The RVCC is sponsored by Wallowa Resources, led by two full-time staff, and supported by a Leadership Team comprised of long-term Coalition members invested in our success. The RVCC Leadership Team advances the mission of the Coalition through strategic planning and decision making. Leadership Team members offer a wide range of geographical and issue area expertise, forming a diverse group that is representative of the Coalition.
rvcc leadership team
nils christoffersen, executive director, wallowa resources
Nils is the Executive Director of Wallowa Resources, based in Enterprise, OR. Nils has diverse experience in place-based natural resource management from working around the world, including ranching in Australia, farming in Israel, fishing and forestry in Norway, and forestry and wildlife in southern Africa. He is passionate about working landscapes and the role of rural communities in their stewardship. He is a graduate of both Williams College (B.A. Economics) and Oxford University (M.S. Forestry), and has served on many local and national boards - including the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry. He currently serves on the Oregon Board of Forestry, World Forest Center's Board of Directors, and Enterprise School District Board.
karen hardigg, rvcc coordinator, wallowa resources
In her role as the Special Initiatives Program Coordinator at Wallowa Resources, Karen coordinates the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition. Before joining Wallowa Resources, she spent nearly eight years working in Southeast Alaska on community forestry, forest stewardship, restoration and policy both at The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy. She holds a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. A Portland native, Karen is passionate about the outdoors and finding solutions to challenging natural resource management problems.
ASHLEY ROOD, RVCC Program Associate, Wallowa Resources
In her role as the Program Associate for RVCC, Ashley supports the Coalition Coordinator in communications, outreach, logistics, strategy, and organizing. A fifth-generation Arizonan, Ashley's roots in the west run deep. She comes to RVCC and Oregon after over a decade of working at the intersection of rural landscapes and environmental policy across the west for organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund. A storyteller at heart, she's worked on several books celebrating collaborative conservationists, including: Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman. You'll most often find her outside, exploring the mountains, rivers, and bike lanes of her new Northwestern home, and digging in the dirt of her Portland urban farm. She has a degree in Environmental Humanities from Northern Arizona University.
about wallowa resources
Wallowa Resources, a non-profit founded in 1996, develops, promotes, and implements innovative solutions to help the people of Wallowa County, Oregon and the Intermountain West to sustain and improve their communities and their lands. This work includes education and research, as well as land stewardship and business development. As of 2015, Wallowa Resources is the fiscal sponsor of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition.
dylan kruse, policy director, sustainable northwest
Dylan is the Policy Director for Sustainable Northwest and is responsible for both state and federal legislative activity and agency engagement. He also manages the Western Juniper Alliance, and works on biomass utilization and energy projects across the Northwest. Dylan is co-chair of the Oregon Forest Biomass Working Group and holds a seat on the steering committee of the National Rural Assembly. Before joining Sustainable Northwest, he attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR and received a B.A. in International Affairs. His work at Sustainable Northwest has linked his diverse interests of resource management, conservation, renewable energy production, and economic development.
about sustainable northwest
Sustainable Northwest is a non-profit based in Portland, Oregon that restores forests, rivers, and rangelands for healthier habitat and clean air and water. By bringing people together to find common ground, they are rebuilding a regional economy based on land stewardship, and markets for sustainable wood and clean energy. Founded in 1994, Sustainable Northwest is a pioneer in solving problems through collaboration and has grown into one of the most trusted organizations working at the intersection of the environment, economy, and community. Sustainable Northwest developed the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition in 2000, and organized its efforts for 10 years, distributing information on policy developments, raising funds, and supporting the participation of our members.
cass moseley, director, ecosystem workforce program
Cassandra Moseley is a research professor and associate vice president for research at the University of Oregon. She also directs the Ecosystem Workforce Program and the Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE) at the UO. She is on the graduate faculty in Political Science as well as affiliated faculty in Environmental Studies and Planning, Public Policy and Management. She currently chairs the USDA Forestry Research Advisory Council, which provides advice to the Secretary of Agriculture about forestry research priorities. She is member of the Northwest Fire Science Consortium, a former board member of the Flintridge Foundation and the Applegate Partnership, and a former associate editor for policy of the Journal of Forestry. Prior to joining UO in 2001, she was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Florida. She received her M.A., M.Phil, and Ph.D. from Yale University in political science, and her B.A. in mathematics and government from Cornell University.
