Our Staff

Bird Alliance of Oregon is staffed by people who are passionate about protecting wildlife and habitat, connecting people with nature, and building a diverse and inclusive environmental movement.

Bird Alliance of Oregon staff photo

Elora Arding

People and Culture Manager

Elora made the move to Portland in 2020, leaving behind her southern California roots where she developed a deep connection with the outdoors and a penchant for animal companionship. She earned a BA in Literature and Writing with a Minor in Spanish from Cal State University San Marcos, initially aspiring to become a high school English teacher. However, her career trajectory veered into Human Resources, driven by her people-centric nature and a passion for helping others. In this realm, Elora has cultivated expertise and garnered professional certifications, thriving across multiple industries and geographies.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Elora cherishes time spent with her family – her son, husband, two dogs, and two indoor cats. A multifaceted individual, she participates in an amateur pool league, plays music, and enjoys cooking, crafting, rock climbing, camping, and several activities that involve being in or around bodies of water (obtaining a PADI Open Water Scuba Diving certification is currently at the top of her wishlist). Elora feels quite fortunate to contribute to an organization that is dedicated to inspiring a love for wildlife and their natural habitats.

Elora Arding, People and Culture Manager

Ali Berman

Communications and Marketing Director

Ali Berman joined Bird Alliance of Oregon in 2015, excited to help bring the organization’s message to a broader audience. Originally from New York, Ali has an undergraduate degree in writing and a masters in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College.

Before coming to Bird Alliance of Oregon, Ali spent nine years working as the Communications Coordinator at HEART helping to bring human rights, animal protection, and environmental ethics issues into classrooms. Ali is also a writer. Her first two books, “Misdirected” (Seven Stories Press) and “Choosing a Good Life” (Hazelden) were published in 2014. In addition to her work at Bird Alliance of Oregon, Ali serves on the board of Portland Parks and Recreation.

Ali Berman, Communications and Marketing Director

Jennifer Bowen

Associate Director of Development

Jennifer Bowen has been a development professional for 17 years and has spent two decades working to influence positive change in social, economic, and environmental issues, both domestic and international. Before joining Bird Alliance of Oregon, Jennifer worked as a Major Gifts Officer at Natural Resources Defense Council and Associate Development Director at Room to Read.

Jennifer holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University’s International Development, Community, and Environmental Department. Through her master’s program, she was awarded a research assistantship on a NIEHS funded environmental justice project, which allowed her to work alongside marginalized populations to influence local policy and resolve environmental health issues. As an undergraduate at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she majored in Environmental and Community Studies, Jennifer had the opportunity to participate in backpack exhibitions through Belize, Guatemala and Nepal conducting research on rural women’s health issues and studying species conservation, neotropical biodiversity, and high altitude forest composition.

She currently lives in NE Portland with her family.

Jennifer Bowen, Associate Director of Development

Brodie Cass Talbott

Senior Educator, Trips Specialist

Brodie started with Bird Alliance of Oregon as a youth educator and outings volunteer in 2018, and not long after began leading birding trips for Adult Education. Happiest outdoors, he spent years fighting wildfire before working as a raft guide and managing a river tours company in Maupin, Oregon. After obtaining his BA in Applied Linguistics at Portland State, he spent six years teaching, traveling, and photographing across Asia, where his interest in birds became his passion.

He strives to make birding more inclusive, and has a particular interest in bird vocalizations. Brodie can usually be found listening to birds and tending his garden in NE Portland, where he lives with his wife.

Brodie Cass Talbott, Senior Educator, Trips Specialist

Braden Catt

Assistant Director of Facilities and Sanctuaries

A lifelong Hoosier, Braden moved to Seattle, WA in 2018 where he served as the Facilities and Rentals Manager at Seattle Children’s Theatre. Prior to relocating to the Pacific Northwest, he spent 7 years at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites in Collections Management and Conservation, helping oversee their cultural and natural history collections. Some of his highlights included assisting with the Pipe Creek Jr. Quarry paleontology excavation searching for Pliocene animal remains, spending 9 field seasons at Megenity Peccary Cave, excavating Pleistocene ice age animals, and working with the museum geologist surveying and collecting amphibian ichnofossils. 

A historian by training, Braden received his BA from Indiana University majoring in history with a minor in biology. Furthering those passions, he is pursuing a master’s degree where his thesis analyzes environmental inequality in Indianapolis through the lens of Pogue’s Run, an urban stream. While living in Indiana, he enjoyed exploring and mapping undiscovered areas of the Binkley Cave System as a member of the Indiana Speleological Survey and National Speleological Society. In his free time, he likes spending time outdoors hiking, kayaking, and exploring the PNW with his wife.

Braden Catt, Assistant Director of Facilities and Sanctuaries

Mary Coolidge

BirdSafe & Lights Out Campaign Coordinator

Mary started as Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Assistant Conservation Director from 2008-2012 before transitioning to the BirdSafe Campaign Coordinator. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lewis & Clark College in 1997 and spent a decade studying a wide array of bird species in both urban and rural environments.

Mary is dedicated to efforts to make urban environments more hospitable to wildlife and helping connect people to nature. She splits her time between Center for Diversity & the Environment, the Oregon Zoo’s California Condor breeding facility, and Bird Alliance of Oregon. She spends her free time beekeeping, birdwatching, horseback riding, mushroom hunting and occasionally escaping to a meandering river to fly fish.

