Our Staff


Mike Parker - Executive DirectorMike is the Executive Director of CIES, overseeing the day-to-day operations for the organization since January 2017. He received a BS from the University of Vermont and a MS in Natural Resources from Humboldt State University. Mike has over 25 years in natural resource management, research and consulting experience throughout the western United States with an emphasis on threatened and endangered species, wetlands, and birds (particularly seabirds and waterfowl). His interest in natural resources and wildlife ecology began as a young boy hunting and fishing with his father in Vermont. Since 2010, Mike has worked for CIES as a seabird biologist studying Ashy Storm-Petrels, Scripps’s Murrelets and Guadalupe Murrelets. Mike lives in Davis, CA with his two boys (Kyle and Cody). In their spare time, the Parkers enjoy being outdoors while they bike, hike, rock climb, camp, fish, bird watch and rock hound. Mike also laces up his skates once a week to play ice hockey – something he can’t seem to get out of his system.
Darrell L. WhitworthDarrell received a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology at UC, Davis in 1989. He has conducted seabird research in the North Pacific Ocean since 1991, and since 1994 has concentrated his studies on the conservation of Synthlibormaphus murrelets. In 1995, he developed the night-lighting at-sea capture technique which has been essential in many demographic, population monitoring, radio telemetry, and genetic studies of Synthliboramphus and Brachyramphus murrelets. In 2000, he also developed the spotlight survey technique which he has used to determine the distribution and status of Scripps’s and Guadalupe murrelet colonies throughout their range in California, USA and Baja, California, Mexico. Darrell led or collaborated in radio telemetry studies of Scripps's Murrelets (1995-97) and Cassin’s Auklets (1999-2000) in southern California, and Marbled Murrelets in southeast Alaska (1998, 2005-2008) and Oregon (2016-ongoing). From 2000 to 2014, he conducted an important population monitoring study of Scripps’s Murrelets at Anacapa Island, California documenting the improvement in hatching success and colony growth following the eradication of introduced rats. In 2007, he was the lead author of published a manual sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that described research techniques for use in field studies of bird populations and ecological aspects of avian influenza viruses. Darrell has visited Asia annually since 2011 to assist in numerous studies using the night-lighting and spotlight survey techniques to investigate the distribution and status of Japanese Murrelets and Ancient Murrelets, including studies at Birojima (Miyazaki-ken), Eboshijima and Okinoshima (Fukuoka-ken), Kaminoseki (Yamaguchi-ken), Teuri Island (Hokkaido) and Tobishima (Yamagata-ken) in Japan and Gugul-do/Chibal-do (Shinan County) in South Korea. He is currently revising the Scripps’s Murrelet account for the Birds of North America series and is probably the only person in the world to have captured all 5 species of Synthliboramphus murrelets.
Katy CarterKaty is the Operation's Manager for CIES. She began volunteering on a number of different projects within the Channel Islands when she was 17 and fell in love with the work. Katy gained a love of the outdoors on southern Delaware's Indian River; coneoing, kayaking, and trudging through the mud to explore the unique marsh ecosystem where she grew up. After graduating from New York University in 2011 with a BA, she moved to Ventura, CA shortly after to begin working full time with CIES. You can find her coordinating volunteers on the islands, multitasking various spreadsheets in the office, arranging transportation, out in the field conducting research, and doing whatever she can to make sure that the projects continue to operate smoothly and seamlessly. In her freetime you will most likely find her cooking up something in the kitchen, gardening, or with an instrument in hand.
Jim HowardJim Howard is the lead seabird biologist for CIES on the Channel Islands National Park seabird projects. He has worked for CIES since October 2012. Originally from Shelton, Washington, Jim spent his childhood in the creek behind his house, where his fascination with nature began. After graduating from Western Washington University with a BS in Biology, Jim spent the next 9 years working on reintroduction and restoration projects for many endangered species, including the California Condor in Big Sur, California, the Ozark Hellbender in Southwestern Missouri, and the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle at North Padre Island, Texas. Jim’s favorite part of the work is the variety of jobs that need to be performed to be successful. In a single day, he can operate a Zodiac boat, a pedestal crane, and a fire pump; work in the plant nursery, search for seabird nests, pull weeds, plant plants, and mist-net storm-petrels. Every day is different, and there are always new challenges and adventures! When not on the islands, Jim spends most of his free time chasing birds around Ventura County and reading supernatural and zombie apocalypse novels.
Andrew YamigawaAndrew was born in Ventura in 1987, but grew up mostly in a small farming community outside of Fresno, CA. Growing up around agriculture inspired an interest in plants and regular camping trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains gave him an interest in natural history. During his undergraduate years at UCSB, he learned he could make a career out of those two interests. Working for Growing Solutions during and after college taught him the specifics of Southern California native plant restoration. Living in the Santa Barbara area gave him a great love for the marine environment and an appreciation for seabirds. Since March 2011, Andrew been working for CIES leading the seabird nesting habitat restoration efforts. His personal interests/hobbies include; hiking, fishing, camping, photography, and aviation.
Amelia Jade DuVall joined CIES in 2016 as a Biological Field Technician. She holds a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated with honors and received recognition as Outstanding Senior in her graduating class in the Environmental Studies department. She first became involved with native habitat restoration as an intern at Coal Oil Point Reserve, a protected coastal-strand environment near Santa Barbara, California. Since then, she has spent several years working on land conservation and restoration for various local organizations. In previous positions, she has also worked as a Veterinary Technician at an emergency animal hospital, galley cook on a whale-watching boat, and Program Manager at an environmental consulting company.
Jay Woolsey was born in San Diego, California learning all about intertidal ecology and invasive species issues from an early age. In 2016 he graduated from CSU Channel Islands with a BS in Environmental Science and Resource Management. Jay's senior thesis was in Channel Islands National Park where he monitored island oak trees on Black Mountain. After that Jay was contracted for multiple invasive species removal projects and mapping contracts. These contracts would eventually lead to CIES and habitat restoration on Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. Jay spends most of his free time barbecuing, kayaking, hiking and backpacking throughout the Southwest of the United States.
Elaine grew up in San Francisco, and her childhood included many family trips out of the city to camp, fish and hike. When she attended UCSB, she fell in love with the Santa Barbara region and the very special ecosystem between the mountains and the Channel Islands. Her early love of being outside still persists and has turned into a passion for learning about biodiversity and conservation. She joined CIES in 2020 as a Biological Field Technician. When she's not out on the islands, you might find her mushroom hunting, experimenting with pigments and dyes and tinkering in her backyard.