Introducing Our Interim Conservation Directors

by Stuart Wells, Executive Director

As we begin the search for a new conservation director, we are fortunate to have two existing team members step in to serve in the interim. Joe Liebezeit will serve as interim statewide conservation director, and Micah Meskel will serve as interim urban conservation director. Together they possess over 20 years of experience at Bird Alliance of Oregon and significantly longer over their careers.


Joe Liebezeit and Micah Meskel
Joe Liebezeit, Interim Statewide Conservation Director, and Micah Meskel, Interim Urban Conservation Director

Joe Liebezeit joined Bird Alliance of Oregon in 2013 as staff scientist and avian conservation manager, and possesses a master’s degree in wildlife management. 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 the Alaskan Arctic. During his 10 years here, Joe has grown the coastal marine program at Bird Alliance of Oregon: he helped establish west-coast-wide protections for forage fish species (important prey for seabirds), facilitated the designation of eight rocky habitat protection areas, and worked to uplist the Marbled Murrelet from threatened to endangered under Oregon’s Endangered Species Act. Additionally, he has built a statewide community science program coordinating with over 300 volunteers from the coast to the Portland Metro Region. These community science efforts help support the benefit of habitat restoration to wildlife in the Portland area, contribute to the recovery of the endangered western Snowy Plover, and help minimize impacts on the Black Oystercatcher, a species of conservation concern. Joe represents statewide conservation on the Ocean Policy Advisory Council, which provides the governor with recommendations on management of our state waters.

In Joe’s interim role, he will be leading Bird Alliance of Oregon’s statewide conservation and policy efforts, including maintaining his leadership on coastal conservation initiatives and overseeing our eastern Oregon work, statewide forest initiatives, and other relevant work across Oregon. He will continue to oversee the community science program but will be delegating much of that work to our very competent staff.

Micah Meskel came to Bird Alliance of Oregon in 2010 as a volunteer in the Wildlife Care Center, where he immediately got hooked by the innovative Living with Wildlife conservation program that proactively resolves conflicts with wild animals who share our urban landscape. He transitioned to staff in 2012 and worked in numerous roles within the conservation department and Wildlife Care Center before stepping into his most recent role with Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Activist Program as its manager in 2018. He has been instrumental in supporting the department’s ambitious conservation agenda by connecting the organization’s members, activists, and broader community to advocacy opportunities. In addition, he has led his own portfolio of urban policy campaigns and on-the-ground collaborative conservation projects, and has represented Bird Alliance of Oregon in countless community-based coalitions. Micah’s experience in multiple roles throughout the organization over more than a decade gives him insight into how inter- and intradepartmental collaboration is instrumental to Bird Alliance of Oregon’s success, and it has helped inform his conservation campaign and program development.

In Micah’s interim role, he will be leading Bird Alliance of Oregon’s urban conservation policy and advocacy agenda, managing programmatic staff who oversee the Backyard Habitat Certification Program (co-led with partner Columbia Land Trust), the BirdSafe and Lights Out programs, and the Wildlife Care Center.

Joe and Micah are excited about heading up the conservation program as we search for new leadership to continue our 120-year conservation legacy. They look forward to building on the extraordinary work that Bob Sallinger accomplished during his 30 years at Bird Alliance of Oregon, as well as the work of the entire conservation team, all of which places us at the forefront of Oregon’s conservation efforts.