Diane Converse

Executive Director

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.

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Liz Habley

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.

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Deb C.


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!

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Casey Leslie

Nature Educator

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.


Serene Mellenthin

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).


Anna Secreast

NaturePlay Coordinator

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.

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Jessica Worden

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.

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Rosario Allende

Bilingual Educator

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, Niños de naturaleza, and facilitating inclusive education for Spanish speakers. In her free time, Rosario enjoys eating vegetables with peanut butter, reading, and walking with her dog.

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Karen DeWolfe

Outreach Coordinator

Karen is truly happy to be working with the Corvallis Environmental Center as the Outreach Coordinator.  Karen grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada where building community is very important, especially when it comes to clearing snow.  She studied Forest and Wildlife Management at the University of New Brunswick. Here, she met her husband Matt, who studied to become a Forest Ecologist. They now live in Corvallis with their three children, where they all enjoy riding bikes, exploring nature and learning more about the World's biodiversity.  Do you want to become a Corvallis Environmental Center Supporter and help create the world's most healthy, sustainable community? Contact Karen, she is looking forward to connecting with you!


Elizabeth "Lizard" Hendzel

Nature Educator

Elizabeth joined the CEC team after moving to Corvallis from her hometown near Chicago, IL.  She has degrees in Marine Science and Spanish from Eckerd College. After graduating in 2019 she interned with the Florida Aquarium's Education Department and spent a year in Spain teaching English to primary school children. She is comfortable speaking Spanish (habla español) and enjoys practicing her language skills in her spare time. When she's not working at the CEC, you can find her outside exploring nature, creating art, or rocking out to music.

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Simone Burton 

Nature Programs Assistant

Simone is happy to join the CEC as a Nature Programs Assistant! She graduated from Oregon State University with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Biology (marine biology option) and a minor in chemistry. Simone grew to love science communication throughout her college career and honors thesis. Her previous experiences include being a wildlife rehabilitation assistant, dance teacher, and marine science educator! After growing up in rural Utah, Oregon’s greenery amazes Simone and she hopes to foster a love for Oregon's rich ecosystems in all her students. When she is not working with the CEC, Simone loves to travel, scuba-dive, snorkel, hike, read, and continue learning beginner Spanish (habla un poco de español).