Clean Up The Lake Staff & Key Volunteers

Colin West, Founder and Executive Director

Colin West, Founder and Executive Director

Cleanupthelake@gmail.com
(530) 562-7131

Colin West has 10 years of experience as a SCUBA diver and is a certified PADI Dive Master. With a decade of experience as the Owner, Director and Executive Producer (EP) of a film & television production company, he has managed overseas operations, including project logistics, documentation, & personnel from 5 to 30 people on set at a time. His content has aired on networks such as Amazon Prime, ABC International, HULU, Virigin Media, In Flight Entertainment programs & more. Colin’s expertise in multi-faceted project management, campaign development & SCUBA help to guide our organization to success.

SADYE-EASLER

Sadye Easler, Programs Manager

sadye@cleanupthelake.org
(603) 568-7039

Originally from New Hampshire, Sadye grew up with a passion for exploring natural areas and saw the importance of restoring and protecting these wild spaces. Sadye has attended Johnson State College in VT with a focus on Environmental Science, Natural Resources Management. She eventually moved to the Tahoe Basin and fell in love with Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains where she eventually joined the CUTL team as our Programs Manager. Sadye’s current focus is the intricacies of logistics for the 72 mile SCUBA clean up of Lake Tahoe as well as finding alternate shore based litter mitigation programs CUTL can participate in locally, nationally and throughout the world.

Hannah Urrutia, Data Management Coordinator

hannah@cleanupthelake.org
(408) 402-2755

Hannah majored in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservational Biology at UC Davis. Her past work includes animal care at SF Aquarium of the Bay and volunteering for restoration ecology organizations. Her knowledge and passion for conservation inspired her to work with Clean Up the Lake. In her role as an environmental intern, Hannah has been working with our PHD environmental scientist and researchers at UC Davis TERC & Desert Research Institute (DRI) helping CUTL implement their litter sorting method. Hannah could not be more right when she recently said, “The more we know about what the waste is, why it’s ended up in the lake, and where, the more we can do to prevent it from happening again”.

Brad Flora, Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator

brad@cleanupthelake.org

Originally from the PNW, Brad moved to Lake Tahoe 10 years ago to attend Sierra Nevada University so he could play outside everyday while earning degrees in Ski Resort Management & Outdoor Leadership. Between his education, working many years in the outdoor industry, and partaking almost daily in outdoor recreation – he understands the importance of responsible & sustainable tourism in a place as sacred & pristine as Tahoe. Brad says, “It’s more than picking up trash… it’s a movement towards higher awareness & education.” While he briefly deviated to the startup world, his heart lies in giving back to this beautiful place we call home. Brad is social & active by nature which is perfect for his role in volunteer coordination, logistics, and daily operations.

hayden farris

Hayden Farris, Organizational & Administrative Assistant

hayden@cleanupthelake.org

As a Texas born outdoor enthusiast, Hayden came to Lake Tahoe 6 years ago on his next adventure and found himself in love with the surrounding landscape. While exploring all reaches of Tahoe he realized that there was a trash crisis taking place. With a rise in traffic and lake usage came a significant increase in garbage left behind on the beaches, trails, and waterways of Lake Tahoe. After joining with his roommates on clean-up efforts along roadways of Lake Tahoe – he refocused his efforts on volunteering with Clean Up The Lake. Now as the “jack of all trades” Hayden alternates from roll to roll as the administrative organizer for Clean Up The Lake.

Meghan Burk, Chairman of the Board

Meghan Burk, Chief Partnership Officer and Board Chair

meghanburkmedia@gmail.com
(802) 373-2235

As a west coast transplant from Vermont, Meghan finds herself drawn to new experiences, travel and environmental stewardship projects. As the Owner of MDOT Connective, Meghan Burk directs and manages a vast array of projects from coast to coast, related to production and small business development. She is an environmental advocate and community connector, helping to find solutions to any challenge at hand. Her love for Lake Tahoe and background in sustainable development inspired her involvement with Clean Up The Lake. Meghan is currently transitioning from President of the Board to a member of our staff as the Chief Partnership Officer. To top it off she is an avid clean-up diver who is ready to bring awareness about plastic pollution from one lake to the next.

zoe harrold

Zoe Harrold PhD, Environmental Scientist & Grant Writer

Zoe Harrold PhD, met the Clean Up The Lake team back in 2019 shortly after her team at Desert Research Institute discovered microplastics in Lake Tahoe. After their initial introduction, Zoe began working for herself as a consulting environmental scientist & grant writer; where CUTL became one of her clients. Dr. Harold received her PhD in Geomicrobiology from University of Washington, and her background, experience, interest in research science, data driven studies and the environment all contribute massively to the success of Clean Up The Lake.

brandon morales

Brandon Morales, Bookkeeper and Financial Strategist

Born and raised in San Diego, Brandon spent summers visiting Lake Tahoe and enjoying all the basin has to offer. He grew up skateboarding, but it was his love for the mountains that brought him here in 2015. His background in accounting and human resources make for a unique combination of attention to detail and compassion for others. Brandon joined the team to help manage the financial side of the organization and ensure the success of various initiatives. Growing up on fishing trips with his father, they would bring a grabber tool and trash bag to clean up along the way. It’s a tradition he keeps to this day and is excited to continue at Clean Up the Lake.

