STAFF

Deborah Visco Abibou, Ph.D. Restoration Programs Director

Deb leads our Volunteer Habitat Restoration Program and our Oyster Shell Recycling Program. She joined CRCL in 2015 and is a broadly trained ecologist. She earned a Ph.D. from Tulane University. Originally from New York, she received her B.S. in Environmental Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2006 and gained ecology/conservation experience in Dominica (West Indies), Australia, California, and New Hampshire before beginning her graduate studies in New Orleans. She has managed multiple projects, secured funding, directed field crews, authored papers, and taught science at all levels. Most recently, she has served as Lead Bird Bander and Programming Director with the Woodlands Conservancy in Belle Chasse. (deb.abibou@crcl.org)

Thomas Donley – Director of Finance, Administration and Community Engagement

Thomas is responsible for the financial management, resources and daily operations of CRCL. Prior to joining CRCL, he was the Finance and Administration Manager for ILGA-Europe – a human rights member organization – in Brussels, Belgium, for over five years. Before joining ILGA-Europe, he was an Audit Senior for a large regional accounting firm called Eide Bailly specializing in nonprofit and governmental audits. He graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, with a degree in accounting. (thomas.donley@crcl.org)

James Karst – Communications and Marketing Director

James is in charge of internal and external communications and marketing. He is a former journalist in New Orleans, having worked for many years as an editor at The Times-Picayune. He was on the newspaper's staff that won two Pulitzer Prizes in 2006. He has also published stories in magazines including 64 Parishes and Preservation in Print. He has been interviewed on the air by NPR's "Weekend Edition" and on television shows that have aired on the NFL Network, the Travel Channel, and National Geographic. A story about his writing was recently published by The New Yorker. He moonlights as a professional competitive eater (formerly the No. 4 oyster eater in the International Federation of Competitive Eating -- 15 dozen oysters in 8 minutes) and as an actor, with credits including "NCIS: New Orleans," "Treme," and "America's Most Wanted." He received his Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. (james.karst@crcl.org

Taylor Laurent – Outreach Assistant

Taylor, an AmeriCorps member, has a background in biological science from the University of New Orleans. She is a resident of Luling. Taylor played soccer at the collegiate level and gives back her knowledge as a coach. She spends her free time on the water fishing, which sparked her interest in conservation. Taylor is looking to expand her knowledge of Louisiana’s land loss crisis and the management plans in place to preserve and restore our wetlands. (taylor.laurent@crcl.org)

Kathryn Loomis – Habitat Restoration Coordinator

Kat became our Habitat Restoration Coordinator within the Restoration Program in August 2019. She works to build support for coastal restoration by facilitating volunteer participation in on-the-ground habitat restoration work such as dune restoration, marsh grass plantings, and coastal forest restoration. She joined CRCL in 2018 as an AmeriCorps member, serving as the Outreach Assistant. Before joining CRCL, she graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, her hometown, with a  B.S. in Resource Biology and Biodiversity. (kathryn.loomis@crcl.org)

Kelly Messer – Special Events Director

Kelly develops and executes our public and private events, and is our lead graphic designer and webmaster. She joined the CRCL team in 2007. CRCL has long been known for its well-planned and orchestrated events because of Kelly’s artistic eye and attention to detail. As CRCL’s graphic designer, she is responsible for developing critical informational pieces for both internal and external distribution. Kelly’s expertise in IT has allowed CRCL to incorporate the latest technology into its web design and computer networks. She also develops and maintains CRCL’s extensive database system. (kelly.messer@crcl.org)

 

Corey Miller – Director of Community Resilience

Corey leads our Outreach and Engagement program, assisting residents of coastal Louisiana to become more informed, engaged, and prepared for the future of our changing coast. Through the program, CRCL develops innovative ways to reach residents: infographics, videos, presentations, and community forums. He also works directly with other community-based organizations. He joined CRCL in 2012. A third-generation native of the New Orleans area and an alumnus of LSU, Corey received his Master of Sociology from the University of New Orleans through a research assistantship with the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology (UNO-CHART). (corey.miller@crcl.org)

