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Simone Burton 

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Nature Educator

Simone is happy to join the CEC as a Nature Educator! 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).

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Deb Chance

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Bookkeeper & Operations Manager

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!


Diane Converse 

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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.


 Evelia Verburg

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Nature Programs - Camp Coordinator

Evelia grew up in Salem, Oregon. She graduated from Portland State with a degree in Environmental Studies and spent three years as an environmental educator and Nature Camp director in the Portland Area.  Evelia also spent three years as a paraeducator with Portland Public Schools where she discovered she had a passion for serving and making space for people with disabilities. For the last four years Evelia has worked in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks enhancing the experience of Park visitors through guiding and guest services. Evelia loves doing art, yoga, reading, biking, hiking, and practicing Spanish (habla un poco de Español). We are excited to have Evelia join the CEC team and bring her vast experience to our camps and nature programs.

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Karen DeWolfe 

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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!

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Karin Gardner-Brown

Pronouns: she/her/hers

NaturePlay Coordinator

Karin is excited to be the NaturePlay Coordinator for the preschool program at CEC. She has over 30 years of experience working with young children, families and staff in the field of early childhood education. She worked most of her career in a Head Start Program in a variety of roles including Center Director, Home Visitor, Education Specialist and Director of Child Development and more recently in a nonprofit program as an Education Supervisor and Assistant Director. Early Childhood Education has become her life’s work and she is passionate about caring for and educating our youngest citizens. In her years of working in this field she has developed a professional philosophy that centers around respectful care of children and child-led learning that begins with play and exploration. Outside of work Karin loves to read, garden, cook and paint. 

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Liz Habley 

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Community Food Systems Manager

Linn-Benton Farm to School HUB Lead

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.


Elizabeth "Lizard" Hendzel 

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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.


Serene Mellenthin

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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).


Devan Murfin 

Pronouns: he/him/his

Farm to School Educator

Devan graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor's degree in both Natural Resource Education and Sustainability. After interning at SAGE (doing sustainable agriculture) and in the schools (assisting with Farm to School education), he now joins the staff ready to teach students about the connection between our food and where it comes from. He has experience creating unique dishes and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for food with the students. He spends his free time working in his garden, going on road trips exploring the Pacific Northwest, and taking care of his many animals!


Jules Rosanelli

Pronouns: they/them

Nature Educator

Jules, who grew up in Southern Oregon and graduated high school in Iowa, is ecstatic to be back in Oregon and embarking on their journey in early childhood education. They have worked in child care and preschool environments, both private and non-profit, and their passion is providing a safe space for children in which they can learn, grow, and feel confident in themselves and their abilities. In their spare time, Jules enjoys spending time with friends, being outdoors with their dog, Zola, road trips, swimming, and playing the cello.

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