The EWP, based at the University of Oregon, was founded in 1994 to support the development of a high-skill, high-wage ecosystem management industry in the Pacific Northwest. Since that time, EWP has fostered forest-based sustainable rural development in forest communities by developing restoration workforce training curriculum and supporting local quality jobs programs in forest communities. They have supported community-based forestry programs through applied research projects, such as understanding the distribution of benefits from federal forest management and the working conditions of forest workers. They also support community-based forestry by working collaboratively with forest communities to educate national policy makers about impacts of forest policy on forest communities and landscapes.
melanie parker, sonoma county regional parks (former executive director, northwest connections)
Melanie is co-founder of Northwest Connections and served as its Executive Director for 18 years. She is known for her ability to bring diverse people together to accomplish large scale projects. Melanie was the primary catalyst behind the Montana Legacy Project, an effort to permanently protect 310,000 acres of corporate timber land, and she helped initiate and manage the Southwestern Crown Collaborative. In 2015 Melanie accepted a position with Sonoma County Parks in northern California where she is designing and implementing their natural resource program. Melanie graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science. She attained a Master's of Science degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana in 1997.
Regional Parks' mission is to create healthy communities and contribute to the economic vitality of Sonoma County by acquiring, developing, managing and maintaining parks and trails county-wide. Regional Parks preserves irreplaceable natural and cultural resources, and offers opportunities for recreation and education to enhance the quality of life and well-being of residents and visitors to Sonoma County.
nick goulette, executive director, watershed research and training center
Nick Goulette is the Executive Director of The Watershed Research and Training Center, located in Hayfork, CA. Trained as a forester, he has worked in a wide range of capacities over the past 11 years, taking over leadership of the organization after 5 years serving first as Stewardship Coordinator and then Deputy Director. He oversees programs focused on forestry, fire and fuels, watershed and fisheries, youth engagement, enterprise development, policy and research, operating at the local, regional and national level. Locally, he has planned and managed a wide range of forest management, prescribed fire, and community wildfire protection projects. Regionally, he helped to establish the CA Forest Biomass Working Group, the CA Statewide Wood Energy Team, and is the Chair of the Northern CA Prescribed Fire Council. He also serves as the national project director for the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network. Nick earned a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Vermont (2004) with a concentration in Community-based Forestry.
lynn jungwirth, senior fellow for policy and development, watershed research and training center
Lynn Jungwirth is the Senior Fellow for Policy and Development at the WRTC, located in Hayfork, CA. Lynn was born and raised in a milling and logging family in a small timber town in Oregon. She has been an activist on social issues in forest towns for over twenty years. Lynn has testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, providing expert testimony on topics such as Community-based Forestry, Wildfire Policy, and Stewardship Contracting. Well known for her expertise in the field, Lynn has shared her knowledge with other communities and organizations throughout the west striving to restore their economies through forest stewardship and restoration.
The Watershed Research and Training Center (WRTC) is a community-based non-profit organization in far northern California. The WRTC’s mission is to promote a healthy forest and a healthy community through research, training, education, and economic development. Since 1993, the WRTC has been working to revitalize the economy of Hayfork, CA and rural communities across the west by creating local restoration jobs, aligned businesses, and a culture of land stewardship.
zander evans, RESEARCH director, the forest stewards guild
Dr. Zander Evans, the Research Director at the Forest Stewards Guild, directs and conducts research to supports on-the-ground implementation of ecological forestry. His current research includes the effectiveness of fuel treatments and sustainability of forest bioenergy. He received his PhD from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies after working as a cartographer and spatial analyst with the US Geological Survey.
The Forest Stewards Guild practices and promotes ecologically, economically, and socially responsible forestry as a means of sustaining the integrity of forest ecosystems and the human communities dependent upon them. Our members are foresters, conservationists, resource managers, scientists, students, forestland owners, policy makers, and land stewards working in forests throughout the United States and Canada.
johnny sundstrom, founder and director, siuslaw institute, inc.
Johnny Sundstrom has lived most of his life in the American West, and has crossed the continent overland many times. He is part-owner and manager of a livestock and forestland operation in western Oregon. As founder and Director of the Siuslaw Institute, he provides natural resources consulting and administers watershed restoration and education projects. He also serves as head track and field coach at the local high school. For more than 40 years he has spent part of every summer visiting his relations in Wyoming. He graduated from Williams College with a degree in English Literature, and has published several novels available on Amazon and other outlets.
