Our Team


Save Our Shores is comprised of a small team of passionate environmentalists who share a strong connection to our ocean and, in particular, our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. We thrive on enjoying all that the Sanctuary has to offer and protecting it for generations to come. We are scientists, ecologists, educators, conservationists, and members of the Monterey Bay community. 


Erica Donnelly-Greenan
Executive Director

Erica grew up in the greater Chicago area and moved to Santa Cruz in 2004 to pursue an education in marine sciences, earning her Masters of Science in Marine Vertebrate Ecology from San Jose State University. She joined Save Our Shores as Executive Director in 2021.

Erica’s background as a marine ecologist and her diverse experience in marine-related program management sets the tone for her passions and goals for Save Our Shores. 

In an effort to reverse environmental injustices and encourage a healthy connection between land and sea, Erica focusses the organization’s work through a lens that uplifts and amplifies whole communities.

With her small, but mighty team, Erica works to strengthen and diversify Save Our Shores’ ongoing programs that keep our beaches, rivers and sloughs clean and healthy. The on the ground work paves the way for Save Our Shores efforts to effect policy change that makes a big difference now — and for generations to come. 

Email: erica@saveourshores.org

Calah Pasley
Development and Communications Director

Calah grew up in Turlock, California before her family settled in the Silicon Valley for her teenage years. As a child, she and her siblings relished visits to Santa Cruz beaches and the Boardwalk. She knew, even then, that one day she would make Santa Cruz her home.

Calah attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where she earned a degree in Environmental Studies. Before joining Save Our Shores, Calah worked at the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, where for more than a decade she helped foster the local community’s connection to the land.

At Save Our Shores, Calah oversees individual and major gift fundraising, as well as capacity-building communications and events.

Favorite marine activities: beach lounging, building sandcastles with her daughter, tide pooling

Email: calah@saveourshores.org

Leora BaumgartenLeora Baumgarten
Finance and Nonprofit Operations Director

Leora grew up in Santa Cruz, swimming at Cowells beach and roaming the UCSC campus. She graduated from UCSC in biology and moved to Chicago for graduate school.  She lived in Chicago for over 30 years where she earned a PhD in physiology at The University of Chicago, completed a postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois Chicago, raised a family, and worked as an entrepreneur and business owner.

In 2017 she had the opportunity to participate in Points of Light Civic Accelerator for social entrepreneurship which provided the foundation for work in the nonprofit sector. Recent work includes HR and operations consultant in both the private and non-profit sectors including a biotech startup. 

At Save Our Shores she is responsible for day-to-day financial and  business operations including accounting, contracts, grants, vendors, staff and insurance. Favorite marine activities: open water swimming, hiking, watercolor painting and spending time with family and friends enjoying the amazing outdoors Santa Cruz has to offer. 

Email: leora@saveourshores.org

Krista Rogers
Program Manager

Krista is a Santa Cruz local who grew up in Capitola and attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where she studied marine biology. Before joining Save Our Shores she worked and volunteered in youth programs at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, where she developed her passion for engaging youth in marine science and connecting people with the amazing ecosystems of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

At Save Our Shores, Krista previously served as our Education & Outreach Coordinator. As Program Manager, she manages the education, volunteer, and outreach programs, engaging the community in learning about and protecting their beloved Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Favorite marine activities: tide pooling, snorkeling, and kayaking

Email: krista@saveourshores.org


Andrea Dempsey
Education Coordinator

Andrea grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Her most frequented beach with family and friends was Ocean City, New Jersey. Since childhood, Andrea has been intrigued by the ocean. 

Andrea attended Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and completed a degree in Marine Science with a minor in Professional Writing. While studying marine science in a landlocked state, Andrea was able to take field courses at Chincoteague Bay Field Station, which provided hands-on learning opportunities and experience. Andrea fondly remembers learning about the Monterey Bay in college, and was stoked to move here in Summer of 2019 for an environmental educator position with Camp SEA Lab. Andrea worked with Camp SEA Lab, Kayak Connection, Web of Life Field School, and O’Neill Sea Odyssey, where she grew her communication and education Skills. 

At Save Our Shores, Andrea is part of the programs team, focusing primarily on delivering engaging marine science curriculum in order to foster stewardship through knowledge and awareness in the K-12 community. 

Favorite marine activities: tide pooling, swimming, kayaking, and sailing.

                                                                                                                                                           Email: andrea@saveourshores.org

Sam Rupel
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Sam (she/her) grew up galavanting around the Bay Area from Point Reyes to Big Sur, hiking, backpacking, tide pooling, splashing and digging in the dirt. 

She loves people and she loves nature, that's what first brought her to her role at Ethos, our local Santa Cruz low-waste living shop + refillery and what brought her to her current role here with Save Our Shores. She believes that individual action is incredibly impactful within our community and, together, we can drive large-scale change. 

Favorite marine activities: tide pooling, kayaking, surfing, snorkeling,  splashing, and castle-ing. 

Email: sam@saveourshores.org

Santiago Meza
Education Associate

Santiago was born and raised in Capitola, always staying active by participating in multiple sports and being outside.  After graduating from Harbor High School in 2022, he left Santa Cruz to attend Santa Monica College.  Moving back home, he transferred to UC Santa Cruz, where he is currently majoring in Literature and minoring in Film and Digital Media.  

Being away from Santa Cruz for a year and a half helped Santiago develop a newfound appreciation and love for the beach.  He is very happy to be back in Santa Cruz and finds that the beach is a great place to write at.  Outside of school and work, Santiago loves watching soccer, going to the movies, and writing. 

At Save Our Shores, Santiago works with the youth of today in the Junior Sanctuary Stewards after-school program, helping them learn more about the marine environment they live in and teaching them how to protect it.  

Favorite Marine Activities: Watching sunsets on the beach, hiking at Davenport beach, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway.

                                                                                                                                                           Email: santiago@saveourshores.org


Featured photo by Michael Langhans