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Board Members

Susan Guinn - Chief Possibility Officer and Co-founder

Susan Guinn received her Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from the University of New Mexico in 1988 and graduated from the University of Denver School of Law with her J.D in 1991. She has a San Diego based law practice dedicated to protecting and advancing consumer rights. Examples of Guinn's cases include school bus safety, tobacco litigation, product liability and environmental law.  She was a two time President for the Western Trial Lawyers and is or has been a  member of the Consumer Attorneys of California (“CAOC”), the San Diego Trial Lawyers Association, the Western Trial Lawyers Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the Attorneys Information Exchange Group, and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. In addition, she served as a Board Member for CAOC from approximately 1996 through 2000. 

In addition to founding KidsEcoClub with her son in 2010, Guinn is President of the non-profit organization the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which provides legal and financial support to the St Paul's Center in Kampala Uganda. The Center is led by Bishop Christopher Senyonyo who was recognized as one of the top ten religious leaders in the world by the Huffington Post. It provides women’s self-help and advocacy programs, HIV education and prevention, literacy training, and micro loan programs to underserved populations in Uganda and elsewhere. 

Guinn serves as the Chair of the Environmental and Sustainability Committee for the San Diego Unified School District and assists the district with strategic partnerships. 

Max Guinn - President and Co-founder

Max started Kids Eco Club at the age of 10. He is now 15.

"In a world with over 7 billion people, we cannot continue to argue over whether climate change is real," said Max Guinn. "98% of all scientists agree climate change is real and man-made. To argue otherwise, or to fail to act, is irresponsible."


  • Blogs for the Green, Tech and Science sections of the Huffington Post.  See  
  • Envisioned and created a partnership with Discovery Education, SDUSD, SDCOE, Discovery Education, the San Diego Zoo Global, and the Birch Aquarium, to use the film Racing Extinction, and conservation science lesson plans, to inspire thousands of kids to take action to end extinction. See May 2016
  • Served as a panelist with the Dalai Lama at the 2015 Global Compassion Summit, on the need to teach kindness and compassion as part of conservation efforts to K-12 kids. July 7, 2015 
  • Met with leaders at the United Nations by invitation, to discuss need to train global youth in sustainable development, conservation science, and the practice of kindness and compassion for people and wildlife. September 2015
  • Panelist at the 3rd Annual San Diego County Watershed Summit on need for K-12 environmental literacy and conservation science. October 28, 2015
  • Interviewed by the Riverside Church in Manhattan for their morning radio broadcast on the role of compassion and kindness in environmental stewardship. September 2015
  • Addressed scientists at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies on the need to prepare my generation to address climate change and biodiversity loss. September 2015
  • Created partnership between bonobo sanctuary, Lola Ya Bonobo, and KEC to support conservation education in 39 K-12 schools in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to stop illegal wildlife trafficking, and to protect endangered wildlife, like the bonobo. April 2015
  • Moderated Q&A following the screening of the film, Bonobos: Back to the Wild, at the San Diego Film Festival. March 2015
  • Speaker at the 2015 Environmental Champions luncheon, to 275 of San Diego’s non-profit leaders. March 2015

Awards and Recognition

  • San Diego Unified School District Recognition for engaging 100,000 youth in conservation science and action. May 24, 2016 
  • San Diego Zoo Global Centennial Young Conservationist Scholarship and Award. May 20, 2016
  • California Assembly Certificate of Recognition “for your efforts to preserve biodiversity and empower youth through classroom and afterschool environmental clubs and activities….” May 20, 2016
  • California Board of Equalization Resolution for “extraordinary leadership and activism in environmental sustainability.” February 1, 2014
  • San Diego Foundation & City of San Diego Ambassador for the Greater San Diego Vision - 2050. February 2012
  • San Diego Unified School District Proclamation for youth sustainability and environmental literacy work. September 7, 2013 
  • San Diego Earth Works E.A.R.T.H. Awards (Environmental Action and Restoration That Helps) for “creating a clean, healthy, prosperous and sustainable future.” April 2012
  • petition to ban sale and distribution of shark fins in the United States garnered support from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Birch Aquarium, the National Aquarium, Georgia Aquarium, Wild Aid, and, the Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal. 2012

Max is also the Chief Ecology Officer for Flashlight Foods, Inc. -  a kid created, kid owned, kid run food company that gives back to the planet. 

Follow Max on Twitter and on his Facebook page Max Guinn Environmental Update.  

