Nils Christoffersen - Executive Director

nils christoffersenNils and his family moved to Wallowa County in 1999 to start Wallowa Resources field programs. He was promoted to Deputy Director in 2002 and Executive Director in 2007. Nils has diverse experience in place-based natural resource management from working around the world, including ranching in Australia, farming in Israel, fishing and forestry in Norway, and forestry and wildlife in southern Africa. He is passionate about working landscapes and the role of rural communities in their stewardship.

He is a graduate of both Williams College (B.A. Economics) and Oxford University (M.S. Forestry), and has served on many local and national boards - including the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry. He currently serves on the Oregon Board of Forestry and World Forest Center's Board of Directors.  He also served on the Enterprise School District Board from 2004-2017.

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Jean Jancaitis - Director of Programs/Watershed Stewardship Program Director

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Jean grew up moving all around the Southeast, living in Alabama, Florida, and Virginia. After earning a B.A. in Biology from The College of William and Mary in Virginia, she escaped to the West Coast for an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon.

Jean has spent the majority of her career working for The Nature Conservancy in Oregon and California. Over more than 15 years as a botanist, ecologist, and stewardship manager, she participated in restoring and managing thousands of acres of working landscapes. Through this work, she developed strong collaborative relationships with private land owners on working farms, ranches, and forest land. Most recently, Jean was the Natural Resource Specialist for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department based in Bend, Oregon where she covered central and eastern Oregon.

While at OPRD, she fell in love with Northeastern Oregon and was inspired by Wallowa Resources. Having worked with many different conservation models, Jean said she's "excited to be working with an organization that cares for both the land and the community."

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Joni Maasdam - Finance and Operations Manager

Joni MaasdamJoni is an eastern Oregon girl at heart but loves warm sunny places. Joni was raised in Heppner, OR and attended Blue Mountain Community College. After college she married Mark, a lifetime Wallowa County resident, and has been here with him ever since. Joni joined the staff in October 2010 with 15 years of office administration experience. She loves working with a dynamic group of people and cheers everyone up with her infectious smile. When Joni isn’t at work, look for her riding her Harley or scooter during the warmer months.

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Larz Stewart - Development Director

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After growing up in the neighboring Grande Ronde Valley, Larz left to play intercollegiate basketball and start a career in the big city, but he always dreamed of returning to NE Oregon and giving back to the place and people that helped craft his values and a strong sense of place.  Joining the Wallowa Resources team has given him that opportunity.  After spending most of his career working in the metropolitan areas of Honolulu, Beijing and Portland, he’s excited to be back in the mountains and living in a vibrant rural community. Larz has extensive experience in program development, marketing and project management.  Most recently, Larz was the Assistant Executive Director of Adventures Without Limits, a non-profit that served at-risk youth and people with disabilities in the greater Portland Metro area.  He holds a M.B.A from Hawaii Pacific University, and has completed post-graduate coursework in sustainable forestry at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.  

His passion for connecting people to the natural resources that support them, outdoor education, and bridging the urban/rural divide has brought him to Wallowa Resources. He is excited to be an advocate for the land stewards across the west that are doing great things for the land, water and communities.  His other interests include hiking, any watersport, jam sessions, languages, and spending time with family. Larz and his wife have two young boys.

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Peg Vanderzanden – Grant Administrator

Peg VanderzandenPeg comes to us with a wealth of experience and passion for working lands. In 1998, she and her husband Mark moved their family of three boys from Sauvie Island to Wallowa County. Mark started spraying weeds for the county road department. Peg became the Wallowa County Director of the Commission on Children and Families and later the Eastern Region Coordinator of the State Commission on Children and Families, where she learned how to manage grants. Peg accompanied Mark and their sons on some spray trips, so she knows what it's like to walk in "blue boots". Eventually, Mark wanted to return to their agricultural roots, so he left his spraying job to pursue farming, an operation that continues to grow with the help of their oldest son. They grow and perform custom harvest work for grain and hay. Peg loves being part of an organization that helps people get jobs that improve our land and loves doing work that allows people who perform the ground work not to worry about paperwork.

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Rick Bombaci - GIS Specialist

rick bombaciA resident of Wallowa County since 1980, Rick worked with Wallowa Resources in the early 2000s as its Business Development Officer. He returned to the organization in 2013 to focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), database development, and IT management. In other work experience, he has taught high school, worked as a wilderness ranger, owned a computer business serving businesses and non-profits throughout the Pacific Northwest, and served as the Development Director and Interim Executive Director at a literary non-profit. Rick's other interests include the arts, hiking, travel, his family, and volunteer service.

