Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr. USN, a native of Portsmouth, Va., retired from the Navy in 2009 after more than 32 years of service as a Surface Warfare Officer. As one of the Navy’s top experts in base operations and facility support, Hering built a team recognized as the best in environmental protection and sustainable innovation throughout the Department of Defense, and he received the Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management from President George W. Bush. In 2009, Hering joined the University of San Diego, where as Vice President for Business Services and Administration he initiated numerous sustainable measures on the campus including the installation of the largest solar system of any private campus in the country. Hering comes to ILACSD from the Center for Sustainable Energy having served as the President and Executive Director for five years. As Executive Director, Len leads the organization toward its vision of a zero waste, litter-free, and environmentally engaged San Diego region.
Hering currently serves on several nonprofit boards and is the Chairman of the Board for the Charter Schools of San Diego. Over the past 20 years, he has proudly served in various capacities on more than 13 different boards. Hering holds a B.S. in Meteorology and Oceanography from S.U.N.Y. Maritime College, an M.S in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and an M.B.M from Salve Regina University.
With Sharon, his wife of 39 years, Hering has three sons and five grandchildren who he credits for his work in sustainability and commitment to bettering the environment saying, “They are my inspiration for getting this right and doing what I do daily.”
Natalie Roberts-DeCarli oversees all ILACSD program implementation, giving input and strategy for program and organizational goals, partnerships, and fundraising. Ms. Roberts-DeCarli works with the development team on efforts to fund ILACSD events and programs, working with businesses, community groups, schools, and government agencies. Ms. Roberts-DeCarli serves on the Keep America Beautiful National Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Advisory Committee as well as their National Great American Cleanup Advisory Committee, where she lends her expertise about pollution prevention infrastructure and volunteerism to a network of non-profits across the country. Natalie received her degree from UC Irvine, majoring in Environmental Health Science and Policy with a minor in Education. Her longstanding tenure on the ILACSD team, professionalism, and her dedication to cooperation, teamwork, and partnerships made her a perfect fit for her new role as Senior Director of Operations.
Ann Hirsch leads ILACSD’s finance department. She prepares financial and managerial accounting reports for ILACSD, including accounts payable and receivable, serves as our human resource representative and completes important administrative and bookkeeping-related services. Ann has been at ILACSD for more than 10 years. Her extensive background includes nearly 20 years of bookkeeping and administrative experience.
Emily Nelson, a graduate of Brigham Young University, first joined ILACSD as an Environmental Educator and now oversees the Education department as the Director of Education. Emily has a diverse background with experience teaching youth of all ages through outdoor and informal education with such organizations as Girls Scouts San Diego, the YMCA, and the National Archives and Records Administration of Washington, D.C.. Under Emily’s leadership, the education department engages K-Adult students in hands-on activities that connect them to nature and inspire them to protect our environment. Emily believes deeply in the power of small, simple, sustained actions towards a greater good. In her spare time, Emily enjoys hiking, camping, jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with family.
Lauren, a native New Yorker, moved out to San Diego after a lifelong dream of living in California. She has always valued resource conservation and living a minimalistic lifestyle. Lauren deeply respects and values nature, animals, and the connection of all living things. She enjoys working closely with San Diegan’s every day, giving them the knowledge, power, and ability to make impactful choices in their own and others’ lives. When she is not in the office, you can find her outside hiking, collecting houseplants, and traveling to as many National Parks as possible.
San Diego has been Ian’s adopted home for 20 years and he has his feet firmly planted in the sand of Pacific Beach. Ian has spent his entire career, since graduating from San Jose State University in marketing communications, expanding his experience in marketing, media relations and corporate partnerships. His past roles include public relations director for a major sporting event producer; communications manager for Mayor Cheryl Cox at the city of Chula Vista; and, marketing director for a large clean energy nonprofit. Ian joined I Love A Clean San Diego to help develop its marketing and fundraising activities, and to apply his passion for the environment and his affection for nonprofit work at an organization that truly serves the communities of San Diego County. Ian is a surfer and has traveled and lived throughout Europe, which took him to the Swiss Alps for his love of skiing and snowboarding. The glacier in Switzerland he used to ski on is now completely melted.