Current Board Members

JEFF COWEN

Jeff Cowen, Board Member

Jeff currently serves as Public Information Officer for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), where he has worked on the communications team from 2006 to 2014 and to which he returned in 2020. As a Tahoe sportfishing captain of eight years, Jeff marveled at the crystal‐clear waters and took in a daily panorama of Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking environs. When the chance to work with Colin West and the team at Clean up the Lake emerged, Jeff saw a natural confluence of his skills and knowledge with a mission that was close to his heart. He came onboard with CUTL as an assistant to the fundraising team and has since been transitioned to the non‐profit’s board of directors. Jeff understands complex policy, large‐ and small‐scale budgets, public and private finance, and collaborative frameworks; and has proven experience in project management, organizational leadership, conflict resolution, public speaking, and strategic communications.

TIARA WASNER

Tiara Wasner, Board Member

Bringing over 14 years of experience in public relations, sales and marketing, social media, event production, promotion coordination, project management and community trend analyses, Tiara has worked with numerous clients throughout California to build and implement successful Communications Plans.

katie senft

Katie Senft, Board Member

Katie is an associate specialist, scientific diver, and member of the UC Davis Diving Control Board at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. During the past 10 years, she has worked on various projects from monitoring water quality and nearshore algae growth to researching a new and novel approach to restore the lake’s clarity by removing the invasive mysis shrimp. The ability to observe the lake on an intimate level has inspired Katie’s most recent work focusing on microplastics in Lake Tahoe’s surface waters, bottom sediments, municipal waters and biota. She has extensive knowledge and experience on the joys and challenges of diving year-round in a high alpine lake. Katie prefers “warm” water diving in the summer months but loves Lake Tahoe’s peaceful and exceptionally clear waters in the winter as well.

mike peron

Mike Peron, Board Member

Aside from his jobs that pay the bills, Mike serves the community in a multitude of ways. He’s an active board member at Tahoe Chamber, Boys & Girls Club, and T.R.Y.P. He’s an associate board member for the League to Save Lake Tahoe and Tahoe South, as well as Emcee of non-profit events such as: Live Violence Free Gala, Soroptimist Fundraisers, Blue Ribbon Awards, etc. Mike is proud to call Lake Tahoe home for over 10 years and it holds a very special place in his heart that delivers world class recreation mixed with world class entertainment! His passion for people, music, sports, dancing, and the great outdoors can be felt by all in the community. #LivinItAndLovinIt

Honorary Crew Members

jason smith

Jason Smith, Rescue Diver and Underwater Cinematographer

Growing up on the northeast shore of Lake Tahoe, Jason discovered a love for filming by sneaking off with his parents’ video camera to film his friends doing stunts. Today, Jason owns a thriving video production company where he enjoys telling other people’s stories, particularly those who are helping to make the world a better place. Not only is Jason a dedicated CUTL diver he also captures breathtaking footage of our clean up projects. Jason’s dedication, light hearted energy and sarcasm make him a well appreciated member of our team.

paul colby

Paul Colby, Dive Master and Extraordinary Volunteer

As a North Lake Tahoe local, Paul has played a crucial role in many different aspects of our clean ups over the last year. Not only is he a certified Dive Master and tank wrangler extraordinaire, he has let us use his MasterCraft, ‘Sparkles’ to transport our dive volunteers on the water. Paul’s kindness and generosity have made him a part of the CUTL family and allowed us to clean miles of Lake Tahoe.

dave hoop

Dave Hoop, Legendary Boat Driver and Litter Chauffeur

Dave has been volunteering as a CUTL boat driver for two summers. On every early morning out with the crew, Dave reliably shows up with a big smile and the willingness to fill his boat with volunteers and the litter we remove from the lake. His generosity doesn’t stop there… in between dives you can find him assisting with the organizing, bagging and labeling of the litter – a crucial aspect of our data collection. Dave’s good energy and ‘down for anything’ attitude has significantly contributed to the ease of removing litter from Lake Tahoe.

ludovic fukete

Ludovic Fukete Cinematographer and Freediving Legend

Ludo has been a huge support to our organization both on and off the water. His dedication, strength and skills have greatly contributed to the success of our scuba clean up programs. Whether it is freediving for litter or capturing picturesque shots, we can always count on him to show up with a smile!

devin blom

Devin Blom, GIS Analyst

Devin came on board as a volunteer with CUTL in the spring of 2021. He is an Archaeologist / GIS Analyst and founder of Battle Born GIS (est. 2015). He holds a B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Archaeology from University of Nevada, Reno. Devin joined the CUTL team to assist with GIS-based mapping tasks. His map creations help bring to life areas of interest that we have identified around the lake (hotspots, heavy lift items etc.) These maps help us paint a picture of the litter problems surrounding Lake Tahoe.