Mary Coolidge, BirdSafe & Lights Out Campaign Coordinator

Tumurkhuu “Tumko” Davaakhuu

Chief Operating Officer

Tumurkhuu “Tumko” Davaakhuu joined Bird Alliance of Oregon in 2019, after serving as CEO and Board Director of Arig Bank of Mongolia for 12 years. Tumko is a co-founder and Chairperson of Spirit Mongolia, a community based conservation non-profit that manages a 137,000 hectare (338,534 acre) Legal Protected Area (LPA) in Mongolia as well as Achilles International Mongolia. He also served as the National Coordinator of UN Environment’s Sustainable Finance Roadmap project, Chairman of the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association, and Vice President of the Mongolian Bankers Association. Tumko studied Leadership Decision Making at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, earned his MBA in Financial Management at Pace University, and his BA in Applied Linguistics at Otgontenger University. In his free time, he enjoys going on camping, mountaineering trips, running, and spending time with family and friends.

Tumurkhuu Davaakhuu, Chief Operating Officer

Kady Davis

Major Gifts Officer

Kady Davis has been supporting local environmental nonprofit development efforts for the last ten years. Most recently, she worked as the Director of Communications and Corporate Partnerships for the Forest Park Conservancy leveraging community support for Forest Park, the largest forested city-park in the United States.

Kady has a deep appreciation for the community of volunteers, donors, and staff who steward the environment for a healthier, more inclusive future and looks forward to supporting this work through her role in the Development Department on the Major Gifts Team. She holds a masters in natural resource policy administration from Portland State University and a bachelors in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In her free time Kady can often be found working in her (recently) Gold Certified backyard habitat in N. Portland where she lives with her husband, two young kids, dog, and four chickens.

Kady Davis, Major Gifts Officer

Zoe Dobbins

Nature Store Clerk

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Zoe grew up in Lake Oswego exploring the farms, forests, and rivers of Clackamas County. Beginning with hours of drawing as a kid and then onto classes in painting and printmaking, Zoe eventually graduated from Marylhurst University with a BA in Art. She worked for over 25 years in Portland galleries specializing in display and window design, merchandising, and sales. After several years in retail grocery, she’s very excited to be joining the staff at the Nature Store, where she can combine her experience in retail with her passion for animals and the natural world.

Zoe spends much of her free time creating – recently learning the art of pyrography. When not working or creating art, she can be found in the pool, reading non-fiction, camping, kayaking, and traveling whenever possible.

Zoe Dobbins, Nature Store Clerk

Chris Dodge

Graphic Design & Communications Associate

Chris joined Bird Alliance of Oregon in January of 2021. She was born and raised in Portland, OR and attended the University of Oregon, where she received her degree in Journalism with a focus in advertising, and a minor in English.

Early in her career, Chris worked at an ad agency juggling both art direction and account management for a multitude of clients, one of which was a higher ed institution. This lead to her working as a member of Concordia University’s marketing team for fourteen years doing graphic design, writing, and project management. 

Chris has always been fascinated with birds and is thrilled to have an excuse to learn more about them daily in her role in the marketing and communications department. When not working, Chris enjoys spending time with her family, vacationing at the Oregon coast, going on nature walks, doodling, playing board games, reading, and finding the funny in life!

Chris Dodge, Graphic Design & Communications Associate

Paul Engelmeyer

Ten Mile Sanctuary Manager

Paul Engelmeyer has managed Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Ten Mile Creek Sanctuary, home to nesting Marbled Murrelets and other imperiled species, since 1990. His work includes watershed restoration, species recovery and marine conservation efforts, and he has worked for decades to develop partnerships that have grown into a basin-wide habitat protection program on the central Oregon coast.

As Bird Alliance of Oregon’s coastal Important Bird Area coordinator, Paul has also contributed to the formation of a system of marine reserves at five sites in Oregon’s Territorial Sea.

Paul Englemeyer, Ten Mile Sanctuary Manager

Jonathan Ervin

Lead Accountant

Jonathan is a recent transplant to SW Portland from Chicago IL. He moved here with his wife, daughter, and dog in 2021 to explore the wonderful scenery and landscapes around the PNW. Jonathan has a degree in Accounting and has spent the last seven years honing his craft in a variety of industries such as insurance, janitorial services, and medical device manufacturing. He is very excited to join the Bird Alliance of Oregon team and be a part of an amazing organization.

Outside of work, Jonathan enjoys spending time with his family, playing soccer with new friends, and just generally getting out each weekend to explore new restaurants, breweries, or wineries. He also loves hiking new trails with his family or going on bike rides to explore the city through a different lens.

Jonathan Ervin, Lead Accountant

Cara Gates

Coastal Community Science Biologist

Despite growing up in Wyoming, Cara fell in love with the ocean at an early age. This coastal obsession led her to Humboldt State University, where she graduated with a B.S. in Zoology in 2013. She has lived throughout the Pacific Northwest since 2009, working in various realms of conservation, including wildlife rehabilitation, habitat restoration, environmental education, and threatened species monitoring. Cara is excited to combine her passions for conserving threatened species and community engagement in her new position at Bird Alliance of Oregon. Aside from work, she loves to look for whales on the Oregon coast, cook savory foods, draw birds, and travel to new and familiar places.

