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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.

Ali Berman
Communications Manager

Ali BermanAli Berman joined the Portland Audubon family in September, 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 human rights, animals protection and environmental issues, 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 Coordinator

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 Operations 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.

Tajsha Carlson
Development Assistant

Tajsha Carlson

Tajsha Carlson joined the flock in August, 2015. She has been solving the Raiser’s Edge puzzle for over 14 years. After working with a variety of nonprofits Taj is excited to put her skills to work here at Audubon Society of Portland. Having watched the Vaux Swifts every year since she was 12, she was thrilled to become part of the Audubon team who officially counts swifts! 

When not working in databases, Taj loves to build communal art projects and participate in festivals. She is frequently found camping with her friends and hiking with her eight year old black Labrador, Obadiah.

Mary Coolidge
BirdSafe 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.

Tom Costello
Sanctuaries Director

Tom Costello - S BextonTom started at Portland Audubon in June 2007. He holds a multi-disciplinary degree from Harvard University, where he studied the literature, traditional crafts and religious practices of various cultures. After a two year stint as a high school teacher and wrestling coach, Tom dusted off his boots, threw what he could in a backpack, and moved to Cascadia. After a few years playing in the woods, mountains, deserts, and rivers, Tom decided a return to the classroom was not in the cards; instead he chose to return to the work that occupied his summers through his high-school and college days: carpentry and landscape construction. Tom has worked as a team leader for the Northwest Service Academy's EnviroCorps program, manager of the Portland Habitat for Humanity ReStore, tree planter for numerous plantation owners, and most recently as a project manager for the ReBuilding Center's Deconstruction Services. When not working, Tom spends most of his time with his awesome family, volunteering with the City Repair Project, and walking an incredibly round-about path towards spiritual enlightenment.

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.

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).

Greg Kurtz
Sanctuaries Assistant

Greg started at Portland Audubon in 2001.

Jim Labbe
Urban Conservationist

Jim LabbeUrban Conservationist since 2003, Jim grew up enjoying a nature-rich west Portland neighborhood. He has more than 20 years of experience in natural resource planning, research, and advocacy as a student, watershed council coordinator, consultant, citizen advocate and general Oregon enthusiast. He holds a B.A. in history from Reed College and an M.S. in Physical Geography from Portland State University. His past research includes a history of the Rogue River Salmon Fishery and a study of river channel morphology in the Tualatin River Watershed, the latter published in Geomorphology in 2011. In 2005 he authored a chapter in the Coalition for a Livable Future's Regional Equity Atlas that assessed access to parks and nature in the Portland-Metro region. In 2007, Jim revised Portland Audubon's Urban Natural Resource Directory.

Since 2010, Jim has staffed Audubon's East-side Branch office at Leach Botanical Garden, where he manages several habitat protection, access to nature, and constituency-building projects while advising local conservation advocates throughout the Portland-metro region. Jim serves on the board of the Friends of Gateway Green and represents Audubon in the East Portland Action Plan. In his free time, Jim enjoys biking, tango dancing, studying Russian, playing music, and lollygagging in his garden.

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!

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
Conservation Assistant

Micah MeskelMicah began volunteering with Audubon at the Wildlife Care Center in 2010, and since that time has also served in a variety of temporary staff roles within Audubon’s conservation and care center programs. 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. In his current role at Audubon, Micah focuses on supporting and organizing Audubon’s activist networks, and giving the conservation department 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 back yard. 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.

Pam Meyers
Membership Development Coordinator

Pam Meyers

Pam joined the Development team in January 2010 after serving as an active volunteer in many program areas for over a year and a half, and becoming deeply impressed with Portland Audubon’s mission and people. She moved into her current position in July 2011. Pam and her husband moved to Portland from Dallas, Texas in 2008. A West Coast native and life-long amateur naturalist, she had been yearning to get back to the Pacific Northwest for years and wanted to switch career paths from the commercial sector to conservation work.

Pam did her undergraduate work in Biology and has an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University. Pam brings a background in corporate marketing and operations management, as well as a passion for birds and their habitat, to play in helping Portland Audubon accomplish its goals. Pam lives in southwest Portland, less than 10 minutes from Audubon’s amazing sanctuary. When not working for Audubon, Pam and her husband enjoy hiking, kayaking and exploring their adopted state. She also continues to volunteer for Audubon as an Education Bird Handler and doing point counts for Audubon’s Citizen Science program.

