The Putah Creek Council board of directors have appointed Carrie Shaw as executive director of the council, following Libby Earthman’s five-year tenure.
Earthman stepped down from the council in December 2013 to join Trout Unlimited, and Shaw stepped in as interim director in May before her appointment in August.
“At some point I was working in the office … and I had such a joyful feeling to have such great people to work with,” Shaw said. “I thought this would just be a great thing to do and I could serve the council one more time.”
Shaw joined the organization when it started in 1989, after a friend, council co-founder Susan Sanders, approached her at a wedding.
“My husband and I used to drive upstream of Lake Solano, to couple of fishing accesses,” Shaw recalled. “They weren’t managed very well and people would drive their big trucks into the parking lot and then down the flood plain bank next to the creek itself.”
Paths to the creek were overgrown with thistle and blackberry bushes. She remembered thinking that more could — and ought — to be done for the local riparian area.
Shaw served on the board and volunteered for plantings and cleanups through the early 1990s, but began a 16 year hiatus in 1996. She occasionally brought her kids to some of the council’s restoration events, but she worked full-time as a conservation biologist for the state, nonprofits and UC Davis.
Shaw reconnected with the council in 2012, joining the board of directors as the treasurer.
“I wanted to get back involved in doing something local,” Shaw said. “I had been working statewide for so long.”
Wendy Rash, the current chair of the board, said Shaw’s history with the council and her combination of natural resource knowledge and management skills made her a clear choice for the director.
“Those two things don’t always go together,” Rash said. “It turned out to be really difficult to find someone who is skilled in both arenas. And Carrie is.”