Kiersten Rankel – Oyster Shell Recycling Technician

Kiersten is serving a term with AmeriCorps as our Oyster Shell Recycling Technician. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Tulane University in May of 2019 in ecology and evolutionary biology, with a focus on marine sciences and outreach. Growing up around the marshes of Long Island, she cultivated a love for coastal ecosystems, and she is thrilled about the opportunity to apply her experience to the conservation of the Louisiana coastline. She has worked across the United States, from Cornell Cooperative Extension as a marine educator, to participation in coral restoration projects in the Florida Keys and contributions to research on grey whales on the Oregon Coast. (kiersten.rankel@crcl.org

Kimberly Davis Reyher – Executive Director

Kim leads CRCL, setting strategic direction and overseeing staff and programs. Kim joined CRCL as Executive Director in June 2014 after 13 years with the World Wildlife Fund, where she served as Fisheries Program Director. In that capacity, she promoted fisheries sustainability through engagement with fisheries around the world and influential players in the seafood industry. Kim co-led the development of a $29 million tuna management project with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and led the International Smart Gear Competition, which awards cash prizes for fishing gear innovations and supervised projects in more than 20 countries. Before joining WWF, she worked with the Ocean Conservancy in Florida and Washington, D.C. Kim received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University. (kimberly.reyher@crcl.org)

 

Christa Russell – Coastal Scientist

Christa develops and implements monitoring of CRCL’s restoration projects, including oyster reef restoration and swamp, marsh, and dune plantings. She also coordinates CRCL's Oyster Shell Recycling Program, which recycles waste oyster shell from local restaurants for use in living shoreline projects across Louisiana's coast. Originally from Illinois, she moved to Louisiana in 2009 and earned her B.S. in Biology from the University of New Orleans, focusing on the conservation and ecology of swamp, marsh, and reef ecosystems. She joined CRCL in 2015, following a term as an AmeriCorps Environmental Steward with the National Park Service at Jean Lafitte, where she focused on the monitoring and management of invasive species and volunteer involvement. (christa.russell@crcl.org)

 

Emily Vuxton – Policy Director

Before joining CRCL as Policy Director, Emily was a Coastal Policy Specialist at the Institute for Water Resources (IWR) at the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Alexandria, Virginia. Previously, she served as a NOAA Knauss Sea Grant Fellow with the Engineer Research and Development Center, USACE. At IWR, she supported some environmental, coastal and navigation initiatives, including PIANC USA, an international navigation NGO, the USACE Resilience Initiative, the USACE Recreation Program, and the Future Directions initiative. She also served as an author on the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study, analyzing policy challenges to implementing natural infrastructure in Hurricane Sandy-affected areas. She has a Master’s degree from Duke University in Coastal Environmental Management and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in Zoology. (emily.vuxton@crcl.org)

 

Marissa Allweiss Wendte – Development & Membership Director

Marissa joined CRCL as our new Development & Membership Director in March 2019.  Marissa is a native New Orleanian with a dedication to the community in which she was raised. She has routinely volunteered in projects throughout the region, returning post-Katrina from Tucson, Arizona, where she had been attending college. She has worked and volunteered with many organizations -- including CRCL.  After graduating from Tulane University, Marissa spent two years working as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the nonprofit organization Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO). During this time, Marissa co-founded the environmentally-conscious nonprofit organization The ReUse District, a partnership of businesses and organizations that received a special proclamation from New Orleans City Council. After her time with RTNO, she spent four years with Tipitina’s Foundation as the Special Events and Fundraising Coordinator before becoming the Director of Development for Choice Foundation, a Charter Management Organization. (marissa.wendte@crcl.org)

Dan Wiet – Monitoring Technician

Dan Wiet, who is serving an AmeriCorps term with Serve Louisiana, is the Monitoring Technician at CRCL. He is excited to use his background in GIS to implement and expand our aerial monitoring and remote sensing program. Previously, he has worked on multiple projects at DePaul University sampling soils in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and surrounding Chicagoland area, utilizing GIS to create concentration maps of elements and nutrients. Dan graduated from Northern Michigan University with a bachelor's of science in environmental science with a concentration in pollution prevention and control. He moved to Louisiana in 2016 to gain experience in environmental and coastal restoration. (daniel.wiet@crcl.org)

Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana

225.767.4181

3801 Canal Street, Suite 400, New Orleans, LA 70119

5615 Corporate Boulevard, Suite 600B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808

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