Our Staff

Click on a photo below to read our staff's bio.

  • Jules AbbottDevelopment & Database Coordinator
    Jules Abbott, Development & Database Coordinator
    jules@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2025

    Originally from Michigan, Jules has lived in Oregon for over 20 years. She has a deep passion for the environment and a tremendous depth of skills in customer relationships, technology use, and management. She joined Friends in July 2021 to manage Friends' CRM database and provide staff support to the board.

    Previously, Jules worked as the membership and outreach coordinator with the McKenzie River Trust, where she dug into managing their database along with building relationships with members, volunteers, and donors. Prior to that, her career highlights include the Ethnobotany Resource Area Project (ERPA) while working with WREN in the West Eugene Wetlands. More recently, she's worked in the Portland area for Flipside Hats (a local, woman-owned company), and providing employee benefits to small nonprofits as the sales director for CSNW Benefits.

    Jules holds a degree in botany and plant pathology from Michigan State University, and her favorite Gorge hiking trail is Mosier Plateau.

  • Hannah Anderson-DanaMembership Coordinator
    Hannah Anderson-Dana, Membership Coordinator
    A born-and-raised Portlander, Hannah is delighted to return to her home state to join Friends’ Philanthropy team as the membership coordinator. Before joining Friends, Hannah received her B.A. in art history from Macalester College in Minnesota and then journeyed further east to Washington, D.C., where she worked on the development teams at the National Archives Foundation and most recently, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). Hannah is thrilled to be back in Oregon, where she can enjoy her love of hiking, biking, and rooting for the Trail Blazers.
  • Nathan BakerSenior Staff Attorney
    Nathan Baker, Senior Staff Attorney
    nathan@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2026
    As Senior Staff Attorney, Nathan is responsible for managing the organization's legal efforts to protect the resources of the Columbia River Gorge. Since Nathan joined Friends in November 2000, Friends has participated in more than one hundred legal cases, losing less than fifteen percent of them. Nathan is licensed to practice law in both Oregon and Washington. He has edited and written for several legal publications on environmental and land use topics. While studying at Lewis & Clark Law School, he served as student body president and worked as a law clerk for the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center (now Earthrise Law Center) and as the Law School's alternative transportation coordinator. 
  • Mika BarrettAccessibility Project Manager
    Mika Barrett, Accessibility Project Manager
    mika@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-0594
    Mika discovered her love for the Gorge at five-years old, with an ice cream cone in hand from the Multnomah Falls lodge. A few decades later, she began volunteering for Friends and then joined as staff to build the public lands stewardship volunteer program. Her current work as a project manager focuses on widening access to the Gorge with an equity lens. Prior to shifting into the environmental sector, Mika was a human resources manager for a Fortune 50 company and business management consultant.

    Mika volunteers in a variety of leadership roles to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the outdoors for underserved communities—including shaping recreation policies with the State of Oregon’s Roadmap to the Outdoors initiative. She's also a founding Oregon State Park Explorer Series program committee member, Center for Diversity & the Environment leadership cohort member, and served as Friends inaugural Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Committee chair.

     
  • Dan BellLand Trust Director
    Dan Bell, Land Trust Director
    Dan eagerly joined Friends in early 2018 as director of the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. In this capacity he oversees the acquisition, management and disposition of lands held by the land trust. Dan’s experience includes more than a decade with the Nature Conservancy in both Oregon and North Carolina, including seven years as the Willamette Basin conservation director. While there, he oversaw complex real estate, habitat restoration and land stewardship programs. He has extensive experience in partnership development, and a deep background with land trusts, serving as executive director of the Sandhills Area Land Trust (Southern Pines, NC) and as a board member with the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts. Dan grew up outside Denver, has an affinity for southern hound dogs, and holds a B.S. in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University and a J.D. from North Carolina Central University.
  • Elizabeth Brooke-WillbanksDevelopment Manager
    Elizabeth Brooke-Willbanks, Development Manager
    With a background in camping, nonprofit management and fundraising, Elizabeth joined Friends in October 2018. As the developement manager she is responsible for supporting, and growing, philanthropic support from individual donors, corporations and foundations.

    Elizabeth started camping at eight years old, and by 15 was leading trainings for adults in camping and outdoor survival. After earning a degree in Recreation Administration she started working for the Girl Scouts, leading camping and outdoor programs in Kentucky, Ohio and Massachusetts. Along the way she began working to support fund raising initiatives and became interested in the psychology of giving.