Gavin Guinn - Youth Director

Gavin is 10 years old and is the inspiration for developing Clubs in lower schools. His vision of a fun environmental club includes frequent field-trips to tide pools for exploration. He advocates for school gardens, butterfly habitats, wild animal visits, and habitat restoration. He loves to hike and look for animal tracks and wild animals. He has a very good eye and usually spots animals before the rest of his family. He has seen numerous deer, elk, bison, cranes, osprey, owls, foxes, coyotes, beavers, muskrats and one porcupine in the wild. His vision is of a wide open world with lots of space to explore.

Gavin is the Chief Tasting Officer for Flashlight Foods, Inc., a company he started to give back to the planet. Their first product is ice cream. 

Christian Darby - Treasurer

Christian Darby is a President and CEO of Marketplace Products, a San Diego infomercial supplier and consulting firm where he specializes in product development, licensing, production and retail marketing. He has 27 years experience in identifying new market opportunities, product development and general management.

Mr. Darby has an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business, an M.F.A. from Stanford Graduate Schools of Art/Engineering Product Design and a B.A. from Kalamazoo College Michigan.

Dr. Amy Parish - Secretary

Dr. Amy Parish is a Biological Anthropologist, Primatologist, and Darwinian Feminist who has taught at University of Southern California in the Gender Studies, Arts and Letters, and Anthropology programs and departments since 1999. She received her undergraduate training at University of Michigan and her graduate school education at University of California-Davis and then taught at University College London. She conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Giessen in Germany on the topic of reciprocity. 

Dr. Parish has been studying the world’s captive population of bonobos for the last twenty years. The bonobo, whose name derives from the ancient Batu word for ancestor, is one of the two species comprising the chimpanzee genus. Bonobos and chimpanzees are the two closest living relatives of humans living today. ..more... 

In 2008, she received a Mellon Award for excellence in faculty mentoring of undergraduate students. Dr. Parish teaches with the goal of helping students to internalize learning enough to pursue it in the future in their own ways. She wants active learners to emerge—students who make sense of the world through their own eyes, experiences, and values, so that they might be significantly enriched by their educational experiences. She also hopes to engage the students in activist pursuits that might lead to more community involvement in their post-campus lives. Dr. Parish is Co-Founder of, an online forum for young people to develop and exchange ideas about working on social justice and environmental causes. 

Dr. Parish has served on the Board of Directors for the Arusha Project, a non-profit organization devoted to helping HIV infected women in Tanzania. Current activities include a position on the Board with the organization Up the River Endeavors, which is devoted to addressing sustainable development, global peace and social justice. Her work has been featured in Ms. Magazine and she has appeared on Nova, National Geographic Explorer, NPR, and Discovery Health Channel productions. She gives numerous public lectures: the most recent and upcoming include: giving the keynote addresses at the "Women in Science: Molecules to Ecosystems" conference at Indiana State University and the "Science of Gender" conference at Lewis and Clark; lectures in the School of Medicine and the School of Journalism at USC; and a lecture for at the Human Ethology meetings in Bologna, Italy. Dr. Parish recently completed a project in Malawi on childhood growth and development where she supervised USC Master's in Public Health students.

Dr. Nancy Knowlton

Dr. Knowlton holds the Sant Chair in Marine Science in the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition she is a Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of Panama, and is an Adjunct Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her research interests cover marine biodiversity and conservation and the ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics of coral reef organisms. Dr. Knowlton is on the Board of directors of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Coral Reef Alliance, and is on the Board of Advisors of ASSEMBLE (European Marine Biological Laboratories consortium) and The Ocean Foundation (Mark Spaulding). In 2009 she received the Peter Benchley Award for Science in Service of Conservation.

Dr. Jeremy Jackson

Dr. Jackson is a Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Republic of Panama and was the Director of the Center for Marine Diversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Dr. Jackson is the author of more than 100 scientific publications and five books. Recently he was awarded the Paleontological Society Medal, the highest honor given to paleontologists and the Roger Tory Peterson Medal by the Harvard Museum of Natural History. In 2007 he was selected as co-recipient of the International Award for Research in Ecology and Conservation Biology by the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Foundation in Madrid, Spain.

Dr. Jackson has served on committees of the National Research Council, the Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the Science Commission of the Smithsonian Institution and served on the National Board, World Wildlife Fund United States for several years. In 2010, he joined the Science Advisory Board for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition, he was Professor of Ecology at the Johns Hopkins University from 1971 to 1985.

