About Us

About Us

The Ecology Center believes in a world that gives more than it takes.

Our non-profit organization takes pride in curating ecological experiences for everyone. On a mission to provide creative solutions for thriving on planet earth, we believe everyone should have access to the tools, knowledge, and skills that promote healthy communities and an abundant future for all.

Together, we can inspire change.

Our Initiatives

We highlight cutting-edge environmental perspectives through our four core initiatives.


Grow Your Own

Growing garden ecosystems at home and at school.

Creating gardens, resources, and community to make vibrant spaces out of vacant places.


The Water Effect

Simple solutions to cut our daily water use in half.

Empowering students, their families, and their communities to become advocates for water conservation.


Community Table Accord

Building pathways to an ecological food future.

Gathering chefs, farmers, and community together to eat with intention.



Supporting local artisan culture.

Creating pathways for more conscious consumption by building a vibrant local economy.

Our Home

The Ecology Center’s headquarters is located in the historic Congdon Farmhouse in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

From an empty dirt lot, we have created an ecological oasis. Our home is a model for how every home can be reimagined and every space revived.

Having witnessed more than 130 years of social, agricultural, and environmental change, the Congdon House is the perfect venue for an exploration of the links between past, present, and future. At the same time, as one of the oldest standing embodiments of the past, it serves to remind us that we must act today to rejuvenate the environment for the generations to follow.

Our Team

Evan Marks

Executive Director

With his background in permaculture and agroecology, and, having worked extensively in California and Hawaii and internationally in Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Ghana and Nigeria, Evan Marks knows that people have the ability to directly impact the environment through individual change.

Aly Muysenberg

Front of House

Anna Maria Desipris

Events Manager

Bret Babos

Operations Director

Carter Wallace

Farm Manager

Debbie Hansen


Grace Blacksea

Marketing Manager

Heather Disher

Development Operations + Grants

Jonathan Zaidman

Replication Director

Kristi Day

Graphic Designer

Natalie Balthrop

Director of Brand and Communications

Other Contributors
Andrew Sieger


David Marks

Tools for Change

David Rager


Kristin Morrison

Handmade: A Maker's Market

Natale Lessey


Nereo Zago

Art Director

Vicki Marks

Green Feast Chair

Board of Directors
Ann Shea

Board Member
Sustainable Agriculture Advocate

Ben Edwards

Board Member
Sustainability Consultant

Caitlin Wege

Board Member
Angel Investor and Philanthropist

Dan Pingaro

Board Member
Executive Director, Laguna Beach Community Foundation

Eric Paine

Board Treasurer
Principal, Community Development Partners

Jennifer Sherman

GM, Chef, Chez Panisse

Joe Baird

Board Member
CEO, Rumiano

Laura Donovan

Board Secretary
Marketing Director, The Ecology Center

Mark Magiera

Board Member
Operations, Chez Panisse

Rick Bolton

Board Chairman
Brand & Business Strategist