Meet our Staff - Columbia Land Trust

Columbia Land Trust strives to employ great people. Our scientists, stewardship staff, conservation practitioners, and advancement team are among the best in their fields. More important, they are connected to their communities and deeply invested in the future of the Northwest. Our staff is committed to working with integrity and listening to many points of view, even those that differ from our own. We believe that it’s only by coming together, by finding common ground with the wonderfully diverse people who live and work in our region, that we all can create a Northwest that will endure.

Directors

Steve Cook
Steve Cook
General Counsel Email Steve
Bio

As our general counsel, Steve brings trenchant legal insight to every aspect of our stewardship and conservation work. He also works closely with our Board of Directors and is responsible for maintaining accreditation. Steve has worked in land conservation for over 15 years, and joined our staff in 2013 after many years of private law practice. Steve loves to hike, grow his own food, cook, and write.

Amy Costello
Amy Costello
Chief of Staff Email Amy she | her
Bio

Amy has worked for nonprofits since 1998, and has been with Columbia Land Trust since 2010. Amy oversees our organizational systems and employee programs. Outside of the office, she likes to spend time with her family.

Cherie Kearney
Cherie Kearney
Forest Conservation Director Email Cherie
Bio

As one of the Land Trust's first employees, Cherie's thoughtfulness and experience infuse our work. Today, Cherie is our forestry conservation director, where she puts her collaborative spirit toward conserving working forestland and large landscapes. She's our go-to person for heading up conservation projects that initially seem complex—or even impossible. Cherie is a runner, boater, hiker, sailor, and all-around lover of life.

Dan Roix
Dan Roix
Conservation Director Email Dan he | him
Bio

Dan spent eight years leading the Land Trust’s conservation work in the Portland-Vancouver area before moving into the conservation director role in 2016. Before joining us, he spent three years with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy. He plays both basketball and bluegrass.

Meg Rutledge
Meg Rutledge
Executive Director Email Meg she | her
Bio

Meg Rutledge joined the Land Trust as Executive Director in 2023. With a doctorate in environmental management, she previously served as the Director of Biodiversity Threats at the New Zealand Department of Conservation, where she led the development of the department’s national strategies for climate change adaptation, biosecurity, and strategic investment into research and innovation. Meg has experience and a strong interest in understanding how land protection impacts indigenous access to resources, and affects endangered species management.

Meg lives in Ridgefield with her family and enjoys backcountry running, and cooking from the family’s home garden.

Ian Sinks
Ian Sinks
Stewardship Director Email Ian he | him
Bio

Ian is charged with the care and management of all of Columbia Land Trust’s lands—no small job. From conducting site evaluations to exhaustive long-term management plans to executing complex habitat-restoration projects, Ian makes sure our lands are the best they can be. A Land Trust employee since 2000, he lives with his family in a wooded retreat along Gee Creek in Washington.

Jennifer Wilkerson
Jennifer Wilkerson
Advancement Director Email Jennifer she | her
Bio

Jennifer joins our team with nearly two decades of experience in philanthropy and nonprofit communications. She brings great joy and curiosity to this work, and is grateful for the opportunity to get to know Land Trust supporters and grow our community of nature lovers and conservationists. She lives near Cougar Creek in Vancouver with her husband and two children. They stay busy hiking and tending to their hens and garden.

Staff

Jonathan Albarran
Stewardship Assistant
Simon Apostol
Simon Apostol
Natural Area Manager Email Simon he | him
Bio

Simon Apostol joined the land trust as a Natural Area Manager in 2021, bringing a decade of experience working on floodplain and wetland restoration projects in Oregon and Washington. When he’s not waist-deep in a flooded stream, Simon likes to dry out by heading for the mountains by foot or bicycle.

Ramona Arechiga
Ramona Arechiga
Natural Area Manager Email Ramona she | her
Bio

Ramona joined the Land Trust as a Natural Area Manager in December 2022, after working for local and state government in Oregon and California as an ecologist and forester. She holds a M.S. in Forest Resources from Oregon State University. While earning her master’s degree she also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia. Ramona loves to learn the lands she manages and how each property fits into the larger landscape. When not out on a Land Trust site you may find her planting dahlias.

