Corvallis Environmental Center Team


Diane Converse

Executive Director

Diane brings a passion for connecting people and place to her role as the new Executive Director of CEC. She has spent her career working in nonprofits with educational missions primarily in Western Washington and most recently in Alaska. She grew up in Oregon and Washington and is excited to return to the area to be part of such a vibrant and caring community. Diane has a degree in Wildlife Science and completed mid-career graduate work gaining a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Leadership and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. She is also a fiber artist and enjoys spending time outside exploring and gaining inspiration for her work.


Hollie Bates

Nature Educator

Originally from Newport, Oregon, Hollie graduated from OSU where she studied Environmental Sciences and Education. Now, she works as the lead naturalist for our WILD After School Program, a collaboration with the Corvallis Parks and Recreation, focused on increasing access to environmental youth education in schools.  She loves being outside, camping with her family, hiking, gardening, and surfing.


Josie Blakeney

Office Assistant

As the organizational core of our central office, Josie recently moved to Oregon from Mississippi with her husband.  With a love for traveling and kayaking, she loves the change in weather and scenery that the Pacific Northwest provides. In her spare time, Josie likes to bake her famous chocolate chip cookies and sourdough bread or watch The Office.


Elaine Fowlkes

Community Food Educator

An Oregon native and alumni of OSU, Elaine has spent several years working on organic farms in the Corvallis area and learned to proficiently and deliciously cook with seasonal, fresh produce from the farmer’s market. Her focus now is on connecting community members with healthy, local food and providing education so people can use that available produce regularly.


Aude Girin

SAGE Assistant

For the last se​​veral years Aude has been involved in the world of food systems, educating youth on agriculture and nutrition, managing school gardens, and working on small produce farms. She is passionate about bringing communities together through healthy food initiatives and eager to continue her passion here at the SAGE Garden. Originally from Pennsylvania, she is looking forward to exploring all the natural wonders Oregon has to offer!


Kyler Grandkoski

SAGE Garden Manager

Kyler comes to the Corvallis Environmental Center with 10 years of small-mid scale sustainable agriculture experience in Oregon.  Hailing from Montana, he is our go-to agricultural guru, with a green thumb and great vision for our SAGE garden. Kyler has done everything under the sun on farms, ranging from 1 acre to 60 acres focusing on organic and biodynamic methods along with community education. He is passionate about growing, eating and generally sharing food, flowers and herbs in a multitude of setting and manners.


Faren Leader

Veggie Rx Produce Stand Manager

Faren is a lifelong resident of Oregon and proud to live in a place so supportive of small farms and locally produced, nutritious foods! Coming from educational and career backgrounds in teaching, social work, and market gardening, Faren is also passionate about the health and connectedness of her local community. With a warm smile and lots of recipe ideas, Faren is excited to manage the Veggie Rx Produce Stand and help all members of our community access tasty fruits and veggies for healthy meals to share with their families. Faren lives in rural Linn County with her musically talented 10 year old son, and loves to spend her free time hiking, camping, kayaking, gardening, reading, and cooking.


Nicholle Leeming

FoodCorps Service Member

Nicholle moved to Oregon in 2012 to earn her degree in Exercise Science at Pacific University. While there she discovered her true passion for nutrition education and food policy. She is excited to have the opportunity to explore more of Oregon and share her love of healthy foods by working with the Corvallis Environmental Center as the FoodCorps service member. Before serving with FoodCorps, Nicholle worked as an educational assistant and athletic coach. In her free time she enjoys hiking, gardening, and playing/coaching soccer and lacrosse.


Carly Lettero

Energize Corvallis

Carly is an interdisciplinary researcher, writer, and community organizer. She holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in applied ethics, anthropology, and sociology from Oregon State University with a research focus on climate change. Carly has over ten years of program design and management experience for environmental organizations such as the Spring Creek Project, Environmental Arts and Humanities Initiative, The Wildlife Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Great Basin Institute.


Serene Mellenthin

Nature Program Coordinator

Serene worked for 7 years for Greater Albany Public Schools as a 6th and 8th grade science teacher and was a live raptor handler and educator at Chintimini Wildlife Center for 10 years. She truly feels that her purpose on this earth is to foster the connection between children and the environment through place-based, inquiry driven hands-on experiences. She is the mother of two children; Lilly is 5 and Penelope (Penny) is almost 3.


Cassidy Radloff

Program Director

Prior to coming to the Corvallis Environmental Center, Cassidy spent four years working in the Corvallis community as a Nutrition & Garden Educator for youth and families while pursuing degrees in Public Health and Sustainability from Oregon State University. Cassidy is passionate about connecting students in the Corvallis School District to healthy, local food.


Cassandra Robertson

Environmental Engineer

Cassandra has a master’s degree in environmental engineering and has managed energy efficiency and conservation programs for nearly two decades. She directed the Resource Efficiency Program providing on-site energy analysis at commercial facilities to help participants cut operational costs through energy efficiency and renewable energy.  She was the lead energy analyst for the Communities Take Charge program.


Anna Secreast

Nature Educator

Anna received degrees in anthropology and environmental studies from University of Michigan in 2008 and has been chasing student- and youth-centric outdoor adventures ever since.  She has worked as an outdoor educator, adventure camp counselor, and mentored students at educational gardens and organic farming projects.  Now back in school studying Natural Resources Education at OSU, Anna is excited to continue the adventure with Avery House students as they explore the natural world in our own backyard.


Jennah Stillman

Communications Coordinator

Jennah grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in a town called Paradise, but she has called Oregon home for the last ten years. At University of Oregon she pursued International Studies and Public Policy, with a focus on environmental health. As someone who is passionate about people, food, and the planet, her interest in communication and conservation is at the core of it all. Along with her hound dog Buckley, she loves to be outdoors on a different adventure every day- usually surfing, backpacking, trail running, or fly fishing.


McKenzie Tritt

Farm to School Educator

McKenzie moved to Corvallis to study Environmental Sciences at Oregon State University. Since graduating in 2015, she has worked as an event planner and lived overseas while volunteering as a youth educator. She is passionate about connecting people to the outdoors and is excited to get kids thinking about their food and local environment through unique, hands-on learning.


Meika Vingelen

Senior Educator

After graduating from Oregon State University studying Fisheries and Wildlife, Meika Vingelen began a career connecting children with nature. She has been at Avery House for over 10 years and has nurtured the program and continues to help it grow into a unique place-based education option for the Willamette Valley. You can find her in the classroom or out hiking with her little explorers.