Molly hails from Carlsbad with a deep enthusiasm for inspiring change in others through environmental education; highlighting that small changes in everyday life can have big impacts. She graduated from the University of San Diego with a BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in Business Administration. While in school, Molly held a variety of internships, including the San Diego Zoo Safari Park College Relations Program, City of San Diego Think Blue Program, and our very own Community Programs Department. Starting out as an Environmental Educator, she now works as the Youth Education Manager where she oversees our K-12 classroom presentations and other youth education efforts throughout San Diego County. Outside of work, Molly enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, exploring local bike paths and finding new breakfast spots.
Valerie is from Escondido, and grew up hiking and exploring San Diego County. She received her B.S. in Conservation Resource Studies from UC Berkeley, with a concentration in Oceanography and Marine Science. Her background is in non-profit work, and Valerie has worked with the Surfrider Foundation, the International Marine Mammal Project, and KIDS for the BAY. She loves working with students and teachers to help others become passionate about their environment! Outside of work, Valerie loves cooking, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.
Layah is the Administrative Assistant for I Love A Clean San Diego. Layah first joined the ILACSD team as an Outreach Assistant. As a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University, Layah earned her degree in Management and Global Business. She is passionate about the environment and believes in doing her part to live a zero-waste lifestyle. Layah advocates for ILACSD programs around San Diego County and serves as a member on the Young Adult Advisory Board for the environmental non-profit Plant With Purpose. In her free time, Layah enjoys trying new recipes, rock-climbing, traveling, and playing classical guitar.
Nik is a lifelong San Diegan with a strong connection to environmental stewardship. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara, he spent years working with organizations like the San Diego Oceans Foundation and the San Diego Canyonlands while earning his Master in City Planning from San Diego State University. Nik’s background in regional planning and environmental policy compliment his experience in communications and public outreach. After working for a few years with local government agencies, the City of San Diego’s Water Conservation Department, and SANDAG, he is excited to be back working with his first love, environmental activism. When he’s not organizing volunteer events, you can find him experimenting with food, exploring the craft beer scene, and running.
Shawn Fettel is a native Californian. She is passionate about teaching young people the importance of ocean health and conservation by encouraging everyone to act as good stewards to the planet. Before working at ILACSD, Shawn was a Senior Instructor at SeaWorld where she educated students and the public about marine animals, conservancy and how positive daily actions – like picking up trash and recycling – can impact our oceans and the animals that live there. Shawn developed and taught the Ocean Link Lab Science Class incorporating observation, discovery, and inquiry-based learning. She also hosted instructional presentations at Killer Whale, Sea Lion, and Dolphin amphitheaters. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Shawn will continue to develop curriculum and teach environmental education programs for schools, youth groups and scouts. Shawn loves to encourage kids to connect and care for animals and our environment. She volunteers with several organizations and believes that happiness comes from giving back to your community.
Carly is a native Southern Californian, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Panama ’12-’14), and Geographic Information Systems Certificate holder from San Diego Mesa College. She has dual B.A. degrees in Environmental Studies and Spanish from UC Santa Barbara, and has been working in the environmental field ever since, including working in multiple roles at I Love A Clean San Diego as the Administrative Assistant (May-November 2017), Community Programs Coordinator (November 2017-December 2020), and now ArcGIS Specialist (February 2021-present). As the ArcGIS Specialist at I Love A Clean San Diego, Carly develops all of the maps and dashboards found on the Impact Hub, which keeps the community connected to the data illustrating the tremendous impacts the organization has on our environment and waterways throughout the county. When Carly isn’t crafting cartographic creations at I Love A Clean San Diego, she is a full-time GIS Analyst at Environmental Science Associates, and can be found cooking heirloom beans and soaking up the sun in the great outdoors in her free time.