Cara Gates, Coastal Community Science Biologist

Jessie Good

Wildlife Rehabilitator

Jessie grew up on the Oregon coast, which was a perfect place to foster her deep appreciation for wildlife and natural areas. She followed in her marine biologist dad’s footsteps and pursued a BS in Zoology and graduated from Oregon State University in 2021. While going to school, she volunteered at Chintimini Wildlife Center and discovered a passion for wildlife rehabilitation. After graduating, she became an intern at Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center in Grants Pass and worked her way up to seasonal and then full-time staff. She was able to develop her skills and knowledge at this center for over 2 years before wanting a change of scenery and making the move to Portland to work as a rehabilitator at Bird Alliance of Oregon. In her free time, she likes to go hiking, birdwatching (of course), kayaking, biking, and tending to her many, many houseplants. She also spends a good deal of time taking care of her aquarium, her tortoise, and her tripod cat, Lewis.

Jessie Good, Wildlife Rehabilitator

Ashley Gora Owens

Grant Specialist


Ashley Gora Owens brings with her nine years of nonprofit experience, including five years as a fundraiser and grant professional. Additionally, she volunteers as Treasurer for the Alliance for the Monteverde Institute and as a board member and foster family for the Exotic Bird Rescue of Oregon. She also supports a MAPS bird banding station based at Saint Cloud in Washington. She holds an MBA in Social Enterprise and Finance and an MA in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. As an undergraduate, she studied International Relations and Spanish at Lake Forest College in Illinois. Ashley fills her free time with an ever-growing list of hobbies including running, ultimate frisbee, climbing, birding, collecting house plants, bingeing anime shows, and more!

Ashley Gora Owens, Grant Specialist

Dr. Ashley Hagenloh

Wildlife Care Center Veterinarian

Originally from Rio Rancho, New Mexico Ashley grew up with little knowledge about the importance of wild species populations. However, while obtaining her double bachelors in Wildlife Biology and Biological Sciences, she quickly learned her true life calling, wildlife rehabilitation. Shortly after she pursued a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine through Oregon State University and used her clinical year to focus on gaining experiences in the wildlife rehabilitation and zoological settings. All throughout her higher education experience Ashley made a point to volunteer and work for various wildlife rehabilitation facilities, as she always felt a sense of purpose and belonging. She sees wildlife rehabilitation as essential to maintaining healthy ecosystems and to lessen the impact of human influence on wildlife populations. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, playing the occasional cozy video game and taking care of her mini zoo at home. Currently, she has two dogs, four cats, and one turtle.

Dr. Ashley Hagenloh, Wildlife Care Center Veterinarian

Stephanie Herman

Assistant Conservation Director-Wildlife Care Center Manager

Stephanie Herman became obsessed with wildlife rehab in the early ’90s as a volunteer at Michigan Friends of Wildlife and then the River Raisin Raptor Center.  Her interest led her to the University of Guelph, where she earned her bachelors in Wildlife Biology and developed a fascination for wildlife nutrition. Stephanie interned with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida before becoming a full-time wildlife rehabilitator for the PAWS Wildlife Center in Washington State. After leaving PAWS, she joined the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center as the Wildlife Care Specialist for California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network. In her spare time, Stephanie writes science fiction and fantasy, plays the oboe, and engages in an endlessly rotating cycle of hobbies. She has two indoor cats and a chinchilla, as well as a perpetually dying porch garden.

Stephanie Herman, Assistant Conservation Director-Wildlife Care Center Manager

Ethel Hernandez

Senior Educator, Youth and Family Partnerships Specialist

Ethel grew up in Oregon but had never visited Bird Alliance of Oregon until she was hired as a seasonal educator in 2021. She worked in public education for four years at the David Douglas School District and has done environmental education at the Oregon Zoo. She has degrees in education, curriculum writing, and instruction.

Prior to 2018, Ethel was studying and residing overseas where she spent most of her time working with various communities. She understands the importance of being inclusive and making intentional connections when working with diverse individuals. She is excited to inspire youth in the community and provide meaningful outdoor experiences.

Outside of work, Ethel enjoys going on solo adventures with her Golden Retriever, Whiskey. She loves a good latte and is regularly seen with a cup of coffee in her hand. She appreciates jigsaw puzzles, documentaries, and is easily distracted by dogs. You can spot her on the coast volunteering with the Whale Watching Spoken Here program, where she shares her knowledge and enthusiasm for whales with the public.

Ethel Hernandez, Senior Educator, Youth and Family Partnerships Specialist

Matthew Hushbeck

Associate Director of Development

Matthew joined Bird Alliance of Oregon in 2020 after spending six years working in the nonprofit field. He has a BA in Government and Journalism. He is passionate about joining you (our members, volunteers, and supporters) to protect birds, wildlife, and their habitat.

As a child, he accompanied his mother on excursions to the field while she was getting her BS in Environmental Science. These trips inspired his interest in zoology and later in conservationism while researching his favorite animal, the peregrine falcon. Matthew is an avid backpacker, rock climber, and outdoor enthusiast who is committed to living sustainably.

Matthew Hushbeck, Associate Director of Development

Victor Vasquez-Ibarra

Backyard Habitat Community Coordinator


Victor’s journey in protecting and studying the natural world started at the University of California, Chico where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science with a focus on wildlife biology and environmental conservation. Since his formal education, he has had the opportunity to work through many different avenues of conservation. From surveying Wild Chinook Salmon and Ringtail Cats in rural California to studying behavior of Northern Spotted Owls in the forests of Tillamook. Victor is proud of his Mexican and Indigenous heritage and strives to work with BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) communities within environmental and wildlife conservation. He has gotten the opportunity to foster this inclusive type of conservation by educating at BIPOC focused programs for nature centers throughout the Western United States and fostering community relationships while conducting environmental research.

When Victor is not immersed in his work, he enjoys exploring the outdoors with his fiancé, Alexander, and their twin poodles, Meeka and Ash, and their adventurous cat, Olive. On a rainy day, Victor can be found curled up on the couch with his cat watching true crime TV shows and, on a sunny day, paddle boarding with his husband throughout the PNW.

