Our Team

Reginald Durant, Executive Director ♦ Contact me.

Reginald5Reginald Durant founded Back to Natives in 2005. He acquired his C-27 Contractor’s license on behalf of BTN in 2011 to design and install native landscapes – an endeavor that raises funds for BTN’s habitat restoration, service learning and environmental education programs. In 2011 Reginald also led the effort to establish the Back to Natives Nursery at Santiago Park. This 20,000 sq ft nursery has begun to provide BTN with plants for current restoration and landscape projects.

Reginald was the chief landscape designer for the “Costa Mesa Green Home,”  certified ‘Platinum’ by the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Homes Program. Reginald also provided the landscape design for “Project 319,” Living Green Homes’ first single-family residential development, one of the first of its kind in Orange County to earn the Build It Green, GreenPoint Rated designation.  Reginald was a guest designer and guest speaker at the Los Angeles Garden Show. Since 2010 he’s also been a guest designer and guest speaker at the Southern California Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza.

As the Grounds Coordinator at the Environmental Nature Center, Reginald developed the Orange County Native Butterfly House. Reginald also coordinated with the County of Orange, the Coastal Commission and the Department of Fish and Game to develop the Butterfly Habitat at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center at the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. Reginald founded the Land Steward Peer Network – a peer network for restoration ecology professionals – which includes members from County, State, Federal and non-profit organizations and agencies within and surrounding Orange County.

Reginald Durant has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and he has completed classes in Ecological Restoration from Saddleback College.

Lori Whalen, Director of Community Relations ♦ Contact me.

Lori Whalen has been with Back to Natives since Reginald founded it in 2005. She is a volunteer, responsible for all of BTN’s communications (usually with the help of amazing Communications Interns), and funds development.  Lori also designs native plant landscapes on behalf of Back to Natives. She designed the demonstration gardens displayed at the South Coast Plaza Spring Garden Shows in 2014 and 2015, and her residential design for a client in Santa Ana was on the 2016 California Native Plant Society Spring Garden Tour. Currently she’s also overseeing volunteer coordination.

Lori is the Director of Communications at the Environmental Nature Center where she’s worked since 2003. She has also worked at the Nature Conservancy, as a Naturalist & Media Relations Coordinator, and as an Interpretive Ranger at Huntington Beach Central Park. She was a Field Naturalist & Media Relations Coordinator at Inside the Outdoors Science School, part of the Orange County Dept. of Education. She was the Media Relations Coordinator & Editorial Assistant at the First American Corporation and Public Relations Associate & Research Analyst with eBuilt, Inc.

In addition to being on the BTN board, she is currently on the board of the CSUF Non-profit Alumni Association. Lori was the recipient of the Nathaniel Lamm Award in  2002 and a decade later she was awarded the Women Making a Difference Award by the California State Senate.

Lori Whalen has a BS in Animal Science and a minor in Journalism from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, as well as an MA in Communications (emphasis in Public Relations) from California State University, Fullerton.