Team Staff

We are a team of diligent and dedicated environmental advocates. We trust one another to speak up, do the right thing, hold one another accountable, and commit to the end goal: a clean and healthy Mobile Bay Watershed, and the sustainability of coastal resources where our community can safely swim, fish, work, and play.

William Strickland

Executive Director

A native of Tuscaloosa, William began his career in the field of environmental engineering before moving into the faith-based non-profit sector.

William graduated from the University of Alabama where he earned a BS in Civil Engineering with a focus on water issues. He played football under Nick Saban at Alabama, winning two national championships during his time there. He is currently pursuing a Master’s of the Arts in Missional Theology at Covenant Theological Seminary.

William’s love for nature and an understanding of humans’ place in it were instilled in him from an early age by his late grandfather, Bill, a conservationist and outdoorsman. He hopes to pass that love on to his three young children. He brings to the organization a passion for process and excellence gained during his time under Saban at Alabama.



Cassie grew up in the Phenix City, Alabama/Columbus, Georgia area. Despite being fairly landlocked, she always harbored a passion for estuarine, coastal, and marine science. At LaGrange College, she earned a B.S. in Biology with minors in Servant Leadership and Sustainability, and recently completed a M.S. degree in Marine Conservation and Resource Management at the University of South Alabama. After graduating, she worked as a Lab Manager/Technician at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, where she processed Arctic cruise samples of phytoplankton communities.

As the Staff Scientist at Mobile Baykeeper, Cassie collaborates with stakeholders in our community to incorporate diverse technical expertise to inform the work we do. She also stays up-to-date on research and findings that guide our programmatic decision making towards successful outcomes.

Cassie is passionate about making scientific information both tangible and accessible to communities who are directly impacted by environmental concerns and inspiring them to become engaged in making our watershed a healthy and sustainable resource. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, traveling when she can, scuba diving or fishing, and baking for friends!

Cade Kistler


Cade grew up on Guntersville Lake in north Alabama. After earning his B.S. from Auburn University, he took a position with the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness restoration intern in Washington state. However, sweet home Alabama called and Cade returned to work on his M.S. at Auburn University. He has completed all coursework and will receive his M.S. upon completion of his thesis.

After getting married, he followed his wife to her home in Baldwin County and has been exploring the treasures of the Gulf Coast since. In his spare time, Cade likes to kayak and bike with his wife and snow-ski whenever he can. Cade is thrilled to have the opportunity to work for the citizens of the Alabama Gulf Coast and preserve the environment of this majestic area.

Kistler, who served as Mobile Baykeeper’s Program Director for six years, now fills the Baykeeper role previously held by Casi Callaway.

Shalela Dowdy

Community Organizer

Shalela Dowdy is a native of Mobile, Alabama. She graduated from Murphy High School in 2008 and continued her studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in American Legal Studies (pre-law). She holds a  M.A in Leadership Studies and is currently pursuing her Juris Doctorate at Southern University Law Center.

Shalela served six years on active duty as an Air Defense Artillery Officer and currently holds the rank of Major in the Army Reserves as a Military Academy Liaison Officer. Shalela is very active in the City of Mobile. She is the 2nd Vice President of the Mobile Branch of the NAACP, and the Founding President of Stand Up Mobile, a non-partisan voter education and advocacy organization.

As a Community Organizer at Mobile BayKeeper, Shalela brings her background of developing and implementing strategies to engage and empower communities through outreach and education, creating and managing projects that promote community building, and building partnerships with other organizations.

Caine O'Rear

Communications Director

A Mobile native, Caine is the former editor in chief of American Songwriter magazine. Prior to music journalism he covered Virginia politics and the financial services industry for various publications. Caine holds a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University. In his free time, he enjoys kayak fishing in the Delta and rocking out with his band Bearhead.

As Communications Director, Caine reports to Baykeeper’s community of members and volunteers – as well as the public at large – on issues critical to the health of the Mobile Bay Watershed. He is the editor of Baykeeper’s quarterly print magazine, CURRENTS.

Chloe Ray

Field Investigations Team Lead

Chloe Ray is an Alabama native who grew up in Baldwin County. Her love and appreciation for the waters of Alabama was cultivated from a young age with visits to nature centers on the Gulf Coast, fishing, and time on the water. At the University of South Alabama, she earned a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Communications in 2021. She interned with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Student Conservation Association. Chloe has also worked in environmental regulation as a wetland/ environmental resource permitter. In her spare time, Chloe loves being outdoors, thrifting and spending time with friends, family, and her dog Mr. Fenton.