Victor Vasquez-Ibarra, Backyard Habitat Community Coordinator

Arianne J.

Nature Store Buyer


Arianne is thrilled to be joining the Bird Alliance of Oregon team! Originally from South Carolina, she moved to Oregon in 2005 for college and has lived in Portland since 2010. She comes to us with a long history of customer service including many years of restaurant work and a career in professional theatre.

A lifelong nature enthusiast, Arianne spends most of her free time outdoors hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, and – most of all – birding! She first became involved with Bird Alliance of Oregon as a student, then Birdathon participant, and most recently a volunteer with the Wednesday Work Crew. Arianne looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for wildlife with everyone who stops into the Nature Store! Swing by and say hi!

Arianne J., Nature Store Buyer

McKenzie Joslin-Snyder

Wildlife Rehabilitator

McKenzie has been with Bird Alliance of Oregon since 2012, first as a volunteer, then as buyer for the Nature Store, and more recently as an assistant at the Wildlife Care Center. Named after a river, she really had no choice but to develop an environmental conscience from an early age and has always been drawn to work and hobbies that take her outdoors. Her current work at Bird Alliance of Oregon is a perfect reflection of her varied background; a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon, and previous work experience surveying pond turtle habitat for the BLM, caring for cats at the Shelter Animal Resource Alliance of Eugene, and slinging books at a Portland-based book-tropolis. The thing McKenzie loves most about her job is facilitating a connection between humans and nature that deepens their understanding and sparks enthusiasm for conservation.

McKenzie Joslin-Snyder, Wildlife Rehabilitator

Candace Larson

Master Naturalist

Candace is an avid birder, mycology geek, and native plant enthusiast with a passion for the diverse ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest.  Candace has been active in social and environmental justice struggles since 2001 and their concerns represent the strong connection between healthy ecosystems and healthy communities. Candace began volunteering on Bird Alliance of Oregon bird surveys in 2009, and now works as our Master Naturalist, conducting field research, training community scientists, teaching ornithology classes and leading trips both locally and across the globe.  In their free time, Candace can be found participating in all sorts of nature nerdery, from obsessing over tiny mouse tracks in a mud slick to perfecting their recipe of morel paté.

Candace Larson, Master Naturalist

Diane Le

Staff Accountant

Diane was born and raised in Vietnam before coming to Portland. She decided to reside in Portland after falling in love with its beautiful scenery, weather, and lifestyle. In 2012, she received a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Portland State. After graduating, she gained experience working in different positions from sales, operations, banking, and accounting. Most recently she worked for four years as an accountant at a janitorial company.

She loves traveling, hiking, and exploring new places with her husband and son. In her free time, she also enjoys cooking, watching movies, and listening to music. It feels very special to her to be a part of Bird Alliance of Oregon, helping to protect and spread awareness about wildlife.

Diane Le, Staff Accountant

Ashley Lema

Wildlife Care Center Floor Manager

Ashley first joined Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Wildlife Care Center as a seasonal staff member for the busy baby season, before taking on a permanent wildlife rehabilitator role in 2019. After 5 years of working as a rehabber, she stepped up to be the WCC’s Floor Manager in May of 2024.

She was born with a love for all animals, which was only intensified by growing up in Southwest Florida — surrounded by ospreys, anhingas, ibises, and the ever-charming anoles, just to name a few favorites. She also always felt a need to advocate for and protect them, which ultimately helped her find this unique career. Ashley got involved in wildlife rehabilitation, rescue, and education immediately after graduating high school in 2015, and just kind of never looked back. She is passionate about wildlife conservation and welfare, as well as working with volunteers and community members. Ashley can be found providing advice to people on common urban wildlife issues, teaching volunteers and other staff members, and giving professional medical care to a diverse array of local native species year round; from hummingbirds to bald eagles, chipmunks to beavers, and even the occasional turtle!

In her free time, Ashley enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband Patrick, birding of course, and lounging about with her trio of cats: Mama, Friend, and Ladybug! Ashley is also working towards her Oregon Master Naturalist Certification, enjoys volunteering for organizations like OCCRA and SOLVE or AdoptOneBlock, and occasionally works alongside a herd of goats in the persistent fight against blackberry.

Ashley Lema, Wildlife Care Center Floor Manager

Tara Lemezis

Assistant Director of Adult Learning & Engagement

A Midwest transplant to the Pacific Northwest, Tara owes her love of nature and birding to her childhood in the Hoosier state, watching Great Blue Heron hunt on one of the many lakes she spent her summers on and the year-round “purty purty purty” calls of Northern Cardinals. Tara has been a part of the Bird Alliance of Oregon community since 2013, first as a volunteer in the Wildlife Care Center, then as a member of the Comms team, before she joined the Education Department full time in 2018. For 15 years, Tara has worked to hone her craft in education, communications, leadership and administration. She is a collaborative leader, and with her team of talented educators, is focused on expanding access to the outdoors; amplifying connections between birds, people and place; and creating opportunities for all people to love and care for the natural world in ways that are meaningful for them.

Not only does she love noticing birds, but she also loves when you notice birds. In her spare time, she’s on a dog walk, a bird walk photographing birds, geeking out about plants and working on her gold certified Backyard Habitator relaxing with a good book.