    In 2013, Elizabeth and her family took a year off and camped their way through Europe for the adventure of their lives. After returning to the U.S. they continued the adventure with a cross-country move to Portland. Upon arriving in Portland, she earned her Certificate of Nonprofit Fundraising through Portland State University and the Willamette Valley Development Officers and began working in health care fundraising which allowed her to learn the intricacies of the nonprofit and fundraising landscape in Oregon and SW Washington.
  • Peter CornelisonField Representative
    Peter Cornelison, Field Representative
    As field representative, Peter is responsible for building support and activism among Gorge residents for protecting the Columbia Gorge. A Friends staff member since 2003, Peter is a Hood River resident who has been active in a number of local conservation causes and organizations. Peter is the board president of Thrive Hood River, he helped the Hood River Waterfront Community Park Association create the Hood River Waterfront Park, and is a founder of Streets Alive! HR. He served on the Hood River City Council from 2014 - 2018. Prior to moving to Hood River, Peter led a family-owned manufacturing business.
  • Pam DaveeDirector of Philanthropy
    Pam Davee, Director of Philanthropy
    pam@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2036
    Since 2014, Pam has worked with Friends’ staff and board to more effectively engage major donors and successfully complete Friends' Preserve the Wonder capital campaign—a $5.6 million effort to permanently protect 470 acres of land on the Washington side of the Gorge. In September 2018, Pam became Friends' director of philanthropy, where she leads efforts to work with donors on their current and future philanthropic goals.

    Pam came to Friends from a development, marketing and finance background spanning over three decades of experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors. She previously served as development director for two river-protection organizations in the southeastern U.S., Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and the Harpeth River Conservancy.

    After relocating to the Pacific Northwest in 2009, Pam joined the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and most recently served as development director for Portland's DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital. She holds an MS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech and in her spare time is an enthusiastic hiker, biker and gardener.
  • Kassy DelgadoCommunity Engagement Specialist
    Kassy Delgado, Community Engagement Specialist
    kassy@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2028

    As an outdoor adventurer, storyteller, and community leader, Kassy’s passion lies in uplifting underrepresented communities and strengthening their connections to nature. In fall 2021, she joined Friends as its newest community engagement specialist, overseeing outdoor youth education programs and community engagement efforts.

    Before Friends, Kassy served as a neighborhood trees specialist for Friends of Trees, where she led large-scale tree planting events and managed community partnerships within the SW Washington region. With a bachelor’s from the University of Redlands, Kassy focused her cultural studies on elevating the voices of women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ communities. Her commitment to inclusivity and accessibility has led her to organize community events for over a decade, including trips as an adventure leader for Wild Diversity.

    Outside of the office, Kassy is an avid hiker who also enjoys backpacking in the mountains, climbing at her local gym, and being surrounded by fluffy dogs.

  • Burt EdwardsCommunications Director
    Burt Edwards, Communications Director
    burt@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-0595
    A native of the Pacific Northwest, Burt joined Friends in May 2017 as its inaugural communications director and leads its public engagement team. Before joining Friends, Burt worked for over 20 years in Washington, D.C. where he last served as communications director for InterAction—the largest alliance of international NGOs and partners in the United States. He previously worked for nine years at The Pew Charitable Trusts/National Environmental Trust—developing and managing communications projects to help shape public opinion on pressing policy challenges from climate change to ocean conservation. This built on previous experience at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a stint in the private sector as a legislative associate with Stateside Associates, Inc. Burt holds masters of public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in Seattle.
  • Frances FischerLand Trust Coordinator
    Frances Fischer, Land Trust Coordinator
    Frances joined Friends in June 2018. As land trust coordinator Frances assists in the record keeping, stewardship, and restoration of Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust properties. Her favorite thing about her job is that through leading stewardship events, she is able to connect with volunteers that share her passion for the natural world. As a pollinator fanatic, Frances also serves as the organizer for the Gorge chapter of the Oregon Bee Atlas, a project of Oregon State University. Frances moved to the Gorge with her Hood River-local husband from Bozeman, MT where she worked in community outreach for the Montana Wilderness Association. Frances holds a B.S. in Conservation Biology and Ecology with a minor in Entomology from Montana State University where she worked in several ecology labs studying pollinators and climate change. In her free time, Frances enjoys gardening, backpacking, and attempting to identify every native plant in the Columbia Gorge.
  • Melissa GonzalezOutdoor Programs & Communications Specialist
    Melissa Gonzalez, Outdoor Programs & Communications Specialist

    A passionate birder and certified interpretive guide, Melissa Gonzalez joined Friends in September 2020. Most recently, Melissa served as the training specialist for the District 3 of the Florida Park Service, where she assisted 33 state parks with training, interpretation, and communication needs. During her tenure with Florida State Parks she moderated all District 3 parks web content and developed Spanish language materials as part of park COVID-19 communications.