The Siuslaw Institute, Inc, was founded in 1994 as a locally-based, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to the improvement of community and habitat in the Coast Range of Oregon, particularly in the Siuslaw River Basin. They engage in programs of research, education, action, monitoring, and communication designed to restore, enhance, and utilize the watersheds of the Coast Range of the Pacific Northwest in ways that will protect biological diversity, conserve natural resources and habitat, and contribute to the sustainable improvement of human society.
gina knudson, executive director, salmon valley stewardship
Gina joined the staff of Salmon Valley Stewardship in July 2006 and became the executive director in January 2007. She has served as a Salmon City Council member and on the board of directors for the Salmon Arts Council and the Lemhi Afterschool Promise nonprofit organizations. In 2010, she was appointed to the Lemhi County Planning and Zoning Commission and in 2013 named the vice-chair of the commission. She is an appointed member of both the Idaho Governor’s Lewis and Clark Trail Committee and the Idaho Economic Advisory Council. Prior to moving to Salmon with her family in 2002, Gina worked as the environmental public affairs officer for Mountain Home Air Force Base. She later worked for the engineering firm CH2M Hill’s Boise office as a technical writer and editor.
Salmon Valley Stewardship works to promote a sustainable economy and a healthy environment in the Salmon River Region of Idaho. They’ve been working in the forestry, community planning, and agriculture sectors since 2004, promoting the values and traditional ways of life that make the Salmon River Region special.
jay mclaughlin, executive director, mt. adams resource stewards
Jay has been working with communities and natural resource issues since 1995, including stints as a forester with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, forestry consultant, the Peace Corps in Panama and as a high school teacher in Glenwood. Jay has a master degree in forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, a bachelor degree from Whitman College, and is the founding director of MARS.
Mt. Adams Resource Stewards mission is to promote sustainable connections between the land, local economies, and rural communities in the Mt. Adams Region. Their efforts seek to grow more vibrant rural communities by:
- Maintaining and creating reliable, living wage jobs and economic opportunity built around our greatest asset – our natural resources;
- Facilitating and demonstrating land stewardship that supports resilient, functional ecosystems across ownerships;
- Providing youth with opportunities to engage in local land–based traditions and knowledge while embracing 21st century understanding, the evolving role communities can have in resource management, and awareness of the relevance of rural, resource-based communities to our broader society.
gary burnett, executive director, blackfoot challenge
Gary has 30 years of experience in natural resource management and nonprofit development. He has worked with and for public and private landowners/managers, and is experienced in land protection and stewardship; prescribed fire; and natural areas, wildlife and habitat management. Gary has developed and directed annual fund, major gift and planned giving programs for three national organizations. He holds a Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology from University of Montana. Gary has served as the Blackfoot Challenge’s Executive Director since May of 2007.
about blackfoot challenge
The Blackfoot Challenge is a landowner-based group that coordinates management of Montana’s Blackfoot River, its tributaries, and adjacent lands. It is organized locally and known nationally as a model for preserving the rural character and natural beauty of a watershed. The Mission of The Blackfoot Challenge is to coordinate efforts that will enhance, conserve and protect the natural resources and rural lifestyles of the Blackfoot River Watershed for present and future generations. They support environmentally responsible resource stewardship through cooperation of private and public interests.
bob christensen, regional catalyst for natural resources, sustainable southeast partnership
Bob is the Regional Catalyst for Natural Resources with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) in Southeast Alaska. Bob works with the SSP community catalysts on natural resource assessments, planning, project prioritization, workforce development, project implementation, business development, subsistence enhancement, habitat restoration, and tourism enhancement among others. Bob also focused on enhancing the socio-political environment for communities to be successful stewards of the lands and waters that surround them, working with a variety of people in conservation organizations, business groups, tribal organizations, chambers of commerce, and city, state and federal governments. Bob lives on Lemesurier Island, near Glacier Bay, Alaska and has been working as an environmental consultant in Southeast Alaska for nearly 15 years.
The Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) is a diverse network of organizations working together to meet the challenge of sustainable community development in Southeast Alaska. SSP’s mission is to empower rural Alaskan communities to reach cultural, ecological and economic prosperity. The partnership includes international, regional and community-based organizations who collectively support locally-identified priorities. The Sustainable Southeast Partnership includes representatives from tribal governments and community organizations in the rural villages of Kake, Kasaan, Hydaburg, Hoonah, and Yakutat.
Top photo credit: Bob Christensen