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Lindsay Miller - Youth Education Manager

lindsay miller bio

Lindsay Miller has twelve years’ experience developing and delivering science education programs and curriculum for K-12 students, both in and out of the classroom. Prior to her position with Wallowa Resources, she was a classroom science teacher for middle and high school students for four years and still holds current teaching licenses in Idaho and Oregon. In addition to her teaching license, Lindsay has a BS Forest Biology, and an MS in Science Education.

Actively working to stay current in the field of education, she has had specific training incorporating Next Generation Science Standards into curriculum, overcoming academic resistance in students and in trauma informed teaching practices and how to build more resilient students and youth. She has a first hand understanding of the challenges classroom teachers face and is eager to continue the growing collaboration between WR programs and classrooms in Wallowa County.

In the 4 years since starting with Wallowa Resources, Lindsay has had a hand in helping develop and teach each of the Youth Education Programs and is excited to dive in even deeper as Program Manager. She loves living and raising her family in Wallowa County and cherishes the wonderful community she has come to be a part of , both through Wallowa Resources and with her own family. She is committed to continuing the outstanding youth programs Wallowa Resources already delivers and looks forward to working with the public and community partners to make it even better in the future.

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Emily Elsner - Youth Education Specialist

emily elsnerEmily grew up in a small rural town in southern Idaho. Growing up she enjoyed fishing, skiing, and camping with her family. After moving to La Grande for college in 2012, she discovered a variety of other outdoor activities including rock climbing and mountain biking. After earning a B.S. in Physical Activity and Health and Wellness from Eastern Oregon University she became director of Get Outside - After School Activity Program (GO-ASAP), an outdoor activity program for middle school adolescents in conjunction with earning her masters in Community Health where she gained experience in teaching adolescents and leading outdoor programs.

Emily is excited to explore and become more familiar with Wallowa County and all that it has to offer as well as get to know the community as a whole!

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Kris Crowley - Wallowa Canyonlands Partnership Program Manager

Kris CrowleyHailing originally from the Dallas, Texas area, Kris moved to the Pacific Northwest at an early age. He spent his youth in Boise, Idaho where he attended high school and earned his B.S. in Biology from Boise State University. Kris has lived in many rural places in Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon and has worked in the natural resources field for federal, state, and tribal governments. Most recently, he was in Burns, Oregon for seven years where he worked for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the aquatic health program and the Burns Paiute Tribe as a fisheries biologist and program manager. He has also participated as a member on the Oregon Invasive Species Council.

Kris is an avid backcountry bow hunter and fisherman. He enjoys spending his free time exploring and sharing the experience with his wife and their three boys. He believes in playing an active role in his community through community service and is looking forward to contributing to the exciting things going on in Wallowa County. Kris is excited to join Wallowa Resources because of their commitment to connecting people, economics, and land stewardship in a way that provides lasting mutual benefit to both rural communities and natural resources.

 

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Lindsey Wood Jones - Wallowa Canyonlands Coordinator

lindsey wood jonesLindsey hails from rural West Virginia, where she learned to love farms, forests, and streams. After working on natural resource management issues on three continents, Lindsey and her husband finally decided to move to Wallowa County in 2011. Wallowa County's varied and abundant natural resources, and the good folks who live here, have enticed Lindsey and her growing family to stay. Lindsey joined Wallowa Resources in 2014, and has been working as a weed warrior with the Wallowa Canyonlands Partnership (WCP) ever since. WCP is a good fit for Lindsey because she believes that integrated weed management is a key component in supporting resilient natural resources. Prior to working for Wallowa Resources, she worked for The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, Department of Defense, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Oregon State Parks. When she's not at work, Lindsey is busy with her husband (Justin) raising a daughter (Annie), two dogs, several chickens, a surly cat, and an ever-growing garden. She's also an all-season runner, hearts-player, reader, and knitter. Lindsey volunteers for the local Nature Conservancy office and serves on the Lands Committee of the Wallowa Land Trust.