    Melissa has worked and volunteered for Audubon Florida since 2014 and has conducted wildlife field research associated with several conservation projects throughout the state of Florida. In 2016, she worked as part of the Mt. Hood National Forest summer interpretive services team where she guided daily hikes, hosted campfire programs, and led tours at the historic Timberline Lodge. An alumnus of Audubon Florida's Conservation Leadership Initiative, Melissa holds a B.S. Environmental Studies from the University of Central Florida.

  • Kevin GormanExecutive Director
    Kevin Gorman, Executive Director
    kevin@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2029
    As executive director, Kevin oversees all the activities of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, as well as its land trust, which currently owns 1,500 acres of land. Kevin joined the organization in 1998 and during his tenure Friends has grown from eight staff and one office to 22 staff and three offices; net assets have grown from $750,000 to $22 million. Kevin helped lead the $4.5 million Cape Horn and $5.5 million Preserve the Wonder land acquisition campaigns and assisted in creating two nonprofits in the Gorge: the Klickitat Trail Conservancy and the Cape Horn Conservancy. Kevin was previously the associate director of Oregon Natural Resources Council (now Oregon Wild) and has served as board president for the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts and EarthShare Oregon, a workplace giving organization. Prior to his non-profit adventures, Kevin was the creative director of an advertising agency in Detroit, MI.
  • Stan HallDigital Content Specialist
    Stan Hall, Digital Content Specialist
    stan@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2035
    Stan is one of Friends' voices, writing for and managing our website and social media channels, in addition to assisting with media outreach and overseeing our annual photo contest. An Atlanta native and a graduate (political science) from the University of Georgia, he moved to Oregon in 1997 and is a former arts writer for The Oregonian. Stan joined Friends in 2012 and has a particular interest in Friends' legal and advocacy work. In his occasional free time, he sings, plays bass guitar and writes songs
  • Kate HarbourLand Use Planning Clerk
    Kate Harbour, Land Use Planning Clerk
    kateh@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-0557
    Kate joined Friends in October 2012. Originally from Whidbey Island, WA, she moved to Portland in 2006 to attend Lewis and Clark College and received a B.A. in English. An avid hiker and traveler, Kate is inspired by the role that outdoor recreation and land conservation have in different communities. To this end, Kate is currently pursuing her Master of Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University and supporting other regional and international trail projects through her volunteer work with the Salmonberry Trail and the World Trails Network.
  • Michael LangConservation Director
    Michael Lang, Conservation Director
    Michael is Friends of the Columbia Gorge's longest-tenured staff member, having joined in 1993 as forest and land use coordinator; he has served as the conservation director since 1995. Michael oversees all aspects of our monitoring and litigation program, as well as working with allies and the media to promote Friends' priorities and playing a key role in our lobbying efforts. Michael has intimate knowledge of the Management Plan that governs the Gorge, having reviewed development proposals and worked with county planners and Columbia River Gorge Commission staff throughout his tenure here. Prior to joining Friends, Michael directed campaigns for several electoral candidates and voter initiatives.
  • Haley LebsackGrant Writer
    Haley Lebsack, Grant Writer
    haley@gorgefriends.org | 503-380-9800

    A native Oregonian, and passionate outdoor enthusiast, Haley started working with environmental nonprofits after the Eagle Creek fire to apply her background as a community connector to inspire others to conserve and protect places like the Gorge. Before joining Friends in 2021, Haley worked with various environmental nonprofits focusing on strategic corporate partnerships, grant management, and community engagement. She believes in creating sustainable growth by building authentic relationships with community members and funders to further mission driven work and reach mutually beneficial goals. As a grant writer for Friends, Haley manages the grant program and shares the impactful work being done daily to protect, preserve, and conserve the Gorge with current and potential funders.

    Haley holds a masters of education and bachelor’s in communication from Washington State University. In her free time, you can find Haley coaching fitness classes or running and backpacking with her husband and boxer dog, Izzy.

