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Staff Biographies

Meet the Audubon Society of Portland's staff!

Ian Abraham
Camp Director/On-site Programs Manager

Ian teachingIan started at the Audubon Society of Portland in 2006 and has been teaching within the Portland Metropolitan area since 1999.  Born and raised in Chicago, IL., he set out to work, teach, and educate in the informal outdoor setting provided by the riches of the Pacific Northwest. With an extended stop in Alaska and backcountry leadership work with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), in 1998 he moved to Portland.

Ian holds a Masters of Art in Environment and Community through Antioch University and has taught for many outdoor education programs, including Multnomah Counties Outdoor School, Cascadia Wild, Wolftree Inc., Tryon Creek and the Oregon Zoo. Ian’s focus is within the science and art of animal tracking as well as wilderness living skills.

Tony Arnell
Membership Manager

Tony Arnell

Tony joined Portland Audubon in January 2017 after celebrating a 9 year career in the non-profit industry. His varied experience in fundraising comes from holding roles at the OHSU Foundation, Friends of Zoo Boise, and the Oregon Zoo Foundation. Before joining the Portland Audubon team, he supported the conservation, education, and animal welfare programs at the zoo as Annual Giving Manager. There he managed fundraising activities for the annual fund while also working to inspire support from new and long-time donors to the organization. Growing up, Tony’s family home was surrounded by forest on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, Oregon, so his love for our natural world was instilled in him at a very early age—and continues to inspire him every day. On his downtime, he enjoys road trips along the West Coast, yurting and camping, attending live theatre and music shows, spending time with family and friends, and going on walks with his dog Zeppelin. 

Ali Berman
Communications Manager

Ali BermanAli Berman joined the Portland Audubon family 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 Portland Audubon, Ali spent nine years working as the Communications Coordinator at HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers) helping to bring human rights, animal protection, and environmental ethics issues into classrooms around the United States and beyond. She believes that if we teach people to stand up for people, animals and the planet, they will feel empowered to change the world for the better.

Ali is also a writer. Her first two books, “Misdirected” (Seven Stories Press) and “Choosing a Good Life” (Hazelden) were published in 2014. In her free time, Ali can be found rock climbing, writing, photographing wildlife, reading, snuggling her two rescue (indoor) cats, and hiking. 

Keia Booker
Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Keia Booker

Keia came to the Portland Audubon in the summer of 2015. She is originally from Oklahoma (home of the scissor-tailed flycatcher!) but spent most of her life traveling and moving from place to place, roaming the Earth in search of a new home. Portland is where she landed. 

Keia’s background is in theater and the arts; receiving her BFA in theater and film from the University of Oklahoma, acting in music videos for bands like the Flaming Lips and curating shows at the New American Art Union. She is the former manager at Stumptown Coffee Roasters and private event coordinator at Loyly Sauna & Steam, as well as din din Supper Club. She has always volunteered for non-profits such as the Portland Art Center and PICA, but this is her first opportunity to work at one. Through her talents, she attempts to make lives a little easier, a little better for her community. As Audubon’s office coordinator and executive assistant, she will act as the conduit for the staff, board, volunteers, members, and guests. It is her privilege to serve all of the conservationists, artists, naturalists, birders, and people just interested in the beauty of our surroundings. Keia is also excited to learn new and interesting things about birds and our natural surroundings.

Lacy Campbell
Wildlife Care Center Manager

Lacy CampbellLacy came to the Audubon Society of Portland as a volunteer in 2010. She has worked with wildlife since 1999, beginning at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City as a volunteer. She quickly moved on to Bird Show Trainer/Educator, and then to Aviculture Specialist, where she worked with over 200 species of birds. She relocated to Portland in 2007, receiving her B.S. in Organismal Biology from Portland State University.

Lacy is deeply passionate about environmentalism, wildlife conservation, and urban/wildlife conflict. She has dedicated her life to bringing about positive change through education and a healing hand wherever possible. In her spare time, Lacy enjoys cycling, hiking, backpacking, birding, tinkering in the garden and lounging around with her two favorite animals: her husband Chris and her indoor cat Abby.