Tara Lemezis, Assistant Director of Adult Learning & Engagement

Joe Liebezeit

Assistant Director of Statewide Conservation

Joe has worked for Bird Alliance of Oregon since 2013 and is currently the Assistant Director of Statewide Conservation. His work encompasses coordinating and leading conservation efforts across the state from coastal marine to eastern Oregon initiatives. Joe’s work crosses conservation science, policy and outreach disciplines. Prior to his position with Bird Alliance of Oregon, Joe worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society leveraging on-the-ground science efforts to protect wildlife in Arctic Alaska. Joe received his Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire and a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University. Joe has lived in the northwest for over 25 years and in Portland since 2005. In his free time he enjoys family time, playing and listening to music, exploring natural areas, and of course, bird watching!

Joe Liebezeit, Assistant Director of Statewide Conservation

Connie Lo, DVM

Wildlife Care Center Veterinarian

Born and raised in Edison, New Jersey, Connie grew up with too many budgies and a subscription to Bird Talk. She eventually moved to California and completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, San Diego prior to receiving her veterinary degree at University of California, Davis with a zoological/exotic animal focus. While completing her education, she pursued volunteer work and training programs through a variety of wildlife rehabilitation centers and zoos. She has been at Bird Alliance of Oregon since Fall 2018. Connie frequents the outdoors and feels wildlife rehabilitation and conservation provide an opportunity to be in touch with nature and the environment, while allowing us to take responsibility for our inevitable impact on the ecosystem. She also enjoys long distance trail running (especially with her border collie, Deckard), backpacking with an oversized pack, yoga, reading tragic novels, and experimental vegan cooking.

Connie Lo, DVM, Wildlife Care Center Veterinarian

Dana Manners

Major Gifts Officer

Dana has a deep passion and love for nature and is happy to join Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Development team. Over the past 12 years, Dana has helped nonprofits establish fundraising and stewardship programs focused on growing annual contributions, major gifts and retaining longtime donors. Most recently, Dana served as the Director of Development and Membership at Pittock Mansion, where she helped establish and strengthen the organization’s membership and fundraising programs.

In her spare time, Dana can be found exploring Pacific Northwest’s forests, searching for agates along the Oregon Coast, or relaxing in the company of friends and family.

Dana Manners, Major Gifts Officer

JP Marchetti-Mendez

Backyard Habitat Certification Program Coordinator

JP joined us as the Backyard Habitat Certification Program Assistant in 2017 after volunteering for Bird Alliance of Oregon for almost a year. In this hybrid position, JP splits his time between the Bird Alliance of Oregon and the Columbia Land Trust offices. JP grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, and although he lived in the city, he has always surrounded himself with plants and animals. He kept a vivarium with poison dart frogs and tropical plants for a few years, but currently only cares for a cat named Michi, some Hawaiian red shrimp, earthworms in his vermicomposting bins, a corn snake, and the wild birds that visit his feeders. JP speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Concordia University and over 13 years of varied clerical experience. JP enjoys hiking, camping, creating artistic projects, volunteering, and being part of the Burning Man community. 

JP Marchetti-Mendez, Backyard Habitat Certification Program Coordinator

Julia May

Volunteer Manager

Julia was born and raised in Sonoma County, CA and moved to Portland in the Fall of 2020. She attended CSU Chico and received a Bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences with focuses in Sociology and Sustainability. Julia brings 7+ years of experience working in volunteer management, education, event planning, and program coordination within both the environmental and LGBTQ+ non-profit sectors.

Julia has been deeply connected to both people and nature from a young age, and has developed a specific passion for helping to bridge the gap to creating lasting relationships between the community and the natural world. Bird Alliance of Oregon was the first place that Julia found refuge after her move to Oregon, and she is thrilled to join the team as the Volunteer Program Manager!

In her spare time, you can find Julia looking for bumblebees in foxgloves, planning her next travel adventure, listening closely to a stranger’s story, or snuggling up with her 18 year old cat – Sapphire.

Julia May, Volunteer Manager

Mary Kate McMillan

Development Coordinator

Mary Kate will be working in the Development Department on our Major Gifts Team. She is very excited to be joining Bird Alliance of Oregon – a place she has admired since childhood. After receiving her B.S. in Social Work from Portland State University, she spent eight years contributing to domestic and international programs, providing emergency resources, advocacy and interventions for survivors of interpersonal violence. Mary Kate is eager to support Bird Alliance of Oregon’s work protecting wildlife and fostering community around love of the natural world. When she is not working, you can find her reading with her cat, tending to her collection of plants, birding, or exploring tide pools on the Oregon Coast.

Mary Kate McMillan, Development Coordinator

Kilee Mendiola

Marketing and Social Media Associate

Kilee was born and raised on the U.S island territory of Guam in Micronesia, and she is proud to be indigenous CHamoru and Palauan. Growing up Kilee witnessed first-hand colonization and militarization’s impact on Guam’s environment, wildlife, history, and communities. Therefore, she is passionate about environmental and wildlife conservation and working together with BIPOC communities to learn and share their stories. Kilee attended the University of Nevada, Reno where she received a BA in Journalism and Film Studies. While working on a student public relations project with Galena Creek Regional Park in Reno, she became inspired to eventually work in environmental and wildlife conservation. Kilee placed her aspiration on hold to further develop her marketing and communications skills through freelance work and a position at an equity-focused cannabis technology company, Blackbird.

Kilee accomplished her enduring dream of moving to Portland in 2021, exchanging the high deserts of Nevada for old growth forests in Oregon. She is grateful to live in what she calls a “natural wonderland” around diverse wildlife and some of the friendliest people on earth. Kilee is ecstatic to join Bird Alliance of Oregon and dedicate her skills to the organization. When she’s not viewing social media videos of otters and bunnies, Kilee thoroughly enjoys watching films and documentaries about nature, true crime, and sociology. She also loves making art, listening to NPR, exploring Oregon’s forests, and playing video games with her partner.

