Contact ESWP


Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education
P.O. Box 454
Bishop, CA 93515

Questions or more information on the Eastern Sierra Watershed Project please contact project coordinators.

Leigh Parmenter

Katie Quinlan


 Katie Quinlan                            Watershed Program Coordinator

eswp web photo10 Katie’s background includes teaching 6th grade environmental education programs in Oregon, directing an adventure program for high risk youth, coaching a Nordic ski team and spending several years as a classroom teacher. From these teaching experiences she developed the firm belief that the best education happens in small groups where students are experientially involved in the process. Ms. Quinlan says the ESWP program represents a project where experience is the driving force in curriculum design, every student is individually involved in each study. “No one sits back and watches.”


Leigh Parmenter                            Watershed Project Coordinator

eswp web photo16Leigh arrived in Bishop in 1988 with a degree in Natural Resources and a teaching credential. Her first years in the community were spent working in natural resource related jobs locally and out of state for the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Transportation, California Department of Fish and Game, and private consultants. While raising her children, Parmenter saw a need for new and different programs for the children in the community. She was instrumental in the creation of a parent participation preschool and a summer enrichment program for elementary school students in Bishop. In addition, she was an actively-involved Girl Scout troop leader and organizer of weekend camps, summer day camps and many other activities for the Girls Scouts troops of the Owens Valley. Parmenter was involved in the initial design of the Eastern Sierra Watershed Project in collaboration with the local teachers and scientists from local agencies. She says, “the excitement the program generated in the students, teachers, parents and volunteer docents is tremendous. Together we have had the amazing opportunity to observe and monitor the changes that are occurring with the re-watering of the Lower Owens River.”

 Board of Directors

DR. JOHN D. WEHAUSEN, President of the Board, is an applied population ecologist who has studied bighorn sheep populations in California for 28 years, beginning with his Ph.D. dissertation work in the Sierra Nevada. In the Owens Valley region he has carried out intensive studies of bighorn sheep populations inDR. JOHN D. WEHAUSEN the White and Inyo Mountains in addition to the Sierra Nevada. Since 1984 he has also researched bighorn sheep populations in the eastern Mojave Desert. His population studies of bighorn sheep are long-term research projects intended to factor out and compare variables driving population dynamics in different ecological settings. He began as a botanist and plant ecologist and moved into herbivore ecology through in interest in the herbivore-vegetation interface. Consequently, his studies of bighorn sheep encompass a large trophic spectrum from influences of plant communities and plant phenology on sheep nutrition to the predators that prey on the sheep and potentially influence their habitat selection. His studies also have a strong conservation orientation. Beginning in the 1970s, he has worked closely with various resource management agencies to help establish and carry out data-based conservation programs for bighorn sheep. In the past decade, Dr. Wehausen has expanded his research to include cranial morphometric studies relative to taxonomic questions of bighorn sheep. He is now also engaged in molecular population genetic studies of this animal. He founded and serves as President of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation, is an Associate Research Scientist with the University of California’s White Mountain Research Station, and lives in Inyo County. Dr. Wehausen has published his work in numerous journals and is considered the leading authority on the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

lo lyness sm LO LYNESS works as a program coordinator in the Education Services Office of the Inyo County Office of Education, where most of her work is providing professional development for teachers. She holds both a multiple subject teaching credential and an administrative services credential. Her background includes many years with Monterey County’s Outdoor Education program as a teacher, site director and program administrator. More recently, in her current capacity, she worked with ESICE in developing and coordinating the professional development component of the Eastern Sierra Watershed Project. In addition to a wide variety of other responsibilities, she continues to coordinate the month-long Inyo County Outdoor Science School, a residential program serving all the students in Inyo County in 5th or 6th grade.

eswp web photo06DEBRA HAWK graduated from California State University, Bakersfield in 1990. In late 1999, Debra joined the California Department of Fish and Game’s Region 6 Bishop Field Office, bringing to the Eastern Sierra 10 years of experience in both the public and private sector. In addition to operating her own consulting, Debra also spent 3 years working in the Mitigation Division for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, traveling the country in an effort to mitigate fire and flood disasters. Today, living and working in the beautiful Owens Valley, Debra most enjoys bringing a ‘healthy habitats’ and ‘resource conservation’ message to those who share this valley.


eswp web photo22HILLARY BEHR is originally from New Hampshire. She moved out to the Eastern Sierra during the summer of 2009 to work for the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Experiences program after earning a B.S. of Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire. Since then Hillary has worked for many environmental education programs in all kinds of formats including after school programs, field trips (including with the Eastern Sierra Watershed Program), summer camps, and Inyo County Outdoor Science School. Hillary currently serves as an AmeriCorps member at the Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Environmental Management Office, where she works on wetland restoration as well as designing and running environmental education programs. “My goal is to encourage the natural curiosity and excitement that children have about the outdoors. This curiosity and wonder can lead to a lifelong connection to nature, which is crucial not only for the health of the environment, but also for the health and happiness of people throughout their life”, Hillary says.  She is excited to be involved in ESICE, which she believes is a unique program that greatly benefits the youth of Inyo County.

DR. TOM STEPHENSON is a Senior Environmental Scientist with California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He is the program leader for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program and the wildlife supervisor for the northern portion of CDFW’s Inland Deserts Region. Prior to becoming the program leader, he was the bighorn sheep biologist for the Recovery Program. Tom is also an affiliate assistant professor with the University of Montana and Idaho State University. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in wildlife biology from Colorado State University, Virginia Tech , and the University of Idaho, respectively. He was formerly a research wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife and director of the Kenai Moose Research Center, as well as an affiliate assistant professor with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.