Mary Coolidge
BirdSafe and Lead-free Campaign Coordinator

Mary Coolidge 2015

Mary served as Portland Audubon's Assistant Conservation Director from 2008-2012, and is now serving as Audubon's BirdSafe Portland Campaign Coordinator. Mary grew up hiking, camping and backpacking all over the West, where she developed a deep love of the natural world and a lifelong interest in ecological communities. She received a bachelor's degree in biology from Lewis & Clark College in 1997 and spent a decade studying the biology of a wide array of bird species in both urban and rural environments. Mary is dedicated to improving efforts to make urban environments more hospitable to wildlife and helping connect people to nature and place. She splits her time between Center for Diversity & the Environment, the Oregon Zoo's California Condor breeding facility, and Audubon Portland. She’s also a volunteer naturalist in Metro’s school field trip program, and spends her free time beekeeping, birdwatching, horseback riding, mushroom hunting and occasionally escaping to a meandering river to fly fish.

Tim Donner
Environmental Educator

Tim DonnerTim spent two years volunteering at Audubon’s Wildlife Care Center before joining the staff full time. He received his Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies at the University of Texas and spent the next three years working as a miner, doing restoration work and tree planting throughout the West. He spent five winters studying bison around Yellowstone National Park, where he built and lived in an igloo to stay warm. He has also surveyed for Marbled Murrelets in the Coast Range of Oregon and banded Burrowing Owls in Wyoming, living 20 miles from the closest town in a broken-down trailer with no electricity or water.

Before joining Portland Audubon, Tim worked for three years as a trip leader for Cascadia Wild, teaching the public about wildlife surveys and animal tracking. Tim is excited to combine his passion for the natural world with his desire to strengthen the bonds between kids and nature. When he isn’t in the woods climbing trees and crawling along game trails, he can be found on his touring bicycle, pedaling with no destination in mind.  Watch a video of Tim teaching Spring Camp.

Marissa Duncan
Education Assistant

Marissa Duncan

Marissa started as the Education Program Assistant in October of 2015 but has had a long history with the Portland Audubon. Starting as a camper in her early teens, Marissa worked as an intern for Portland Audubon’s summer camp and then as a seasonal Environmental Educator. After graduating with a degree in biology from the University of Oregon, Marissa worked in marine research, advocacy, and conservation.  She spent two years doing intertidal research up and down the Oregon coast for Oregon State University’s PISCO marine lab and advocated for the establishment of marine reserves with Our Oceans. She has since returned to Portland Audubon with a renewed passion for environmental education.   

When she’s not exploring or sharing the wilds of Oregon with others, Marissa has a passion for travel that has taken her to working for a humpback whale institute in Brazil, studying in New Zealand, and trekking the Peruvian and Patagonian Andes, but always returning home to the Pacific Northwest!

Paul Engelmeyer
Ten Mile Sanctuary Manager

Paul Engelmeyer - Joe Liebezeit

Paul Engelmeyer has managed Portland Audubon’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 Portland Audubon’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.

Nick Hardigg
Executive Director

Nick Hardigg

Nick joined as Executive Director in 2015, after spending four years leading the Portland Parks Foundation. In 2014, he co-chaired Portland’s Fix Our Parks campaign that helped pass a $68 million parks bond. Hardigg has also served as executive director for the Alaska Conservation Foundation, and director of finance and operations at The Nature Conservancy in Oregon. He has worked as a filmmaker in environmental education, served as chief of tourism and concessions management at Grand Canyon and Denali national parks, and served on numerous nonprofit boards.

Nick holds an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management with a focus on nonprofit management, and a B.A. in environmental science with honors from Wesleyan University.

Mike Houck
Urban Naturalist

Mike Houck - Ron CarleyMike has been the Audubon Society of Portland's Urban Naturalist since 1982. He received a B.S. in Zoology from Iowa State University and an MST from Portland State University (1972).

He is also Executive Director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, which was founded in 1999. Mike co-edited “Wild in the City, A Guide to Portland's Natural Areas” (OHS Press, 2000); “Wild in the City, Exploring The Intertwine” (OSU Press, 2011); and the international “Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology” (Routledge, 2015). He was a co-founder of the Coalition for a Livable Future (1994) and The Intertwine Alliance (2012).

Avery Hurst
Development Coordinator

Avery Hurst

Avery joined Portland Audubon’s development team following a move from her hometown of Chicago, Illinois.  Prior to this transition, she worked for the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance in both the Development and Programs & Interpretation departments for five years. There, she advocated for the Conservatory’s historical and unique tropical plant collection by immersing herself in non-profit fundraising, membership engagement, environmental education and programming, and community outreach.  Prior to her work at the Conservatory, she worked for the Chicago Park District’s Culture, Arts and Nature department, leading the summer camping programs around and outside the city for seven years.  Avery holds a BS in Recreation Management and Tourism from the University of Vermont, minoring in Spanish.  