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Kilee Mendiola, Marketing and Social Media Associate

Micah Meskel

Assistant Director of Urban Conservation

Micah began volunteering with Bird Alliance of Oregon at the Wildlife Care Center in 2010, and has served in a variety of staff roles within the conservation and care center programs before becoming the Activist Program Manager in 2018. Micah was born and raised in Portland and attended the University of Oregon and earned a degree in Economics. In his current role, Micah manages Bird Alliance of Oregon’s activist program, works on a variety of local and statewide policy issues, and represents Bird Alliance of Oregon on various committee and coalitions. Away from work, Micah enjoys anything that involves the outdoors, whether it’s kayaking on the Willamette, biking and running around town, hiking in the region’s vast wilderness, or gardening in his backyard. One constant in all of these outdoor activities is that his eye is always to the sky, keeping track of the abundant wildlife activity in our region.

Micah Meskel, Assistant Director of Urban Conservation

Janet Moler

Nature Store Manager

Janet joined Bird Alliance of Oregon in June 2017. She comes to the Nature Store with a strong background of customer service and sales. Janet was born and raised in Western Montana and graduated from the University of Alaska Southeast with a Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts in 2012. After graduation, she worked for Alaska Geographic at the Mendenhall Glacier Bookstore in Juneau, AK, and as a park ranger at Sitka National Historical Park in Sitka, AK. Both of these opportunities inspired her to share her love for nature and history with others. Alaska’s amazing birding opportunities also sparked her love for birding. A few of Janet’s other favorite hobbies include photography, hiking, baking, crafting, hanging out with her dog and fish, and laughing a lot!

Janet Moler, Nature Store Manager

Katie Newton

Ambassador Animal Care and Outreach Coordinator

Originally from southwest Florida, Katie fell in love with birds while interning at the Tracy Aviary. She later moved to Boise, where she worked at a veterinary emergency and specialty center and bird rehabilitation clinic. After shifting her focus to conservation, Katie has kept busy with migratory songbird banding, ground squirrel monitoring, and helping with multiple conservation projects in Madagascar.

Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from New College of Florida, where she focused on animal cognition and studied dolphin vocalizations. Additionally, Katie is pursuing a Professional Science Master’s in Fisheries and Wildlife Administration at Oregon State University.

When not working or studying, you can find Katie rock climbing, crocheting, hiking, marathoning movies and TV shows, or exploring new restaurants with her husband. Katie loves talking with others about wildlife and she’s excited to help Bird Alliance of Oregon’s mission through conservation outreach.

Katie Newton, Ambassador Animal Care and Outreach Coordinator

Katherine Noble

Backyard Habitat Program Co-Manager

Born and raised in Oregon, Katherine has spent over 8 years working with nonprofits in the Portland area with a focus on advocacy and community engagement. She received her B.A. in Child and Family Studies, with a minor in Spanish, from Portland State University. While her prior professional work was within the social services sector, in her free time she could usually be found surrounded by trees, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. From volunteering with the Forest Park Conservancy to taking college and community classes, Katherine is always looking for ways to expand her knowledge and skill set with a focus on the natural world. Her hobbies include: hiking, backpacking, plant identification, creating nature inspired art, and reading a variety of books with her indoor rescue cat, Merlin.

Katherine Noble, Backyard Habitat Program Co-Manager

Megan Ouchida

Development Manager

Megan was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where she grew up exploring all that the beautiful Pacific Northwest has to offer. As a child, she was often found climbing trees, catching critters, or creating clubs with her friends to raise money for those in need. Having developed a passion for animals and nature throughout her childhood, she went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Portland State University in hopes of creating a healthier, more sustainable world.

Megan joined the development team in 2018 and loves being a part of the important work Bird Alliance of Oregon does. In her free time, Megan enjoys hiking, camping, making music, film photography and cycling. She also enjoys spending quality time with loved ones and her mini labradoodle, Penny.

Megan Ouchida, Development Manager

Emily Pinkowitz

Education Director

Emily joined Bird Alliance of Oregon in 2019 after fifteen years building equity in public spaces in New York and California. As Director of Programming at the Wildlife Conservation Society, she worked with teams at five parks across New York to implement an inclusive, audience-driven approach to teaching and learning, and spearheaded a city-wide initiative to democratize access to STEM career training for 1,400 youth. As Director of Programs & Education at Friends of the High Line during the park’s first six years, she initiated programs for all ages and launched economic justice initiatives in partnership with local public housing residents. Previously, she has worked as an educator and researcher at the Oakland Museum of California, the Exploratorium, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Queens Museum, and Four Freedoms Park. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from NYU, and currently serves on the Board of the national Museum Educators Roundtable.

Emily Pinkowitz, Education Director

Quinn Read

Conservation Director

Quinn grew up in Washington and began her conservation career as a teenage volunteer for the Tahoma Bird Alliance. After that, she had stints working for the FBI, a PR firm, a caramel corn stand, a brewpub, the University of Washington, and a law firm (well, the front desk of a law firm). In that order. She started a dog-walking business somewhere in there too. It was a winding road.

Since moving to Portland in 2012, Quinn has worked for both state and national nonprofits to protect Oregon’s wildlife and the habitats they depend on. Quinn holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington and a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. She also serves on the Oregon Environmental Justice Council.