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Kyle Petrocine - Renewable Energy Manager

Kyle Petrocine websiteKyle was drawn to northeast Oregon since first setting foot in these parts. He is passionate about rural places, their resilience and independence, and is inspired by the blend of working landscape, natural beauty and creative energy that exists in Wallowa County. He was raised in southern Oregon and has spent most of his days living, working and exploring in the Pacific Northwest. Kyle joined WR Community Solutions Inc in 2015, with a focus on renewable energy development in the region. Kyle earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Oregon State University and brings a diverse engineering background to Wallowa Resources, including process, facilities and environmental engineering for a Portland area semi-conductor company and engineering consulting for a northeast Oregon firm.

While in Portland, Kyle met his wife Esther, who shares the same draw to rural, creative and working places. In 2014, Kyle and his family left the big city in search of mountains, four seasons and resource based community, landing in northeast Oregon. In his spare time, Kyle can be found soaking up the goodness with his family and experiencing the wonders of the region by fat ski, fat tire, foot or raft.

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Matt King - Renewable Energy Program Advisor

mattkingMatt is an Eastern Oregon transplant, having found his way here after a long journey from the Pacific Coast of Northern California. He first stumbled upon Oregon at a student at Reed College, in Portland, and then worked as a fish biologist for a large Renewable Energy Developer before leaving the big city and making his way to greener, and thankfully drier, pastures. In Eastern Oregon, he worked for the Department of Fish and Wildlife for a time, but finally found a truer calling with Wallowa Resources. As a Renewable Energy Program Advisor for WR Community Solutions, Inc., Matt is always looking for ways to bring new energy projects into fruition, for the benefit of the community and the environment. Matt splits time between the Pacific Northwest and East Africa, where he manages community development and agriculture projects. In his spare time, he can usually be found messing about in boats on some far-flung river, or at least out and about enjoying the woods and smelling the flowers.

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Alyssa Cudmore - Family Forest Coordinator

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Alyssa was born and raised on a small family woodland in the Willamette Valley in Oregon with her three sisters, grandma, parents, and many animals. She has lived several places since, but her most recent adventure was receiving her Master's Degree in Natural Resources Management and Regional Planning with a focus on rural development and conflict resolution from the University of Michigan. After falling in love with the Wallowas during a fellowship at Wallowa Resources in 2015, she is thrilled to return to Enterprise with her partner, Kevin, who is a physician assistant at Winding Waters Clinic.

She has a professional background in land use planning, housing & civil rights work, nonprofit management, trail construction & youth development, community-based forestry, sustainable agriculture, private landowner engagement, several years working with tribal communities throughout the US, and a big interest in building connections between our urban and rural communities​' landowners. This works pretty well, because as the Family Forest Coordinator she manages the My Blue Mountains Woodland Partnership - a collaborative group of private landowners, nonprofits, and public organizations empowering and connecting landowners to knowledge and resources available in our community to manage their lands. Managing your land is hard, and you shouldn't have to do it alone.

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Jeff Costello - Forest Collaborative Facilitator

jeff costelloHaving grown up in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, Jeff developed a deep-seated love for the mountains at an early age. To this day, if it involves scaling a mountain, or skiing down one, you can count him in!

With a formal academic background in Environmental Science/Biology, Jeff’s original aim of teaching high school science diverged down a separate, yet somewhat parallel, path, when he began working in the field of Experiential Education, focusing on Team and Leadership Development. He considers himself one lucky guy, having spent the better part of the past two decades working in some pretty memorable settings - from the corporate board rooms of Silicon Valley, to the halls of local governments, to high school and university campuses, to remote villages in the Andes and southern Africa.

When not on his proverbial “soapbox”, espousing the merits of great leadership and the power of human collaboration, Jeff serves as a board member for the Wallowa Valley Arts Council and is the current Director of the annual Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts. He’s also constantly scanning the horizon for his next alpine adventure - his dog, Denali, often at his side.

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Jessica Tomasini - Communications Coordinator

Jessica TomasiniAfter spending most of their lives living in Southwest Washington, Jessica and her husband were in search of a rural area in which to raise their family.  It didn’t take much for them to fall in love with Wallowa County and all it had to offer.  They pulled up stakes and moved here just over a year ago with their three young children. Jessica has a background in photography, grant writing, and a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology.  She loves being able to share ideas creatively with visual elements.  She is excited for the opportunity to dive into all that Wallowa Resources does and communicate that with Wallowa County and beyond. 