When possible, Avery enjoys travel and learning about new cultures, wildlife and their habitats.  She spent a semester studying ecotourism and natural history in Costa Rica and followed her undergraduate studies with eight months backpacking across South America. In the past year, she traveled around Southeast Asia eating, photographing and scuba diving, and toured the southern states of the U.S. camping and couch-surfing. She is very happy to settle in Portland with her partner and indoor cat, finding spare time to bike, swim, hike, play soccer, garden and adopt the fastest growing outdoor sport as her newest pastime - birding. 

Joe LiebezeitJoe Liebezeit
Avian Conservation Program Manager

Joe joined Portland Audubon in July 2013. He has over 20 years’ experience as a wildlife biologist and conservationist studying birds and other wildlife in diverse habitats throughout the U.S. and internationally. Prior to his position with Portland Audubon, Joe worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society for 12 years, leveraging on-the-ground science efforts to protect wildlife from oil development and climate change impacts in Arctic Alaska.

After growing up in suburban New Jersey, 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 nearly 20 years and in Portland since 2005. In his free time, Joe enjoys family time with his wife, two daughters, and pets. Joe enjoys playing and listening to music, exploring natural areas, and of course, bird watching!

Candace Larson
Candace Larson
Field Biologist

Candace began volunteering on Portland Audubon bird surveys in 2009, and now works as a Field Biologist in our conservation program, including a tenure each spring at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, helping the refuge meet their avian conservation goals. She is also a Trip Leader in our education program, leading both domestic and international birding tours with a focus on bird biology and habitat preservation.

Candace is an avid birder, mycology geek and native plant enthusiast,with a passion for the diverse ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. She has been active in social and environmental justice struggles since 2001, and like many Auduboners, her concerns represent the strong connection between healthy ecosystems and healthy communities. In her free time, Candace volunteers as a naturalist with Metro, helping our region's kids and adults connect with the birds and ecology of our wonderful urban forests and greenspaces. She can also be found participating in all sorts of nature nerdery, from obsessing over tiny mouse tracks in a mud slick to perfecting her recipe of morel paté.

Sally Loomis
Nature Store Clerk

Sally Loomis - James DavisNature Store Clerk since 2007, Sally grew up playing in fields and forests in the Pleasant Valley and Damascus areas around Portland. She then headed towards the Midwest to earn a B.A. in Social Anthropology at Oberlin College, while spending many hours at the campus radio station and baking bread in a dining co-op. Subsequent years brought a variety of slacker jobs in book and record stores in Berkeley and Portland, before she settled in for a nine-year stint at the Reed College Library. She handles the book-buying duties for the Nature Store, and loves to combine her interest in nature and environmentalism with her book background. Sally lives in Northeast Portland with her husband, Metro Naturalist James Davis, goldfish Tugboat Annie and Jules Verne, and a backyard full of wildlife.

Nancy Mattson
Nature Store Manager

Nancy Mattson - Lacy CampbellNancy has been the manager of the Nature Store since 2007. Born and raised in southern Nevada, Nancy left the Mojave Desert for the woods of the Pacific Northwest when she moved to Portland to attend Lewis & Clark College. For many years she was a piano tuner and technician, working with Reed College, Chamber Music Northwest and most of the lively nightclubs that made up Portland’s jazz music scene. Later, she managed a retail nursery specializing in wetland and pond plants. She is delighted to bring her retail skills to the Portland Audubon Nature Store, where she loves working with serious birders, backyard nature lovers and families exploring the Audubon sanctuary. Her home in southwest Portland lies within the conservation zone for Arnold Creek. With a pond and surrounding forest, there are frequent encounters with chipmunks, deer, waterfowl, songbirds and even the occasional coyote. Nancy loves to garden, hike, canoe and occasionally roller skate at Oaks Park.

