Diane brings a passion for connecting people and place to her role as the 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.
Community Agriculture Manager
Liz has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Hanover College, IN and recently completed her Masters in Natural Resources at OSU with a graduate certificate in Water Conflict Management and Transformation. She is excited to work with gardeners at the Dunawi Creek Community Garden and manage the production at SAGE to help provide local nutritious produce to those in need in our community. She brings to the CEC a passion for partnerships and collaboration, a desire to improve community food systems, experience in non-profits and a background as a natural resource and agriculture educator. She is comfortable speaking Spanish (habla español), she learned Spanish as an Environmental Community Management Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru.
After being away from Oregon for more years than she cares to admit, Deb returned with her family and landed in the Willamette Valley in the summer of 2016. She will tell you that bookkeeping is tailor-made for her because she is a natural investigator, and doesn’t give up on new challenges. Her drive for order, balance, consistency, and completed check-off lists make her happy on a daily basis. In her spare time, she is a maker; crafting, sewing, painting, building, landscaping, gardening, decorating, and coming up with even more ideas to be creative, but she always makes time to enjoy Oregon’s beautiful outdoors!
Casey graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s degree in both BioHealth Sciences and Public Health. She started as an intern with the NaturePlay program and continued through the Summer, as an Administrative Assistant, Summer Camp Educator and NaturePlay Educator. Now she has transitioned into a NaturePlay Educator position. Her favorite things are exploring the Pacific Northwest, identifying new plants and animals along trails with her partner, her rambunctious cat Luna, and painting.
Outreach and Events Coordinator
Teagan is the one behind the event curtains. She brings over ten years of cumulative professional experience in public relations, multimedia design, event planning, and cat herding to the CEC, along with her love of the outdoors and a passion for protecting the environment. In her free time, she loves to ski, surf, rock climb, and go hiking with her dog Isabelle. Her favorite things are coffee, high fives, and her husband Scott.
Natureplay Assistant and WILD Coordinator
Mylea graduated from St. Lawrence University with a combined bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and English in 2019 and moved to Corvallis to begin a new adventure. Originally from Thousand Oaks, California she is excited to be back on the West Coast. Prior to the CEC, Mylea led hiking trips for middle school students in Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. In her current role, she is a NaturePlay preschool teacher in addition to instructing other Nature Programs. In her free time, she enjoys exploring places new and familiar, practicing yoga, hiking or reading a good book.
Nature Programs 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 and Penelope (Penny).
Animal Care Specialist
Originally from the Big Island of Hawai’i, but then choosing a military life back in the late 90s, Mel has since called many places home. After moving to Corvallis form the East Coast, she eagerly looked for opportunities to connect her three boys to the Willamette Valley environment and community. Not only did she find an answer for them through the CEC, but something special that she also wanted to integrate into. With a BS in Environmental Geography, a love for animals, and a need to be outdoors, Mel started in NaturePlay, transitioned to caring for the education animals, and then adventured with the summer camps. When not at Avery House, she enjoys watching her boys’ sporting events, trains her air scenting K9SAR dog, and volunteers in the Chintimini Wildlife Center clinic and Raptor Education Program.
Farm to School Educator and Community Garden Coordinator
Marin studied Conservation Biology and Latin American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which also happens to be where she grew up. After graduation she continued her passion finding meaningful work in the outdoors while working as an ecological field instructor, wilderness guide, farm hand, and naturalist working with ages K-12. Marin has tried on many hats with the CEC, from working at the Food for Families Garden to teaching many of the nature programs offered here. She now teaches with the farm to school program and coordinates the Dunawi Creek Community Garden. You will also find her occasionally teaching with the NaturePlay Preschool, as she has a background in early childhood education in Waldorf and Montessori teaching styles.
Anna joined NaturePlay in 2018, following ten years of youth-centric outdoor adventures in the US and abroad. She has previously worked as a school garden coordinator, adventure leadership mentor, and Peace Corps volunteer. Anna has degrees in Environmental Studies and Anthropology from the University of Michigan, and currently studies Child Development at OSU. The things she loves most include: helping her preschool friends grow in relationship with nature and one another, trail running, garden greens, and riding her bike everywhere, everyday.
Farm to School Coordinator
Jessica is excited to work as the Farm to School Coordinator in connecting children with opportunities to experience fresh local food. Jessica has a Master’s Degree in applied anthropology from Oregon State University where she studied childhood and education. Her research led her to a passion in experiential and hands on learning. After graduating she worked in an elementary school for four years where she created and ran a school garden program. She also worked for an after school program creating S.T.E.A.M curriculum. Jessica loves all things plant related, from maintaining her own garden at home to being a plant mom to nearly 30 houseplants. When she isn’t gardening she can be found teaching and practicing yoga, hiking and camping, or cuddling with her dog on the couch.
Rosario is happy to be part of the CEC as a Bilingual Educator! She grew up in the foothills of the Andes in Chile, where she went to school and college. There she obtained degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and Forest Ecology. She worked in agricultural education, ecology, and sustainability in Chile and New Zealand but somehow landed in Oregon in 2018. Here she had fun doing a variety of things, from walking dogs, researching native Salamanders, working at a local flower and produce farms, to selling vegetables at the farmers market. She enjoyed the local farming community and wanted to contribute to bringing local produce closer to children. She will be teaching for the Farm to School program and facilitating inclusive education for Spanish speakers. In her free time, Rosario enjoys eating vegetables with peanut butter, reading, and walking with her dog.