Mitch Attig
Mitch Attig
GIS Manager Email Mitch he | him
Bio

After spending nearly five years as a stewardship assistant and land steward at Columbia Land Trust, Mitch transitioned into leading the Land Trust's GIS work in April of 2020. Growing up in Oregon, Mitch garnered a strong appreciation for the Pacific Northwest and the ecosystems that we are all lucky to experience here. A lifelong fisherman and sports fan, Mitch tries to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors.

Adam Baek
Adam Baek
Stewardship Assistant Email Adam he | him
Bio

Adam Baek grew up in Portland Oregon with his twin brother and two sisters, always playing games and spending time with friends and family. He enjoys rollerskating, riding motorcycles and (attempts) DJ’ing. Traveling is something important to Adam, and it was because of his trip to Peru that he found a strong interest in conservation. He remembers being in the Amazon rainforest and learning about tradition, culture, and environmental inequity. Outside of work, Adam engages and educates youth as a mentor for the Blueprint Foundation.

Debbie Berthold
Debbie Berthold
Accountant Email Debbie she | her
Bio

Debbie joined the Land Trust in 2015 with 20 years of experience in non-profit accounting and a passion for the health of our wonderful earth. She's thrilled to work alongside like-minded folks doing work she cherishes. Outside the office, Debbie loves to walk with her dog, Hannah, and tend to the mini-forest on her apartment balcony.

Theo Bradford
Theo Bradford
Administrative Assistant Email Theo they | them
Bio

Theo moved to the Pacific Northwest from Tennessee in 2014 and has since become a lover of outdoor spaces. They joined the Land Trust as the administrative assistant in March 2022. Currently, they are pursuing an undergraduate degree in Sustainability with a focus in Justice Studies while also obtaining a GIS certification. Theo enjoys hiking, rock climbing, camping, reading, and spending time with their three cats.

Peter Condra
Peter Condra
Events Manager Email Peter he | him
Bio

Peter Condra joined Columbia Land Trust in 2022 as Events Manager after working for over a decade in event planning and business administration. His professional origins are in Portland's music community, as a guitarist and as an event producer formerly at Mississippi Studios and She Shreds Media. In his spare time, he loves planting trees, going to shows, and spending time with his partner Izzy and their dogs.

Kate Conley
Kate Conley
Natural Area Manager Email Kate she | her
Bio

A true champion of collaboration, Kate came to the Land Trust in 2013 after five years leading the Wasco County Watershed Councils. Based out of our Hood River office, Kate stewards our Oregon-side gorge properties, from rolling hills near The Dalles to Hood River’s Powerdale Corridor near her own backyard. Hula hooping makes Kate happy.

Lindsay Cornelius
Lindsay Cornelius
East Cascades Oak Partnership Manager Email Lindsay she | her
Bio

Since 2002, Lindsay has headed up a wide array of restoration and land-management projects in the East Cascades, including the (ongoing) removal of eight miles of road from the Klickitat River floodplain. A writer and storyteller at heart, Lindsay enjoys exploring with her family and her llamas from her home base in White Salmon.

Max Diaz
Max Diaz
Communications Coordinator Email Max he | him
Bio

Max comes to Columbia Land Trust from Eugene, OR where he spent the past two years developing an inclusive community program for youth. Raised in the Willamette Valley, Max draws inspiration from the wild places around him and the diverse ecosystems of the Northwest. He is excited to apply his experience to the work of the Land Trust by connecting people to nature and sharing unique conservation stories. In his free time, he enjoys trail running, biking, and traveling with his family.

Kelsey Farabee
Kelsey Farabee
Communications Manager Email Kelsey she | her
Bio

Kelsey brings several years of nonprofit communications experience to her role with Columbia Land Trust. She is honored to put her skills and creativity to use sharing the Land Trust's conservation work and uplifting stories of the people, communities, and nature in the Columbia River region. She loves exploring the Northwest via foot, skis, canoe, and bike!