Micah Meskel
Micah Meskel
Conservation Field Coordinator

Micah began volunteering with Portland Audubon at the Wildlife Care Center in 2010, and since that time has served in a variety of staff roles within the conservation and care center programs. He has been in his current position as Conservation Field Coordinator since 2015. Micah was born and raised in Portland, leaving town only briefly to attend the University of Oregon where he graduated in 2008 with a degree in Economics. Micah manages Portland Audubon’s activist program, works on local and statewide policy issues, and gives the conservation department and Wildlife Care Center more capacity to protect our environment and communities.

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 all birds in his sight.

Katrina MontoyaKatrina Montoya
Sanctuaries Caretaker

Katrina joined Portland Audubon in November 2016. She grew up living and playing along the Willamette and Umpqua Rivers and their tributaries. After high school she served an eleven months service term in an AmeriCorps environmental-based program in Trout Lake, Washington. This experience started her on a career path conserving, maintaining and enhancing fish and wildlife habitats in natural areas throughout Oregon and Washington. She graduated from Oregon State University with a B.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Applied Ecology and Resource Management in 2009. Over the past 15 years she has worked with a variety of different NPO’s, AmeriCorps programs, public universities, local governments and park districts. Along the way she has developed many skills including basic sawyer skills, sustainable trail maintenance and a strong interest in the ‘Flora of the Pacific Northwest’, all of which she is excited to put to use as the Sanctuary Caretaker.

Laura Newton
Environmental Educator

Laura NewtonLaura joined Portland Audubon in October 2013. She is passionate about the outdoors and loves spending as much time as possible exploring wild places. She has a biology degree in natural history and wilderness studies from the University of Montana. Although Laura has loved nature her whole life, her two years at Wilderness Awareness School in Western Washington ignited the spark that kicked off her journey into outdoor education. She participated in a yearlong immersion program focused on natural history and wilderness survival, followed by a nine-month instructor apprenticeship program, a nine-month tracking intensive course, and a season teaching for Wilderness Awareness School’s summer camps.

Laura went on to work three seasons as an instructor for Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center in Montana, strengthening both her mentoring skills and her natural history knowledge. She loves bringing kids into nature and watching their eyes light up with excitement and curiosity. At Portland Audubon, she is excited to continue fostering the connection between children and the natural world around them.

When not adventuring in the forest, she enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, traversing the city by bike, and learning to pick her mandolin.

Xander PattersonXander Patterson
Finance and Operations Director

Xander joined Portland Audubon at the start of 2013. He has a BA in Anthropology from Reed College and an MBA from PSU. His career has taken a lot of twists and turns, but always in the direction of progressive social change. He worked in recycling when it was still a movement, covered the civil wars in Central America in the late 1980s, had a regular column on the op-ed page of The Oregonian, was co-chair of the Pacific Green Party, and was twice elected director of the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. As ED of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, he played a significant role in organizing all those "don't attack Iraq" rallies in the run up to the war. Most recently, he was the business manager at Cedarwood Waldorf School. Through it all he has run a nonprofit management consulting business on the side. And he is always a devoted papa to his darling daughter.


Bob Sallinger
Conservation Director

Bob Sallinger

Bob has worked for Portland Audubon since 1992. His current responsibilities include directing local, regional, and nation conservation policy initiatives, wildlife research initiatives, the Backyard Habitat Certification Program, and Wildlife Care Center. Bob’s passion for conservation was developed early exploring the woods of Massachusetts and later on solo hikes from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail and from Canada to Southern Colorado on the Continental Divide.

Bob has a B.A. in Biology from Reed College and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School. He currently serves on the board of Humane Oregon and as an adjunct professor of law at Lewis and Clark Law School. He lives in Northeast Portland with his wife Elisabeth Neely, three children and an assortment of critters including dogs, cat, goats, pigeons, chickens and a hedgehog.

Deanna Sawtelle
Volunteer Manager

Deanna SawtelleDeanna, Volunteer Manager since 2007, comes to Audubon with years of experience training and working with volunteers, first as a teacher and then as an assistant principal. In 1987, she decided she wanted to return something to the community so she started volunteering at the Oregon Zoo (and later at Audubon). Eventually, Deanna was hired as Oregon Zoo show staff where she did animal displays, assemblies, classroom presentations, and summer on-grounds shows for 18 years. 

Between the zoo and now with Audubon’s education birds, Deanna has trained more than 300 volunteers how to care for and handle hawks, owls, falcons, ravens and vultures. “Volunteers are absolutely wonderful people. They are dedicated and fun and bring all sorts of skills and talents to any organization. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Over the years, volunteering has enriched my life in ways too numerous to mention. It’s my honor to share the experience with Audubon’s terrific volunteers.”