As Field Investigations Team Lead, Chloe works to systematically search out and document pollution problems, defend our waterways from new sources of pollution and wetland fill, manages the programmatic side of the AmeriCorps program, and leads the AmeriCorps Patrol team. She also utilizes her unique perspective on permitting to hold agencies accountable when reviewing proposed permits.

Cece Pless

Major Donor Advisor

Born in Birmingham, Cece has spent her adult life pursuing a love of rivers and oceans up and down the East Coast. She holds B.A.s in International Affairs and French from Skidmore College in Upstate New York and spent her time in school studying the sustainability of international fisheries. A former intern at Baykeeper, Cece worked for Patagonia and Athleta (both certified B Corps) before joining the Baykeeper staff. In her free time, Pless enjoys all things “life aquatic,” all things Wes Anderson, and you can be sure to find her on the trail with her dog Styx.

As the Major Donor Advisor, Cece is responsible for recruiting and courting sponsors, spearheading fundraising, membership, major donor, and volunteer events, and developing the Baykeeper Brand through community partnerships.

Emilee Foster

Operations Director

Emilee Foster was born in the Port City, but grew up in Leakesville, Mississippi and graduated from Greene County High School. She obtained her B.S. in International Studies from Spring Hill College in 2018 and began as an intern at Mobile Baykeeper that summer. She jumped at the chance to continue her service to the Bay through AmeriCorps. In her free time, Emilee likes to shop and go to the white, sandy beaches of Coastal Alabama. She also likes to spend time with her family and English Bulldog, Princess.

As the Operations Director, Emilee is responsible for assisting the Executive Director in carrying out Mobile Baykeeper’s mission. She manages office operations, the Executive Director’s calendar, the Board of Directors and Leadership Committee, reports and correspondence, documents and financial solvency, and the membership database.

Wesley Wyatt

Fundraising & Stewardship Strategist

The waterways around the Mobile Bay area are home for Wesley Wyatt. Born and raised in the Azalea City, Wesley graduated from St. Paul’s Episcopal School and then attended The University of Alabama, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunication & Film with a specialization in Media Production. After school, he began working in advertising and marketing, but wanted to apply his efforts toward working for clean water, clean air, and healthy communities. Wesley’s work serving the Mobile Bay area began early in his life, volunteering to serve meals to the poor and elderly with his grandmother, mother, sister, and brother. He explored the Delta, rivers, and creeks with his father, who showed him the vast importance of conserving our state’s natural resources.

As the Fundraising & Stewardship Strategist at Mobile Baykeeper, Wesley’s duties include membership, donor and board development, new member outreach, database management, and fundraising. His hobbies and interests include boating, fishing, and relaxing on the water, whether it be the Delta, the Bay or the Gulf; reading and writing; photography; Alabama Crimson Tide football; random trivia; and finding new shows and movies to enjoy.

Valerie Longa

Educational Director

Born in Phoenix, Valerie Longa spent her childhood in the states of Arizona, Virginia, and Rhode Island before moving to Alabama as a teenager. She has called Mobile home for 20 years and earned a B.A. in Integrated Communications from Spring Hill College. Valerie’s 12-year career has focused on Alabama’s environment while working with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Alabama Coastal Foundation, WildNative Tours, and Nature Connect Outdoor School.

Growing up she spent many days playing in the forests and creeks in her neighborhood, as well as attending and then working as a counselor at a summer camp on the coast of Rhode Island with water skiing, sailing, and windsurfing. She built a strong connection to the natural world and has carried that into her work by helping others to reconnect and develop their relationship with the local environment. Along with her daughter Chloe, and husband Justo, she enjoys time in the outdoors exploring this amazing place we call home.

As the Education Director, Valerie is creating the next generation of stewards by providing meaningful experiences on our local waterways. She is developing a new environmental education plan for Mobile Baykeeper, crafting experiential education programs, and leading the Americorps Education Team.

Luke Kiszla

Government Affairs Director

Born and reared in Mobile, Luke comes to his role as Government Affairs Director for Baykeeper after serving in Montgomery as an attorney for the Alabama Legislative Services Agency and as Chief of Staff for the Minority Leader of the Alabama House of Representatives. With additional experience in Washington and in Alabama’s city halls and county seats, Luke aims to build and leverage relationships to foster proper long-term environmental stewardship within our systems of government.

Luke earned degrees from the University of Alabama (B.A., History) and the University of Alabama School of Law (J.D.), and is a member of the Mobile Bar Association.

Luke is an Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman, and enjoys kayaking and hiking in the beautiful slice of creation that is Alabama. When they’re not outdoors, he and his wife, Jayme, enjoy household cooking competitions and doting upon their faithful feline companions.

