The RVCC is sponsored by Wallowa Resources, led by three 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 DIRECTOR, wallowa resources

Karen has served as Director of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition since 2015. 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.

TYSON BERTONe-RIGGS, RVCC Program Manager, Wallowa Resources

Tyson grew up in Western Oregon and earned a dual B.A. in geography and political science from the University of Oregon in 2004. After graduation he moved to Washington DC to work as an intern, and later press assistant, for a US Senator. Although a rewarding experience, tha landscapes of the West called him back, resulting in almost a decade of work in natural resources across the West. Desiring a return home to Oregon and re-engagement with policy, Tyson earned a Master's degree from Oregon State University in 2016 with a focus on federal land management policy and social science. He has since worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry in the new Federal Forest Restoration Program, utilizing new authorities and working with forest collaboratives in Central and Eastern Oregon.


After completing her degree at Missouri State University, Jessica Sabine came to Oregon and began working to build stronger regional food systems in the Willamette Valley, supporting farmers, small business owners, and regional suppliers as a marketing and communications professional. Inspired by our cultural and economic connections to the land, she has spent the better part of ten years working to strengthen rural communities through public engagement, outreach development, and grant writing support. Most recently, she worked with a range of state and federal partners throughout six western states coordinating the production of native plant seedlings for Greater sage-grouse priority habitat management areas.  In her communications role with RVCC, Jessica Sabine works to strengthen rural resiliency, promote RVCC’s collective policy platform, and elevate conservation partnerships across our communities.

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. 

about the ecosystem workforce program

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.

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.

about the watershed research and training center 

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, EXECUTIVE director, the forest stewards guild

Dr. Zander Evans, the Executive 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. 

about the forest stewards guild

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.

about the siuslaw institute, inc.

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.

TONI RUTH, executive director, salmon valley stewardship

Toni moved to Salmon in 2005 and has been with Salmon Valley Stewardship as a founding member since her arrival to Lemhi County. She became the new Executive Director of SVS in October 2016. Toni studied mountain lions for over 25 years, publishing numerous scientific articles, popular articles and is in the final stages of completing a book, Yellowstone Cougars: Ecology Before and During Wolf Restoration. Toni also worked seasonally for Idaho Department of Fish and Game and was the High Divide Coordinator for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Toni enjoys horseback riding on Idaho’s beautiful public lands and playing hockey.

about salmon valley stewardship

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.

about mt. adams resource stewards

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, HEART OF THE ROCKIES

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 Heart of the Rockies' Executive Director since November 2017.


The Heart of the Rockies Initiative is a land trust partnership that works to conserve both continentally significant ecological values at the landscape scale and community values that are prized locally. This partnership provides strategic vision, the latest science, and international cooperation to the strong collaborative work being done by 22 lands trusts, protecting critical habitats and private ranch, farm and timberlands in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and Alberta.

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.

about the sustainable southeast partnership 

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