Stephanie Taylor
Field Organizer

Stephanie TaylorStephanie joined Portland Audubon in 2016 as the Conservation Field Organizer. She works to recruit, maintain and activate Portland Audubon's Activist Network. Prior to Portland Audubon, Stephanie worked for Oregon Wild and the Pacific Wolf Coalition as a community organizer for the protection of Oregon’s threatened gray wolves. Stephanie has worked with nearly a dozen local community organizations in Oregon focused on forest and animal defense, mitigating climate change, environmental justice, and equity issues. She has a BS in Environmental Science with a strong focus on conservation biology and ecology from Evergreen State.   

When not volunteering with local community groups, Stephanie can be found frolicking in the foothills of the Cascades, the Blue Mountains or the Wallowas. She loves hanging from the canopy of old growth forests, strolling along the Oregon’s biodiverse coastline, foraging in the forest for mushrooms and medicinal herbs, wrestling with her (indoor only) cats, or home-cooking delicious vegan food. She has a Permaculture Design Certification from Costa Rica. She practices herbalism and backwoods medicine, and is a certified Wilderness First Responder. 

Dan van den Broek
Trip Leader and Educator

Dan van den BroekDan started birding at a young age we he began to notice the birds around a 10-acre woodland next to his parents' house. His enthusiasm for birds led him to the Audubon Society of Portland and his first bird walk along the railroad tracks of the Springwater Corridor, where he saw his first Great Horned Owl. He initially went on as many Audubon Outings, Christmas Bird Counts, and Birdathons as possible, relying on his parents to take him, but soon began leading them himself. Inspired by the leadership at Portland Audubon and Oregon Birding Association, he began searching for a career where he could enjoy birds and the outdoors.

Dan got his first seasonal job as a biologist in Texas to survey endangered Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos. More opportunities followed, including stints at Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Redwood Sciences Lab, Klamath Bird Observatory, Costa Rica Bird Observatory, and Avifauna Northwest. Dan also worked in customer service for many years at the Backyard Bird Shop. In 2004, Dan led his first Audubon field trip to Costa Rica where his group of enthusiastic participants saw more than 300 species of birds. Dan enjoys sharing in the discovery of nature and travel at Portland Audubon and now leads trips to 16 countries. He also teaches the popular World of Birds program to help people learn more about bird science and ID, and to be more aware of the natural world. When Dan isn’t birding he might be botanizing, identifying dragonflies and butterflies, or plotting how to naturescape, plant edibles and attract birds and pollinators to his garden.

Nikkie West
Backyard Habitat Program Manager

Nikkie WestNikkie joined Portland Audubon's conservation department in August 2011, and primary manages the Backyard Habitat Certification Program. Prior to Audubon, she worked with several local non-profits and jurisdictions including Metro, City of Milwaukie and the Community Cycling Center, and helped found the small-but-growing North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council.

Nikkie comes from the countryside of northern Michigan, and was raised by a family of rural conservationists. She completed an undergraduate degree in International Development and Political Science at Indiana University and spent much of the last decade living, working, and traveling in Portland, West Africa, India, South America and Honduras. Nikkie is a life-long amateur naturalist and has a passion for gardening, native landscaping, and native plants. When she’s not at Audubon, she can usually be found outside in her garden (often just watching the plants grow), hiking, biking, camping, or laughing with friends.

Donna Wiench
Donor Relations

Donna WienchBeing in nature helps Donna Wiench feel alive and happy. And being Donor Relations Manager at Portland Audubon is a good fit since many of our members feel the same way.  

Donna has hiked, skied and snowboarded for decades and recently backpacked the 93-mile Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier. She finds Portland Audubon a wonderful place to indulge her curiosity about nature, while helping support the advocacy/conservation and education arms of ASoP. As a birder, Donna is a beginner, but she’s eager to learn and is enthusiastic about the outdoor opportunities Portland Audubon presents.

Before Portland Audubon, Donna was development director for Daybreak Youth Servicers, Columbia Land Trust and Reclaiming Futures at Portland State University. Earlier in her career, she was a reporter/host for KPLU, the NPR affiliate in Seattle and a reporter for KOIN-TV when she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities journalism fellowship to the University of Michigan.  She also was an adviser for China Central Television in Beijing.  

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