Committees for Land, Air, Water and Species (CLAWS) 



 Michael_Gibeon.jpeg Michael Gibian serves as Vice President of the CLAWS board and its Transportation Futures Committee. He is a long time teacher and practitioner of Muscular Therapy in Santa Barbara. As a passionate cyclist and alternative transportation advocate, Michael hopes to contribute to building a safe and thoughtful transportation network that our community can be proud of for generations to come.

Greg Helms serves as Board Treasurer for CLAWS, and on its Transportation Futures Committee. He works in ocean and fisheries conservation in Santa Barbara, and contributes to various environmental projects and campaigns. A 30-year Santa Barbara resident, Greg attended UCSB, receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science with an emphasis in public policy analysis. He also serves on the board of Gaviota Coast Conservancy. Greg enjoys hiking, surfing, and diving in Santa Barbara's world-class wet and dry environments.  


Nancy Black serves CLAWS as Board President, and with communications, web design and social advocacy. With almost three decades in journalism, film production and publishing with Mercury Press International, the media services agency she co-founded in 1991, she writes a daily column syndicated by Chicago Tribune to about a hundred periodicals worldwide with millions of readers. She's co-authored two books, published about ten others, and produced the feature documentary, "Better Together" (2019), as well as many short films. She also serves on the boards of Gaviota Coast Conservancy and Israel Palestine Project. She earned a Bachelor's Degree from UCSB in Studio Arts. Nancy grew up on a sailboat in LA Harbor, went to Ventura High School and has lived on the Central Coast since 1974. 


Matt Buckmaster, CLAWS board member, owns the 30-year-popular Goleta institution known as Island Seed and Feed, specializing in all things organic. He also serves on the board of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens. 

A longtime outdoor and open-space enthusiast, whether in the city or backcountry, Matt considers Goleta his longtime home. “I came here to go to UCSB in 1982, and just really have never felt like I needed to be leaving for anywhere else. The greater SB area has long exported ideas of sustainability and sensibility, and I’m enjoying continuing that tradition with CLAWS.”   

Ken Cullings serves as Board member and Research Guru for CLAWS. Ken received his PhD in Evolutionary Ecology from Berkeley in 1995, and is a soon-to-be retired NASA scientist where he has worked as an evolutionary ecologist for 15 years. He has worked on topics from new organism discovery, to ecosystem resilience to fire, to developing methods for biomediation, to impacts of clear-cutting and other disturbances on forest ecosystems. Ken comes with several ongoing projects including studies of extremophiles in Yellowstone hot springs environments, climate-related ecology in Yellowstone, development of fungal and microbial methods for stream remediation on Western and New Zealand fly fishing waters, and new microbe discovery in New Zealand's geothermal areas. He will continue this work as a Board member of CLAWS and develop new projects with the aim of helping to create healthier environments for humans and wildlife.

Brenton Kelly was born in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia. His father was a Voice of America radio correspondent who then took his family to Southeast Asia to cover the communist insurgency in Vietnam. Brenton still seeks inspiration from those impressionable experiences in Africa and Asia.

In 1980, Brenton came to Southern California to attend UCSB. With a BA in Environmental Studies & Studio Art, he went forth to make beauty of the world. The Isla Vista Recreation & Park District proved a great place to practice the art of land stewardship. For ten years he managed the IVRPD grounds crew and 30+ acres of organic public open space; including a public events theater, community gardens, beach bluff top playgrounds and passive use conservation lands with a State funded vernal pool restoration project.

In 1998 Brenton, with old friend Matt Buckmaster, bought Island Seed & Feed, the south coast organic (read: Permaculture) headquarters for the farm & garden. For the next ten years it served well as an outlet for Brenton’s desire to share the knowledge behind least toxic, low-impact human activities. Then Warren Brush & Paul Swensen came in with news that they'd bought 450 acres in the Cuyama Valley.

In 2008 Brenton and his wife, Jan Smith, moved to Quail Spring to help advance the food production systems and program offerings, by farming and teaching. Brenton has served on the Board of Directors of Quail Springs as Treasurer and is the bookkeeper for the farm. He brings to his teachings over 30 years of experience in soil building, gardening, non-toxic land management and animal husbandry. His passion for land regeneration has led him toward the work of Bill Zeedyk and Craig Sponholtz, and in 2011 he studied with Craig, and began to implement this work through projects and course offerings at Quail Springs Permaculture, and the Quivira Coalition.

“It’s our responsibility,” Brenton said, “to understand and mimic the patterns and the processes of the natural world and to integrate this into our ethics and behavior.”