  • Denise LópezConservation Organizer
    Denise López, Conservation Organizer

    A passionate community organizer and coalition builder focused on empowering others and building relationships, Denise has five years of experience working with communities of color and equitable access to natural resources. She joined Friends in August 2021 as a conservation organizer.

    Growing up in Gresham, Oregon, Denise loved seeing the look of wonder on her family’s faces when taking them to the Gorge. Prior to joining Friends, Denise worked for the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago, and the Nature Conservancy in Markham, Illinois. She's driven to be a part of change in her community by encouraging others to join, dream, and accomplish more together. Denise holds a bachelor’s in environmental sociology and public health from Northwestern University, and in her free time enjoys gardening, baking, kayaking, chasing after her well-loved cats, and serving on the board of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council.

  • Steve McCoyStaff Attorney
    Steve McCoy, Staff Attorney
    steve@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2032
    As staff attorney, Steve works to protect the scenic, recreational, cultural, and natural resources of the Columbia River Gorge by ensuring that decisions made by federal, state, and local permitting agencies follow applicable laws. Before joining Friends in 2016, Steve spent seven years as a staff attorney with 1000 Friends of Oregon, protecting Oregon’s farms and forestlands from development. When he is not helping to protect special places, he likes to hike, backpack, run, cook, and spend time with his family. 
  • Sarah SkellyVolunteer Coordinator
    Sarah Skelly, Volunteer Coordinator

    For the past ten years, Sarah served in various roles on Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District Nature & Trails team, managing small habitat enhancement projects, teaching nature based activities, and leading habitat and trails stewardship programs with schools, businesses, and community groups. In previous years, Sarah worked as an instructor with the Columbia Estuary Partnership, exploring Columbia Basin watersheds with youth, including Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge.

    Sarah has also been an active volunteer with Friends of Trees and is a dedicated community scientist who has spent winters in ponds counting egg masses with Metro and springs in woodlands counting birds with Portland Audubon. Her favorite moments working with volunteers are all the little surprises and teachable moments nature reveals while pulling weeds, planting trees, or repairing trails. In 2020, Sarah relocated to the east Gorge, where she spends most of her free time exploring rivers and trails with her family.

  • Renée TkachGorge Towns to Trails Project Manager
    Renée Tkach, Gorge Towns to Trails Project Manager
    renee@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2039
    Renée is the project manager for Gorge Towns to Trails, a project that supports land protection, recreation enhancements and economic development at Friends of the Columbia Gorge. Renée originally was the organization's outdoor program coordinator, but left in 2010 to serve as development outreach director for Hells Canyon Preservation Council, now known as Greater Hells Canyon Coalition. Renée is also a founding board member and chair of Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance, as well as founding board member of Cape Horn Conservancy and Trailkeepers of Oregon. She also sits on the Oregon Trails Coalition’s advisory board. Her enthusiasm and knowledge of the Gorge is contagious, and you will often find her on a trail, a river or lake.
  • Paige UnangstFinance Director
    Paige Unangst, Finance Director
    paige@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2031
    Paige is responsible for financial management, human resources, and office operations, providing administrative, project management and process support to the organization. A Linfield College graduate, Paige joined Friends in August 2013 and has degrees in business administration and religious studies. She is delighted to have returned to the majestic Northwest, after living in Pennsylvania and Illinois, and making her volunteer passions and interests into a career. She is excited to collaborate with Friends staff joining in the efforts to protect the beauty and splendor of the Gorge for generations to come. Prior to entering the non-profit world Paige worked as a buyer, inventory manager, and outside sales representative in the uniform/footwear industry.
  • Sara WoodsStewardship Manager
    Sara Woods, Stewardship Manager
    sara@gorgefriends.org | 971-634-2038
    Sara joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 2015. As stewardship manager, Sara takes a lead role on stewardship and restoration of Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust properties. She has been working in the natural resource field for nearly two decades and has a diverse background in researching birds, fish, butterflies, plants, and forest carnivores. Studying in the east coast, where she grew up, she acquired degrees in ecology and environmental science; intrigued by the snow-capped mountains and never-ending beauty of the west Sara settled in the Gorge in 2003. She completed a master’s degree in environmental management at Portland State University where she researched the Oregon silverspot butterfly. In her free time, Sara loves to adventure with her family and friends—attempting to squeeze every drop out of life through rafting, skiing, camping and mushroom hunting, and enjoying the phenomenal food and drinks of the Pacific Northwest.