About Us

Judy Walther, President & Co-owner

Judy WaltherJudy enjoys designing gardens and creating interpretive materials that enhance public projects. She has conducted many workshops, seminars and speeches on butterfly and pollinator gardens, native plants and invasive species, as well as written articles on a variety of restoration topics. Judy has a Masters in Science Education with a focus on botany and is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner.  She has experience in wetland delineation.  Judy was a charter member of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and is a current member in both SER and Texas SER.

David Mahler, Senior Ecologist & Co-owner

In addition to designing native plant gardens, David Mahler is a master at creating artistic, naturalistic water features. His background in biology enables him to understand the nuances of replicating complex, bio-diverse habitats. Over the years, David has given many speeches and has written articles and papers on habitat restoration and native plant issues.  David was a charter member of the Society for Ecological Restoration and served on the first Board of Directors.  He is a current member of both SER and Texas SER and is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner.

Ingrid Karklins, Ecologist

IngridKarklinsIngrid first came to ESC in 2014 as a summer intern while pursuing a degree in Ecological Restoration at Texas A&M University.  Completing her Masters in Natural Resource Development in December 2016, Ingrid stepped up as ESC’s Staff Ecologist and is a Texas A&M-Certified Wetland Delineator.  Her responsibilities include ecological site assessments, botanical field surveys and experiments and curating the herbarium.  She will be reaching out to landowners interested in large-scale restoration.  Ingrid Currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas SER and is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner In Training.

Serenity Kelton,  Business Manager

SerenityKeltonSerenity came to ESC in 2012 with over 10 years experience in the nonprofit sector.  While her previous roles focused on strengthening youth and families, she’s always been passionate about ecological and environmental issues.  As Business Manager, Serenity is responsible for all aspects of bookkeeping, human resources, keeping the office organized, while also filling all other needs that arise.   Serenity is the nerve center of ESC.

Tim Kihnel, Project Manager

TimKihnelTim, who joined ESC in 2015, is ESC’s Licensed Irrigator and Project Manager.  He designs and oversees all irrigation installations.   With more than 13 years of supervisory experience in commercial and residential landscape, Tim designs and installs smaller-scale residential landscape projects.  He keeps our crews trained in safety and procedural matters, manages and maintains ESC’s fleet and equipment and is our “Go-To” guy for problems big and small. Tim is an active member of  the Texas Irrigators Association (TXIA).

Chris Newton, Project Manager

ChrisNewtonChris got his start in the field of ecological restoration with the Texas Conservation Corps in 2013. He joined ESC in 2014 and, with his wide-ranging skills, quickly became a Project Manager and Certified Pesticide Applicator.  Chris manages riparian restoration projects at multiple sites around Austin and trains new crew and foremen.  While juggling field work, he oversees all submittals and paperwork required for various clients.  Chris is a member of the Texas Society for Ecological Restoration and is always eager to further his knowledge of effective restoration techniques, central Texas botany, and healthy watershed function.

Troy Nixon, Field guy

Troy has been with ESC since 1998. As our official “Field Guy,” he is master of all trades. Troy is a Project Manager, Licensed Irrigator, ISA Certified Arborist, Certified Pesticide Applicator, and designer of trail systems, rock work, low-voltage lighting systems and landscape projects. Troy is a talented carpenter and has built attractive, naturalistic benches, kiosks, and other landscape structures with creativity and distinction. With his background in Business Finance, Troy often gives valuable advice in the office. But his heart is outside and his talents are immeasurable.

Stan Wilson, Project Manager

StanWilsonStan has been working with ESC since 2001. He is passionate about water quality issues and the intersection of nature with the urban environment. Stan specializes in complex wetland restoration projects, smaller and more urban landscape design/install projects, and trail systems for greenways. Although an informal student of urban planning, landscape architecture, and ecology, his education in Marketing and Business Administration allows him to address projects in a practical manner beneficial to all stakeholders. Stan handles many business development and operational issues associated with running a small business. He is entrepreneurial at heart and never shies away from a good round of “shop talk.”  Stan is an active member of Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and Texas SER.    He has given presentations on wetland and other restoration topics.

Helen Ivor-Smith, Project Manager

Helen Ivor-SmithHelen has been designing landscapes since 2014. Inspired by an ecology-based approach, she joined ESC in 2017. Helen helps design, install, and maintain ESC’s residential gardens. She heralds ESC’s approach to native gardens, recognizing that the design process continues for the full life of a garden. She loves shaping native gardens and re-exploring their distinct iterations through the Central Texas seasons. Helen has assisted with public- and private-land restoration. She is especially nutty about harvesting and spreading native wildflower seed and participating in controlled burns. Helen has worked on riparian restoration and wet pond projects around Lady Bird Lake and throughout Austin. She is a member of the Texas Society for Ecological Restoration. In her free time, you might find her designing and installing native gardens for her friends and family.

Green Infrastructure & Restoration Crew

This crew is kept busy installing and maintaining green stormwater infrastructures throughout Austin.  Tasks include planting native species for erosion control, rain gardens, maintaining and installing wetponds, sink hole stabilization, park land restoration and controlling the spread of exotic species.

Rock Crew

The rock crew installs both small residential and large commercial projects, including simulated streams and springs, waterfalls, terraces, walkways and naturalistic ponds.  All projects use rock appropriate for each site, to keep a natural look.

Maintenance Crew

The maintenance crew works on residential and commercial sites, as well as on our large ranch management projects.  Their work mostly includes weeding, shaping, supplemental planting and seeding.

Environmental Survey Consulting Certifications and Licenses

  • Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners
  • NCTRCA Women-Owned Business Enterprise
  • Licensed Arborists
  • Licensed Irrigators
  • Licensed Herbicide Applicators
  • Certified Wetland Delineators
  • Certified S-212 Chainsaw Operators
  • City of Austin Grow Green Certifications
  • Certified Water Quality Monitors
  • OSHA Trained
  • City of Austin Women-Owned Business
  • State of Texas Historically Underutilized Business