Quinn enjoys gentle thrills, and can frequently be found reading, going for long walks, or adventuring (again, gently) with her husband and son in Oregon’s incredible wild places.

Quinn Read, Conservation Director

Sam Richins

Educator, School Programs Coordinator

Sam is a passionate educator who believes that nurturing positive experiences with nature is both good for the future of our planet and for the development of healthy people. They grew up in South West Wyoming where they spent their time camping and playing outside with family and friends in the sun and snow. They attended the University of Wyoming where they studied environmental science along with human dimensions of environmental systems. Sam’s experience working in youth education has ranged from adventure based outdoor programs; leading backpacking, climbing, and rafting, to teaching Outdoor Schools; both online and outside. They take a creative approach to outdoor education, practicing critical assessment of their own work to make sure they are effectively covering material and that they are reaching kids who may not have a positive connection to the outdoors.

When not outside with kids, Sam can be found baking bread and cakes, riding their bike, writing poetry, listening to music, eating doughnuts, and finding other joyful ways to help shape the world around them.

Sam Richins, Educator, School Programs Coordinator

Deborah Rochford

Membership Manager

Deborah was born and raised in Oklahoma while also living part of the year in Mexico with family. She attended the University of Oklahoma and is a diehard Sooners fan. Moving to Portland in 1999 she instantly fell in love with all the Pacific Northwest had to offer. Although a vast change from the Great Plains she felt right at home among the trees, mountains and hills. Deborah has worked in non profit development and fundraising for almost twenty years, including in higher education at Marylhurst University and in public radio with All Classical Portland. Most recently Deborah spent the pandemic helping local businesses and the city, working with business associations throughout North and Northeast Portland. She has also owned her own photography business and can often be seen looking through a camera lens. She has been an advocate for the natural world since she was a kid and now extends that through her work volunteering with Girl Scouts to inspire the next generation. When not working Deborah loves to be outdoors in her garden, hiking, taking photos and enjoying watching her daughter explore the natural world around her.

Deborah Rochford, Membership Manager

Micah Steinmiller

Facilities and Sanctuaries Technician

Micah comes to Bird Alliance of Oregon from the tidal wetlands of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He brings 6 years of operational and maintenance experience from The Oyster Recovery Partnership, a nonprofit on the Chesapeake Bay dedicated to restoring the Bay’s native oyster population and supporting sustainable fisheries. Additional years of experience in cabinet carpentry and events management provide a unique supportive skillset to the cause of conservation as Facilities and Sanctuaries Technician.

Spending much of his childhood exploring the circuitous waterways of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge just outside of Cambridge, Maryland imbued Micah with a deep appreciation of our natural world. A life of involvement in sustainable initiatives and consumption of environmentally focused literature has followed. Bringing more and diverse groups of people to similar wonder and awareness is a motivation in choosing Bird Alliance of Oregon as his professional home. Micah moved to the PNW in 2022 with his wife, Christina, and they make a cozy home in NE Portland. Building on a degree in Social Science from Portland State University, Micah is hoping to further his education in sustainability in the coming years. In his free time he enjoys running and reading, or can be found preparing for an upcoming camping or skiing excursion.

Micah Steinmiller, Facilities and Sanctuaries Technician

Sarah Swanson

Events Manager

Sarah is a lifelong Oregonian and avid birder. She has a BA in Biology from University of Oregon and a Master’s of Public Administration from Portland State University. She has written two books about local birds, the most recent of which is a just-released guide to Oregon Coast birds. Sarah’s favorite places are the Oregon Coast and central Oregon, and she enjoys traveling there with her husband and their dog. In her non-birding time, Sarah enjoys embroidery and cross stitch and reading mysteries. Sarah has been a part of Bird Alliance of Oregon as a staff member, volunteer, and contractor at various times since 2006 and she is excited to be back on staff.

Sarah Swanson, Events Manager

Kesia Tosh

Senior Educator, School Partnerships Specialist

Kesia has worked in environmental education for 10 years and is one of the newest
additions to Bird Alliance of Oregon. She grew up in Beaverton, Oregon and loves working
with all of the diverse communities that the Portland area is made up of. Her passion is
engaging and connecting families and students from different backgrounds to nature.
When she’s not working with us, Kesia is a basketball coach and an avid fan. She loves
spending time outside on warmer days, hiking, reading and watching movies with her

Kesia Tosh, Senior Educator, School Partnerships Specialist

Andrés Umaña

Senior Educator, Camps Specialist

Andrés is native to the highlands of Colombia, a temperate, rainy and mountainous zone in the Andes that resembles the Pacific Northwest in weather and vegetation. At a young age he moved to Texas to complete his studies in Biology, with emphasis on Biochemistry. During the next decade he worked in different industries ranging from R&D chemistry labs to finance, as well as international development and education. In the end, his devotion for nature combined with his interest in sustainability and the well-being of native communities, led him to study a Master’s in Environmental Management at Los Andes University. He then launched a successful ecotourism business built on sustainable practices, that to this date, has taken thousands of international visitors to dreamy natural destinations in his native Colombia. Andrés moved to Oregon recently and is excited to further his career in environmental education with Bird Alliance of Oregon. He brings nearly two decades of experience to the table and hopes to instill a sense of belonging, compassion and urgent care for our natural world in younger generations under an equity lens. 

Andrés uses any spare time he has to travel, see and experience new places with friends and family. He also enjoys playing and coaching soccer and follows cycling and boxing matches closely. He cherishes Latin American music, food, colors and dancing.