Dr. Jackson's current research includes the long-term impacts of human activities on the oceans and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the gradual formation of the Isthmus of Panama. He co-founded the Panama Paleontology Project in 1986, an international group of some 30 scientists, to help support his isthmian research. He has also worked extensively on the ecology of coral reef communities and the tempo and mode of speciation in the sea. Dr. Jackson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and received the Secretary's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service of the Smithsonian Institution in 1997 and the UCSD Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Science and Engineering in 2002. His work on overfishing was chosen by Discover magazine as the outstanding environmental achievement of 2001. He has served on committees and boards of the World Wildlife Fund US, the National Research Council, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the Science Commission of the Smithsonian Institution. 

Dr. Jackson's Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Courtney Browne

Courtney Browne is currently a technology resource teacher for San Diego Unified School District. She designs and implements district-wide professional development for teachers through the Integrated 21st Century (i21) Interactive Classroom Initiative, which brings technology tools, including an interactive whiteboard and class set of netbooks, to every classroom in the district. Ms. Browne helps teachers utilize technology in effective and innovative ways that increase engagement and student participation in the learning process.

Ms. Browne has taught biology at both the high school and middle school levels, as well as art and computer literacy classes. Her love for teaching began by working in outdoor educational settings, including the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tallgrass prairie in Nebraska, the beaches of Long Island, as well as the Birch Aquarium in San Diego. She received a B.A. in Biology and Studio Art from Hollins University, an M. Ed from UCSD and most recently an administrative credential from San Diego State University.

In 2007, Ms. Browne was awarded San Diego Unified School District Teacher of the Year. She inspired her students through interdisciplinary projects that provided them with real world, hands-on experiences. Through field trips, data collection, video creation, and volunteer work, students shared their understandings and new awareness of the world around them. For her creative ways of connecting science, art, and the environment, she received an Ambassador for the Planet Award from the Wyland Foundation. She continues to advocate for STEM programs and teaches with the BeWISE Program engaging young women in science.

Debra Hubers

Debra Hubers is the Co-Founder of La Vita Compounding Pharmacy. She has an education degree from Minnesota State University and a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado. She has spent over 34 years in health care finance, education and technology where she was a Senior Executive Consultant for Superior Consultant serving in such capacities as Acting CEO, VP of Sales and VP of Business Development. She was the President of Imperial Technology Solutions (ITS) a division of Imperial Bank. ITS provides software that seamlessly integrates credit/ATM card transactions and risk management systems into provider practice management systems.

Ms. Hubers established herself as a national speaker on healthcare market reform and became a recognized authority on issues including healthcare payment processing, healthcare EDI (electronic data interchange), employer group purchasing, provider outcome measurement and healthcare financial risk management.

Prior to joining Imperial Bank, Hubers founded System One, a subsidiary of Bank One, and served as vice president of sales and marketing. She founded two other businesses: Colorado Health Care Purchasing Alliance and Quadrogy, Inc. She taught at the University of Colorado, Denver University and Bastyr University San Diego; and served as a therapist at Colorado Mental Health Institute of Fort Logan and Pueblo.

Ron Jessee

Ron Jessee was the Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts for the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). He began his educational career in 1975 as a theatre, dance and music teacher in the Grossmont Union High School District. From 1996 to 2001, Ron served as the Assistant Principal of Monte Vista and Grossmont High Schools 

Upon his arrival at the SDCOE in 2001, Mr. Jessee created the innovative VAPA Standards 101-103 Workshops, recognized throughout California as a model for standards based professional development. He is also the founder and facilitator of the San Diego Arts Network and the Co-Founder of the Arts Education Resource Organization of San Diego. In his position with the SDCOE, Mr. Jessee facilitates the needs of the 42 county school districts, comprising 680 schools and 490,000 students. Mr. Jessee is a sought after keynote speaker and travels frequently to Sacramento to meet with the California CISC and CCSESA Regional Arts Leads. He is also a member of the Kennedy Center Partners in Education

Dr. Kathryn Mengerink

Dr. Mengerink is a Lecturer in the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of California, San Diego. She is also Director of the Ocean Program at the Environmental Law Institute where she researches law and policy to support effective ocean management. 