Helen Gavrilov
Helen Gavrilov
Stewardship Assistant Email Helen she | her
Bio

Helen joined Columbia Land Trust in 2019 as the Administrative Assistant. In 2021, she transitioned to the Stewardship Team as a Stewardship Assistant, where she gets to live out her passion for conservation by caring for our conserved lands. Helen recently earned her Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Oregon State University, with a focus in ecological restoration. Outside of work, she enjoys adventuring outdoors with her family and admiring old-growth forests.

Sanoe Keliinoi
Sanoe Keliinoi
Natural Area Manager Email Sanoe she | her
Bio

After joining the Land Trust in 2017, Sanoe worked her way up through the ranks from Stewardship Assistant to Natural Area Manager and now oversees two large, complex properties in the Land Trust’s portfolio. She enjoys the physicality of on-the-ground restoration and revels in the meticulous detail landscape-scale conservation requires. In her spare time, Sanoe is a connoisseur of tequila, master jigsaw puzzler, and massive fútbol fan.

Adam Lieberg
Adam Lieberg
Natural Area Manager Email Adam he | him
Bio

Adam Lieberg joined the Land Trust as a Natural Area Manager in June of 2022. Prior to settling down at the mouth of the Klickitat River in Lyle, WA, Adam worked as a field biologist monitoring a variety of plants, trees, and critters from the northern Rockies to the eastern Sierras. Adam has a passion for all things natural history and is always looking to get off the beaten path and explore wild places.

Elizabeth Martin
Elizabeth Martin
GIS Coordinator Email Elizabeth she | her
Bio

Born and raised in Kansas, Elizabeth moved out west in 2014. She worked in various land stewardship and restoration roles until heading back to school to earn a graduate certificate in GIS at Portland State University. She joined the Land Trust in 2022 and is excited to use her ecological knowledge and technical skills to support the Land Trust’s mission. In her free time, you will find Elizabeth birding, baking, and spoiling her dog, Henry.

Emily Matson
Emily Matson
Natural Area Manager Email Emily she | her
Bio

Emily has worked as a land steward since 2014. Before joining the Land Trust she worked on habitat restoration projects for watershed councils and a local stormwater utility. Her master's degree research took her to the Ecuadorian Andes, where she studied grassland plants at an elevation of 12,000 feet. When she's not traveling, Emily enjoys being home in the Northwest and caring for her flock of backyard chickens.

Keely McIntyre
Keely McIntyre
Grants Manager Email Keely she | her
Bio

Originally from the green mountains of Vermont, Keely has called the Pacific Northwest home since 1999. She has spent much of her grant writing career as an advocate and fundraiser for the arts, and performed with local dance companies herself for a decade and a half. She is thrilled to join Columbia Land Trust in 2019 and looks forward to using her skills towards the advancement of conservation in the region. When she’s not exploring Portland’s culinary bounty, she enjoys camping, hiking, and kayaking with her family.

Lydia Mendoza
Lydia Mendoza
Conservation Lead Email Lydia she | her
Bio

Lydia joined the Columbia Land Trust in 2018 with a background in development for land conservation and a Master of Forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Lydia leads the Land Trust’s conservation work in the Coast Range and Estuaries region. When not working, she is excited to explore her new home in Astoria and the greater Pacific Northwest.

Marian Ohara
Marian Ohara
Database Administrator Email Marian she | her
Bio

Born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, Marian moved around the Northeast, South, and Northwest before settling in the Portland area in 2015. She has worked at non-profit organizations in development since 1994, specializing in Raiser’s Edge database software. Marian spends her free time reading or checking out new places and foods to try with her husband.

Brieanna Pantele
Brieanna Pantele
People and Culture Administrator Email Brieanna she | her
Bio

Brieanna joined Columbia Land Trust in 2016. Originally from southern California, Brieanna worked in administration for six years and brings her passion for the work to our non-profit. Out of the office, she enjoys exploring her new home and everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Jennifer Paul
Jennifer Paul
Advancement Coordinator Email Jennifer she | her
Bio

Jennifer started her career with Columbia Land Trust in 2021 as the Advancement Administrative Assistant and in June 2022 transitioned into her current role as the Advancement Coordinator. She is passionate about nonprofit fundraising and is excited to use her skills in a way that will make a lasting impact on our region. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys trying new recipes, going to spin classes, and picnicking when the weather is nice!