Andrés Umaña, Senior Educator, Camps Specialist

Abby VanLeuven

Assistant Director of Youth Learning & Engagement

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Abby grew up exploring and growing to love all of the beauty and learning that the natural world has to offer. As an avid participant of Outdoor School as a child and teenager she understood first hand how important having spaces outside the classroom are to creating learning opportunities for all children. After trying many different career paths in geology, grassroots organizing, and field research, the world of Environmental Education kept bringing her back in. 

Abby started at Bird Alliance of Oregon in 2017 as a seasonal educator before joining the staff full time that same year. Over the last few years Abby has worked to build out Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Outdoor School Program and partnerships with Clean Water Services, USFW, ELSO inc and more! She loves working with partners to make programming student specific and engaging to students from all over Portland and is excited to keep progressing this work as the Youth, Family and School Programs Manager.  

In her free time you can find Abby backpacking, playing Ultimate Frisbee, gardening and snuggling with her cat!

Abby VanLeuven, Assistant Director of Youth Learning & Engagement

Stuart Wells

Executive Director

Stuart was born in Logansport, Indiana, but moved to Arizona with his parents when he was a teenager. While Indiana sparked his love of nature and the outdoors, Arizona’s diverse ecotypes helped shape his interests in wildlife conservation and the environment. 

Stuart obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology from Northern Arizona University, his Masters of Science from George Mason University, and his Ph.D.  in Wildlife Conservation is near completion from the University of Arizona.  

While much of Stuart’s career involves working in Zoos, his focus has always been on species conservation and actively participating in field conservation. His work at the Smithsonian National Zoo focused on developing reproductive strategies for the endangered cheetah to improve managed care reproduction. Stuart has developed propagation for release programs for many endangered taxa, including cactus ferriginous pygmy owls, masked bobwhite quails, black-footed ferrets, and Mt. Graham red squirrels. He also participated in the Arabian Oryx breeding program, which is credited for saving the oryx from extinction in the wild.

Stuart Wells, Executive Director

He has held several leadership roles within Government and NGOs and worked as a Wildlife Biologist at US Fish and Wildlife Service administering the Endangered Species Act. 

When Stuart is not working, you will likely find him capturing the beautiful landscape and wildlife of Oregon through photography, playing pool or racquetball, and exploring the endless hiking trails of Portland with his dog Odin.  

“One reason that I am so excited to join Bird Alliance of Oregon is the dedication and passion that all of the people who work here have for understanding what species need to survive, seeking ways to maintain habitats necessary for their continued existence, and helping the Oregon community embrace bird species, and all wildlife conservation efforts.” 

Teresa Wicks

Eastern Oregon Biologist

x̣est sx̣lx̣alt! Teresa joined Bird Alliance of Oregon in April 2018. In her role as Eastern Oregon Field Coordinator, Teresa works on avian conservation and monitoring, policy and collaboration work, and connecting folks from Harney County and throughout Oregon to birds and the conservation work being done throughout the Harney Basin. Teresa spent her childhood roaming the forests of Southern Oregon while her father climbed trees. Her early-childhood obsession with birds led to a lifetime full of birds and nature, and earned her the nickname Bird. Teresa has a B.S. in Natural Resources and Wildlife Conservation, an M.S. in Environmental Education, and a PhD in Environmental Science from OSU. Teresa has fallen in love with Harney County and can’t get enough of the sagebrush scented air and juniper speckled hills. In her spare time, Teresa enjoys exploring new places with her wife and dogs, reading, picking wild berries, and sewing fanciful creations for her many nieces and nephews. Teresa co-founded the Rural Alliance for Diversity and is active in Indigenous activism and working to dismantle white supremacy in rural Oregon.

Teresa Wicks, Eastern Oregon Biologist

Chris Williams

Adult Learning Manager, Local Programs

Chris has been interested in birds and wildlife since he was a child. Chris grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where he first started to make observations of the natural world. He received a BS in Zoology from The Evergreen State College where he was able to get hands-on experience in ornithology, marine mammalogy, and tropical ecology. Upon graduating Chris worked for Audubon South Carolina where he participated in ongoing prothonotary warbler studies and led kayak and canoe tours through a swamp. Realizing the importance of science communication and education, he would go on to receive his Masters in Environmental Education from Western Washington University. After graduating, he spent three years as an Interpretive Park Ranger with the National Park Service, working at North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park, and Saguaro National Park.

Chris now works for Bird Alliance of Oregon as the Adult Learning Manager for local programs. He strives to create a more inclusive birding community and bring traditionally underrepresented groups into outdoor spaces. His favorite hobbies include birding, kayaking, and backpacking and his favorite trail snack is banana chips.

Chris Williams, Adult Learning Manager, Local Programs

Lindsey Wyckoff

Administrative Coordinator

Lindsey first joined Bird Alliance of Oregon as a volunteer with the Wildlife Care Center before transitioning to a staff role in 2023. She grew up in the Midwest and earned her B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Minnesota. Lindsey’s love of birds first started in high school when she worked as an intern researching Tree Swallows at Iowa State University. In 2016, she and her partner moved to Portland after falling in love with Forest Park. Since then, Lindsey has had the opportunity to work at iconic Portland destinations Powell’s Books and the Oregon Zoo. She is excited to join Bird Alliance of Oregon as Administrative Coordinator and connect with visitors while supporting Bird Alliance of Oregon’s important work. In her free time, Lindsey loves running, hiking, camping, reading horror novels, and watching birds at the feeder with her two (indoor) cats.

Lindsey Wyckoff, Administrative Coordinator