plant is Santa Cruz Island Bush Mallow.
John Wickenhaeuser, Director
John Wickenhaeuser is a life-long educator who grew up in Santa Barbara admiring the Channel Islands. He wrote his senior thesis at UC Santa Barabara about the exotic species removal program on Santa Cruz Island. John was the Vice President of a rescue and safety equipment sales and training company in the Bay Area before moving to Ojai, where he currently serves as the Director of Technology and Sustainability at Ojai Valley School. He also leads as many school trips to the islands as he can for restoration, education and recreation. He fell in love with the islands while writing his thesis, and rediscovered them when he moved back to the area and has been looking for any way to contribute to the restoration and protection of their extraordinary resources.
Linda Muhammad, Director
Linda Mohammad was born and raised in Malaysia, later migrated to the US at the age of 19 and soon fell in love with America’s Best Idea. She’s an avid hiker and a national park traveler. To date, she has visited 40 of the 60 national parks in America. Linda also volunteers her time at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California as well as serves on board of director for the Channel Islands Park Foundation. When she’s not out road tripping and park hopping on weekends, Linda spends her weekdays working as a petroleum engineer in Bakersfield, California. She has always been intrigued by the energy industry since her teenage years. One of her life goals is to experience all 60 America’s National parks before she retires. Here on the Channel Islands, she helps organize volunteer projects on the islands. A way of giving back to the places she loves.