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 Manager

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.

Steve Robertson
Education Director

Steve RobertsonSteve has been Education Director since 1998, also currently serves on the Board of Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. He previously managed OMSI's Science Classes, Camp-In and Science Academy Programs, and the Outreach department, which delivered programs over an eight-state region. Steve also spent five years at OMSI's Marine Science Camp and five years at Multnomah County Education Service District's Outdoor School program.

He holds a BS in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University, and an MST and secondary Teaching Certificate from Portland State University. Steve's interest in wildlife have taken him to Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Madagascar, and South America, where he has spent significant time in the field.

Gladys Ruiz
East-side Conservation Education Coordinator

Gladys Ruiz - Tinsley HunsdorferGladys started working as the East-side Conservation Education Coordinator in September 2012, but she originally landed at Portland Audubon in 2011 by way of its Explorador program. As a co-coordinator of this community-based camp, she worked to bring hands-on environmental education to Latino communities and other minority youth in the Portland metro area.

Born and raised in New York City, Gladys has been teaching young explorers since she was an Urban Park Ranger in New York’s Central Park back in 2000. Since moving to Portland in 2005, she has worked with a variety of different organizations including the Community Cycling Center and Forest Park Conservancy, and in Clackamas County educating youth about urban and natural environments. As the new East-side Conservation Education Coordinator, you will find Gladys staffing Portland Audubon’s east-side branch, planning and hosting events out of Leach Botanical Garden, and coordinating Audubon’s new youth leadership program.

Bob Sallinger
Conservation Director

Bob SallingerBob has worked for Audubon since 1992. His current responsibilities include directing Audubon's local, regional and nation conservation policy initiatives, citizen science and wildlife research initiatives, Living with Urban Wildlife Program, Backyard Habitat Certification Program and Wildlife Care Center Program. 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 New Mexico 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 Portland Parks Board as a publicly elected director of the East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District 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, a dog, cat, goats and chickens.

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.”

Eric Scheuering

Eric Scheuering
Adult Education Program Manager

Before coming to work at the Audubon Society of Portland, Eric was a wildlife biologist at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, zoologist and data manager for the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center, and a middle school science teacher. He has more than 15 years of experience in the conservation biology field – with particular expertise in avian ecology and threatened species. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Montana and a master’s in Science Teaching from Portland State University. A lifelong birder, he began birding as a child growing up in Montana and continues that tradition with his teenage son today.

Deb Sheaffer, DVM
Wildlife Care Center Veterinarian

Deb SheafferDeb had volunteered at Audubon for several years when she was hired as the first staff veterinarian in 2003. A native of North Carolina, Deb received a BA in biology from Wake Forest University, where she was involved in Eastern Fox Squirrel research. While obtaining her DVM degree from Iowa State University Deb managed a wildlife center and taught wildlife medicine to veterinary students. After veterinary school she landed happily in the Pacific Northwest.

Deb currently serves as President on the Portland Veterinary Medical Association Board. When not working Deb likes spending time hiking with her husband, 2 teenagers, and 3 dogs.

Ann Takamoto
Development Director

Ann Takamoto

Ann has been Development Director at Portland Audubon since 2007. Ann oversees a diverse program that includes membership, donations, donor, foundation and corporate relations; and special events. Ann has also been responsible for much of the organization's social media initiatives. Prior to working at Audubon, Ann served as Development Director at Hands On Greater Portland, where she helped launch the organization's first membership and marketing campaigns, and as Development Director of Schoolhouse Supplies and InAct, Inc. Working as a development officer since 2001, Ann has ten years of experience in corporate, foundation and individual donor relations, event management and marketing. Before moving to the non-profit world, Ann worked in the for-profit sector in sales, new business development and production management. Previously, Ann served as Marketing Chair on the Board of Directors of the Willamette Valley Development Officers, on the Board of Directors at Hands On Greater Portland. Ann enjoys hiking, playing the accordion, riding horses and spending time with her husband, dog and two parrots.

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 Coordinator

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.

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