Treasure Adams

Volunteer Organizer

A native of Birmingham, Treasure knew early on she was drawn to the allure of the ocean. Her journey into the world of marine science began with summers spent at Dauphin Island while studying at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Here, she found herself enchanted by the beauty and biodiversity of the Mobile area’s coastal ecosystem. These experiences ignited a deep-seated passion for understanding and protecting our marine environments. After earning her BS in Biology with a Concentration in Marine Science, she took a leap of faith and moved to Coastal Alabama. She now spends her free time going to the beach, hanging out with friends, or recreationally surfing.

As Volunteer Organizer at Baykeeper, Treasure works to mobilize volunteers by facilitating their engagement with the organization, and ensuring that volunteer activities run smoothly and effectively. Her primary responsibilities include recruiting volunteers, coordinating schedules and tasks, communicating effectively with volunteers, providing support and guidance, evaluating volunteer experiences, and recognizing volunteers for their contributions.

Nicole Harris


Nicole grew up in Northern California in the valley of the Sierra Nevadas. She came of age learning the importance of environmental protections while hiking, camping, and discovering new swimming holes all over the region. After spending a few years in the Midwest and parts of the South, Nicole now resides in Baldwin County with her husband and two young children.

Nicole has worked as a professional administrator for the majority of her adult life in various fields, working to learn new industries and using her skills to help those in the community that need it most. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures, creating art, aiding with community events, and being outdoors with her family.

As the Administrator at Baykeeper, Nicole is responsible for grant acquisition through the Americorps program, member and grant compliance, grant management and aiding in the overall improvement of the program.

Charith Denson


Charith Denson grew up on the Oregon coast, where she enjoyed surfing as a teenager and playing in the tides. Her grandfather owned a commercial fishing boat and her dad built custom-sport fishing boats, so she got her sea legs early in life.

Charith graduated from George Fox University, where she earned a BA in Communications. At Baykeeper she works as the Director of Content Strategy and Implementation, where she designs branded content and serves as the organization’s brand guardian.

In her free time she enjoys working as a mixed-media artist in the folk idiom, and exploring the Southwest with her family in their Scamp travel-trailer. She paddle-boards and kayaks whenever she gets the chance. She loves experiencing new places through the food scene and culture, with a special fondness for Vietnam and India, due to the sensory experiences they afford.

Mellonie Hollis

Operations Intern

Mellonie grew up in Enterprise, Alabama, and her career began as a Hospital Lab Technician. Later, she pursued a career in Hospital Information Technology at CPSI, in Mobile. She earned an associate degree in applied science from George Wallace Community College.

Mellonie enjoys spending time outdoors birding, paddle-boarding, gardening, and exploring nature wherever she is. Recently, she received a Mississippi Master Naturalist Certification to enhance her knowledge of natural resources and to help serve communities through outreach and service.

In her role as an Operations Intern, Mellonie supports the Operations Director in performing various clerical duties and ensuring a smooth operational workflow at Mobile Baykeeper.

Emily Ward

Development Intern

Growing up in Fairhope, Emily always had a love for the outdoors and spent the majority of her time as a kid playing in the nearby woods and creeks. She graduated in 2023 with a B.S. in Biology from Spring Hill College. After graduation she did volunteer research at the University of South Alabama, studying the effects of global warming on the local stream ecology.

Emily us currently enrolled at the University of South Alabama, where she is pursuing her M.S in Biology, focusing on Medical Entomology. In addition to her schooling, Emily is also interning with the Southeastern Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases (SECVBD), where she is researching ticks. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, gaming, studying languages, and listening to music. She hopes to continue on in her education to help create a positive impact on the environment.

Ashleigh Bock

Social Media / Operations Intern

Ashleigh Bock was born in Germany, but grew up across cities in Alabama and graduated from Spanish Fort High School. She is currently an undergraduate student working toward her B.S. in Marine Science with Minors in Biology and German from the University of South Alabama.

She began as an Operations Intern at Mobile Baykeeper in 2024 after her experience in the SWIM program from the previous fall season. Ashleigh spends most of her time at Dauphin Island, where she dedicates her time to volunteering with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and the many animal stranding networks across the island. She also enjoys simply going to the beach to free-dive and snorkel.

Morgan Bishop

Field & Research Intern

Morgan, originally from Schertz, Texas, moved to Mobile in 2020 to pursue her academic career at the University of South Alabama. She graduated in the spring of 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in Marine Sciences, and a minor in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Her academic journey included hands-on experiences, including a SWIM internship and a Field and Research Americorps term with Mobile Baykeeper. These roles empowered her to actively contribute to local conservation initiatives, solidifying her dedication to environmental stewardship.

Currently serving as a field and research intern, Morgan continues to explore her passion for conservation and research. In her spare time, she enjoys playing sports, listening to music, shopping, and finding the best places to eat.