Jessica also has a personal interest in the county’s natural resources, specifically timber management.  Her husband, Dustin, has his own business specializing in fuel reduction, logging and other forestry needs.  With their children, they love to spend time hiking, hunting, fishing or enjoying the beautiful Wallowa Lake and they look forward to putting down roots here.

 

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Karen Hardigg - Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition Director

karenhardiggHaving grown up in Portland, Karen is thrilled to be back working in her home state. Her passion for the outdoors led her to work as a field biologist on public lands across the west studying, and occasionally chasing, wildlife. Eventually realizing that she was better suited to work on natural resource policy, she went back to school for a graduate degree at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. A fortuitous opportunity studying bears and wolves in Denali National Park introduced her to her husband, with whom she has two young children in Portland. After graduate school, Karen transitioned her science background to policy by working in the non-profit community to find solutions to challenging natural resource management problems. She comes to Wallowa Resources after spending nearly eight years working in Southeast Alaska on community forestry, forest stewardship, restoration and policy both at The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy. Her responsibilities include coordination of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition - which provides a voice to rural leaders on national policy issues impacting public lands. Outside of spending time with her family, Karen enjoys biking, hiking, and soccer and is eager to explore more of Wallowa County.

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Tyson Bertone-Riggs - Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition Program Manager

Tyson Bertone Riggs

Tyson grew up in Western Oregon and earned a duel B.A. in geography and political science from the University of Oregon in 2004. After graduation, he moved to Washington DC to work as an intern, and later press assistant, for a US Senator. Although a rewarding experience, the landscapes of the West called him back, resulting in almost a decade of work in natural resources in Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Oregon, and Alaska. Desiring a return home to Oregon and reengagement with policy, Tyson earned a Master’s degree from Oregon State University in 2016 with a focus on federal land management policy and social science. He has since worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry in the new Federal Forest Restoration Program, utilizing new authorities and working with forest collaboratives in Central and Eastern Oregon.

Tyson is excited to be working for the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition and for the opportunity to continue to connect rural communities to tools and practices that help foster landscape restoration, community economic well-being, and collaboration.

 

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Jessica Sabine Brothers - Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition Program Associate

Jessica sabine Brothers croppedAlthough she’s called Oregon home for the last decade, Jessica Sabine was born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks.  After completing her Bachelor’s degree at Missouri State University, she moved to Oregon and began working to build stronger regional food systems in the Willamette Valley, supporting farmers, small business owners, and regional suppliers as a marketing and communications professional. Inspired by our cultural and economic connections to the land, Jessica Sabine has spent the better part of ten years working to strengthen rural communities through public engagement, outreach development, and grant writing support.

Most recently, she worked with a range of state and federal partners throughout six western states coordinating the Sustainability in Prisons Project for the Institute for Applied Ecology. While in this role, nearly one million native plant seedlings were produced for priority habitat management areas, supporting a number of threatened and endangered species and providing vocational training to underserved communities.  She also brings four years of experience developing science-based education opportunities for K-12 students through Institute for Applied Ecology, the Audubon Society of Corvallis, and Oregon State University.

Jessica Sabine is excited to unite her environmental advocacy experience with her communications and development background to help strengthen rural resiliency, promote RVCC’s collective policy platform, and elevate conservation partnerships across our communities. When she’s not out enjoying Oregon’s beautiful rivers and public lands with her family, Jessica Sabine enjoys gardening and spending time at home on their small farm.

Carla Young - Campground Manager and Building Maintenance

carla youngCarla and her family have deep roots in Wallowa County. She was born and raised in Wallowa County and graduated from Enterprise High School in 1973. She is fourth generation Wallowa County resident. Her family homesteaded the Zumwalt area and rode the trail with the Nez Perce to the lower Imnaha for the winter months.

Carla is the Campground Manager for Wallowa Resources’ Community Solutions, Inc. (WRCSI) and has been in this position for 8 years for us and for 5 years with the United States Forest Services (USFS). Carla continuing in this role when WRCSI in partnership with Wallowa County and Oregon State Parks took over the campground management from the USFS was a huge asset and made the process seamless. Prior to giving all her attention to the Campground Manager position, she was also an equipment inspector for ground support for the Interagency on numerous fire incidents.

Carla’s love for the great outdoors and Wallowa County’s history makes the campgrounds her perfect office. Carla delights in meeting and greeting campground visitors to share her love of the great outdoors and Wallowa County’s history.

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