Corvallis Environmental Center Team


Connie Barnes

Avery House Nature Center Director

In 1993 Connie completed a Master’s in Natural Resources Communications and Education from OSU’s College of Forestry.  After graduation she traveled the state doing outdoor education for OMSI.  From 1995-2001 she was the Education Director for the Corvallis Environmental Center with the charge of  restoring the Avery House into a Nature Center.  After family leave in 2005, she became the EE Director for Chintimini Wildlife Center and more recently worked for Cascade Pacific RC&D doing Forest Stewardship.  She is very excited to be back involved at AHNC and continue the efforts to connect kids and adults alike to nature.  She looks forward to helping maintain and provide the community with a place to learn about our precious planet’s creatures and their habitats! When not working, she enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, gardening, playing sports and being outdoors with her two boys and her husband Marc.


Hollie Bates

Nature Educator

Hollie is the lead naturalist for the WILD after school program, a collaboration with the Corvallis Parks and Recreation. This spring she is developing “Geology in the Garden” curriculum and building a friendship garden with 1-2nd graders at Wilson Elementary.  She graduated from OSU in 2015 after studying Environmental Sciences and Education. Hollie loves hiking and camping with her family, gardening, and surfing in her home town of Newport, Oregon! .


Jen Brown


Jen has 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and has developed and coordinated a wide range of environmental education programs on topics from sustainable gardening to watershed ecology. She has been with the CEC since 2008, and was a lead on the team that developed the Edible Corvallis Initiative.



Estany Campbell-Dunfee

Operations Assistant

Estany is a recent Oregon State University graduate with a degree in Environmental Science with a predilection for entomology.  She came to the CEC as an intern and now works behind the scenes to help keep the CEC running like a well-oiled machine.  In her free time she enjoys drinking tea, gardening, reading, and traveling near and far.


Grace Chollar-Webb

Youth Programs Coordinator

After graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, Grace worked as the Education Program Coordinator at a local farm in Santa Cruz County and as a kayak guide and naturalist in the Elkhorn Slough. She recently relocated to the Willamette Valley and is excited to bring her passion for conservation, stewardship and community education to the Avery House Nature Center.


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.


Elaine Fowlkes

Community Food Educator

Elaine is an Oregon native. After graduating from OSU she spent several years working on organic farms in the Corvallis area and learned to cook with 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 produce regularly.


Kyler Grandkoski

SAGE Garden Manager

Kyler comes to the CEC with 10 years of small-mid scale sustainable agriculture experience in Oregon.  He has done everything under the sun on farms 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.


Annie Hamilton

Nature Education Instructor

After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife, Annie interned at two National Wildlife Refuges: Seney in upper Michigan and Minnesota Valley in Bloomington, MN.  She had a blast serving with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone as a 6th and 7th grade science teacher.  Upon returning to the US, she realized her passion for connecting people to nature and worked as a naturalist at Harriet Alexander Nature Center in Roseville, MN.  Annie recently moved to Corvallis and is very excited to join the Avery House team and continue helping people to find a bond with the outdoors.


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 pursue a 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. Before serving with FoodCorps, Nicholle worked as an educational assistant and 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.


Kristina Lopez


Kristina moved to Corvallis in 2014 with her husband and 2 daughters.  Her family was inspired to move to Oregon after falling in love with beauty and sense of community on a family road trip.  She has 2 daughters in local schools and her husband works for the City of Corvallis. She spends her free time traveling around Oregon with her family or out at one of our local parks with her dogs, Meadow and Tully.  After spending over a decade working in accounting with LEED certified builders she is excited to join the nonprofit world.


Serene Mellenthin

Nature Education Instructor

Serene worked for 7 years for Greater Albany Public Schools (GAPS) 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.  She and her husband own                                                                       14 acres on the Willamette River between Corvallis and Albany.


Cassidy Radloff

Edible Corvallis Program Manager

Prior to coming to the CEC, Cassidy has 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, and is working to grow the Farm to School program to reach as many students as possible!


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 is the lead energy analyst for the Communities Take Charge program and develops the energy savings and calculation methods used on the Communities Take Charge website.


Jennah Stillman

Community Outreach and Events Coordinator

Jennah moved to Oregon to attend University of Oregon and studied Public Policy and Environmental Health. As someone who is passionate about people, food, and the planet, she’s worked in the food supply chain, outdoor recreation, agriculture, local business start-up, non-profit development, and sustainability. She love to be outdoors on a different adventure every day- surfing, 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.