Susie Peterson
Susie Peterson
Backyard Habitat Certification Program Manager Email Susie she | her
Bio

Susie is passionate about helping community members create vibrant and beautiful spaces in their yards and neighborhoods. Before joining the Land Trust she worked at Friends of Trees helping neighbors at community planting events. Susie loves nearly any outdoor activity, but especially enjoys hiking, camping, birdwatching, and looking for interesting flora and fauna.

Noel Plemmons
Noel Plemmons
Conservation Easement Manager Email Noel he | him
Bio

Noel began his career with the Land Trust in 2018 as a seasonal stewardship assistant while conducting graduate research in land trust-tribe relations. He found such an affinity for conservation that he spent the following three years stewarding natural areas for Washington DNR. Noel re-joined the Land Trust in 2022 to take on all things conservation easement-related, working with landowners to protect and enhance the precious lands, resources, and habitats under their care. Outside of work Noel is happiest landscaping, gardening, building things, climbing things, and traveling as much as possible.

Isabel Rojas
Isabel Rojas
Stewardship Administrative Assistant Email Isabel she | they
Bio

Isabel has worked in conservation since 2018, coming to Columbia Land Trust from the West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. Her interests in rural and urban conservation include helping landowners manage invasive species, increasing wildlife habitat, and removing social and economic barriers to make the benefits of conservation accessible to all. Isabel enjoys bushwhacking for mushrooms, listening to music from around the world, exploring cookbooks, and traveling to places near and far.

Pamela Swearingen
Pamela Swearingen
Transaction Coordinator Email Pamela she | her
Bio

A second-generation real estate industry professional, Pamela is honored to combine her years of real estate experience with her love for the Pacific Northwest wild spaces. Raised in the dusty dry desert of the SW, she now happily calls the rainy Pacific Northwest her home. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, and listening to vintage vinyl records.

Austin Tomlinson
Austin Tomlinson
Natural Area Manager Email Austin he | him
Bio

Austin was raised on the northern Oregon Coast, where he returned after graduating from Humboldt State University with a degree in soil science. He has worked for various conservation organizations throughout the Northwest, many of which specialized in restoration of riparian, forestry, and wetland habitats as well as agricultural impacts to water quality. Austin enjoys surfing, fishing, and hunting.

Nate Ulrich
Nate Ulrich
Conservation Lead Email Nate he | him
Bio

Nate manages our land acquisitions east of the Cascades out of the Hood River office. He has a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon with an emphasis on development of conservation tools that facilitate landowner and community priorities. He mostly gardens.

Teddy Wingo
Teddy Wingo
Development Manager Email Teddy he | him
Bio

Teddy comes to the Land Trust with great annual giving experience in higher education, and has also worked in the conservation space for the Washington Trails Association. He is an avid hiker with a goal of completing 52 hikes in 52 weeks in 2022 and loves to spend time on the slopes in the winter. Teddy currently calls Washington home with his wife, Aki, and their nine-year-old German Shepherd, Indie.

Ian Winters
Ian Winters
Controller Email Ian he | him
Bio

Born and raised in the woods of New Hampshire, Ian joined the Land Trust in 2019 bringing a passion for world-saving projects. He has managed fiscal & contract operations for various social service non-profits since 2002, most recently in Santa Cruz, CA. In his free time, Ian is a tax accountant, hot springs enthusiast and dance–party DJ.

Jennifer Zarnoch
Jennifer Zarnoch
Natural Area Manager Email Jennifer she | her
Bio

Since 2010, Jennifer has managed, monitored, and cared for our lands in our stewardship department, where she applies her keen mind in the management of our land-information systems. Her previous work includes consultant work with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and natural area management with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. She spends her free time marveling at her young son, growing food, and getting outside as much as possible.