Current work includes developing innovative approaches to addressing cumulative impacts to West Coast marine ecosystems; supporting Alaska Natives communities’ engagement in Arctic coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP); and examining the legal ramifications of the federal CMSP framework. Dr. Mengerink is a lecturer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She serves on the editorial board for the Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal. Before joining ELI, she served as research associate at the Law of the Sea Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps (UCSD) and a J.D. with a Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law from UC Berkeley.

John Spiegel

John Spiegel has worked in science education for over 14 years and now serves as Science Coordinator for the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) which provides services for the 42 school districts and five community college districts in the county. SDCOE has 76 schools and 499,850 students, including the 12,000 students educated each year through the Juvenile Court and Community Schools. He holds a B.A. in physics as well as a M.A. in Educational Leadership. His background includes several years of teaching science, leadership as a science administrator at the secondary level, and as curriculum leader in science for San Diego Unified School District. In addition, Mr. Spiegel has worked as a high school principal and K-8 school principal. In all capacities, he has worked to build STEM programs in schools through program development and collaboration with the business and local community partnerships in science.

Green Youth Council

Amelia M.

Amelia is a leader, an artist, an athlete. She is a part of the Kids Eco Club because she wants to see how she can have an impact on the world. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Gandhi. Amelia started playing soccer from a young age and she still does. Amelia also participated in Martial Arts. Amelia loves animals and has a mini zoo at home, along with her horse. Amelia has taken equestrian classes all over the county, and learned how different each area is. Amelia has been taught many things from her parents. Her dad helps her with homework and her mom teaches her different ideas with each job. At one point Amelia’s mom worked at Cuyamaca College and the Water Conservation Garden, where Amelia’s class went to field trips and learned about wildlife, plants, and of course, the environment. Amelia was recognized as an “Outstanding Ambassador for Civic Youth Engagement” by the San Diego Foundation.

Evan L.

Evan is a 9th grade Seminar student in Southern California. He is passionate about eliminating single use plastic bags due to his concern about marine animals and the growing Pacific Garbage Patch. His article “The Problem With Plastic Bags” was featured in the April 2012 edition of Earth Times. Evan publically spoke before the Solana Beach City Council members and encouraged them to vote yes and reduce single use plastic bags in their community. Moments after this the council voted unanimously in favor making Solana Beach the first community in San Diego County to pass such legislation. He started a petition to ban the sale and distribution of single use plastic bags within the City Of San Diego as well. Evan is a member of the Solana Beach Clean and Green Committee, which is instrumental in performing energy audits, outreach, sustainability evaluations and recycling for the community. In addition, Evan has spoken out on the need to save the honey bees as well as written an informative article on bees. Evan has been recognized as an “Outstanding Ambassador for Civic Youth Engagement” by the San Diego Foundation. His favorite subjects in school are math and science. He loves sports and his favorites are soccer, tennis, basketball, skiing and surfing. He thinks the environment is very important because without nature we cannot survive. He believes we all need to work together to protect nature and all the animals in it because they all contribute their part to the ecosystem. 

Gage S.

Gage is high school student in southern California. He is co-president of his school’s Student Council. His favorite subjects are math, science and art. He loves drawing, running, basketball, animals, and being outdoors. Gage wants to learn more about protecting the environment. He is an avid gardener and enjoys finding bugs and reptiles. Gage hopes to inspire and lead others to raise their eco-consciousness. Gage was recognized as an “Outstanding Ambassador for Civic Youth Engagement” by the San Diego Foundation. For 2012 Earth Day, Gage collaborated with grocery stores and schools to have hundreds of students decorate paper bags with messages about sustainability. The bags were used to bag groceries on Earth Day.

Milena C-W.

Milena is a high schooler in Southern California. Her vision of a sustainable earth is one in which there is public transportation available to people all over the world, and where students have access to the knowledge and learning necessary to ponder and solve the environmental problems of the world. She enjoys walking around her community and hanging out with friends, rollerblading, training for track and field, and relaxing. Milena joined KEC because she has a passion for science and would like to use that passion to support the student environmental movement and help create a world that educates people so that they can make the best decision. Milena was recognized as an "Outstanding Ambassador for Civic Youth Engagement" by the San Diego Foundation and has participated in the San Diego Youth Leadership Summits convened by Kids Eco Club, University of San Diego, Public Conversations West, and Intellectual Capital, Inc. During the summit her group helped organize a community clean up in Terra Alta and City Heights. This was organized in collaboration with Dad's club, Wilson Middle School, Central Elementary School, Global Institute for Public Strategies, and City Heights Community Environment Corporation and contribute to their much larger clean-up event. We organized this in order to educate people in the community about what is and isn't recyclable, and help them sort through what was being picked up in the park. She also enjoys programming and constructing robots with the FIRST Robotics Competition team at her school.

Nikolas K.

Nikolas is a 9th grader. He has traveled extensively with his family, visiting most third world countries. He has captured and tagged endangered Morelet's crocodiles and worked with a research team to better understand how the crocodiles can be saved. His passion is to protect ocean fisheries. He shares information about ocean conservation with students and schools. Nikolas started a KEC club at his school focused on global environmental issues. His club has participated in jungle and marine research in Belize. They have also conducted research in Hawaii through the University of Hawaii related to ocean fish. While in Hawaii, his club toured the Monsanto facilities. Nikolas was recognized as an “Outstanding Ambassador for Civic Youth Engagement” by the San Diego Foundation in 2012.

Olivia P.

Olivia is a high school student in Southern California. She started an annual habitat clean-up of a lake in her community and has received support from community leaders and the public. Her favorite subjects in school are World Geography and Math. She is a very athletic and enjoys playing travel softball, swimming, and field hockey. Olivia’s love of nature started at a very young age while camping with her family on secluded beaches in Mexico. Seeing the beauty in the untouched beaches inspired Olivia to help restore and replenish nearby natural resources for future generations. Olivia was recognized as an “Outstanding Ambassador for Civic Youth Engagement” by the San Diego Foundation.

Oscar C.

Oscar is a high school school student and the President of his school eco club. He organized an annual beach clean-up near his school and along with his club, taught hundreds of children how to make beautiful flowers from plastic water bottles at the 2012 Earth Day Fair. Oscar is well spoken and has been interviewed on television and in print for his thoughts on sustainability. His friends call him Russell because he is very kind like the character in the Disney movie UP. Oscar was recognized as an “Outstanding Ambassador for Civic Youth Engagement” by the San Diego Foundation.

Priscilla H.

Priscilla is a high school student who is passionate about animal rights issues, human health, and the environment. She is always enthusiastic about leadership and community service opportunities, so she organized an upcycling program, TerraCycle, for her school. The upcycled goods are exchanged for good deeds for humans and the environment, such as giving clean water and planting trees in American forests. Priscilla also started a vegan lunch and environmental art stand for Earth Day, which helped raise the awareness on topics such as reusing, carbon footprint, and animal rights. In addition to animal rights and the environment, Priscilla enjoys playing the violin and open water swimming. She is a certified San Diego Junior Lifeguard. Priscilla is excited to be selected as part of the Green Youth Council and hopes to bring her “Meatless Mondays” initiative into reality for the 330,000 students at the San Diego Unified School District and other participating private schools in the county.

Shelby M.

Shelby is a high school school student. She loves to garden and spend time at the beach. She is involved in student government and has a great sense of humor. Shelby is a natural leader and well-liked by all who know her. 


Sophia H.

Sophia is a high school senior, an advocate, blogger, youth delegate and athlete. She became interested in protecting the environment in the 4th grade, when she studied climate change. She started an environmental website at the age of ten and continues to run it. She has spoken on her school district's TV channel on environmental issues, organized trash clean-ups, recycling programs, and actively participated in her school's environmental club. As a 9th grader, she helped to support and coordinate her former elementary school environmental club. Recently, she spoke on the importance of advocacy at the San Francisco Bay Area's YES Conference (Youth for Environmental Sustainability). She is the resident blogger for KEC and is working to engage youth on a statewide and national scale to prevent arctic drilling.

In her free time, Sophia spends time with her family, swims competitively and is a delegate to Youth and Government of California.

Spencer H.

Spencer is middle school student. He is passionate about music and loves playing both the piano and saxophone. Spencer is also active with swimming, robotics and the Boy Scouts. Spencer has participated several scout sponsored community events including “Get to Know Your Fireman” day and neighborhood trash clean ups.” Spencer loves to travel and has been to 17 countries where he has learned about many cultures, environments and animals of the world. Spencer loves owls and has collected owl pellets and participated in many owl educational workshops at school including owl pellet dissection. Spencer has also spent time with Nature Guides learning about the endangered Big Horn Sheep in the Anza Borrego Desert. Spencer has a very kind heart and has joined the Kids Eco Club to gather fellow students to assist with Neighborhood cleanups and making music that can educate kids about ecology.