Steering Committee

The OOEC is governed by a Steering Committee of 29 community members—a strong and varied coalition of supporters and perspectives—from a wide range of professional backgrounds, partner organizations, geographic areas and perspectives, representing the diverse communities in Oregon committed to working towards the realization of OOEC’s vision. The Steering Committee meets quarterly.


Greg Wolley
Founder / Executive Director

Before founding the African American Outdoor Association, Greg Wolley helped establish the Urban Rangers Program with Portland Public Schools. He also served on the board of directors for the Metro Portland Friends of Trees and worked for the Nature Conservancy. Greg has spent three decades working in the environmental field, and has focused on connecting communities of color with the environment.


Charles McGee
President and CEO

In 2006 at the age of 19, Charles McGee co-founded the Black Parent Initiative (BPI) to help families achieve financial, educational and spiritual success. BPI programs are based on a large body of research demonstrating that children are more likely to succeed when supported by stable, balanced and informed adults. At the start of BPI, he had six years of community activism experience, advocating for sensitivity training for Portland Public Schools teachers and running for Zone 4 School Board.


Shelley Day
Director of Community Relations


Queta Gonzalez
National Programs Director

A seasoned professional, Queta Gonzalez has been training, facilitating and coaching people in Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, government and small businesses for more than twenty years. Her life and work have centered around the advancement of diverse, inclusive and equitable environments and a deep connection to rivers, land and wilderness. Queta’s current work includes design and delivery of strategic engagement sessions, organizational trainings, facilitation of both the Environment 2042 cohort and Exploring Power, Privilege and Tools for Change retreats, design and coordination of Equity Audits, leadership coaching and organizational consulting.


Doug Wells

Doug Wells joined the Children’s Institute in 2012 after seven years directing finance and operations at the Oregon Ballet Theatre. He chairs Oregon’s Quality Education Commission, is a board member and past president of the National Board of Directors of Parents for Public Schools, and serves on the board of the Northwest Outward Bound School. His other education involvement includes five years as chair of the PPS Citizen Budget Review Committee (CBRC) and sitting on the Mayor/County Chair’s Education Cabinet.


Scott Welch
Global Corporate Relations Manager

In addition to directing Columbia’s global corporate relations, Scott Welch is an adjunct instructor at Portland State University and a founding member of the Sports Product Management External Advisory Board at the University of Oregon. Scott is also a member of The Intertwine Alliance Structure Task Force, The Intertwine Conservation Education Task Force, The Intertwine Alliance Core Group, Grantmakers of Oregon and SW Washington and the Portland Development Commission Athletic and Outdoor Cluster Advisory Board.


Chuck Sams
Communications Director

Chuck is the director of communications for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and grew up on the reservation, where he is enrolled Walla Walla and Cayuse with family ties to the Yankton Sioux and Cocopah Tribes. His lengthy career includes numerous positions in the environmental profession and leadership roles with National and Northwest conservation groups. His honors include the 2000 U.S. President’s Service Medal for service in the Environmental Field.  He is also a past Outdoor Education Counselor for the Pendleton School District.


Kim Silva
Executive Director

Kim Silva has been raising money since she was a six-year-old Blue Bird hawking Camp Fire candy to her neighbors. A refugee from the insurance and finance world, she began getting paid to raise money by hosting fabulous parties late into the night at Portland Center Stage. Being a morning person, Kim hung up her dancing shoes to lead the development department at Friends of Trees, then Hoyt Arboretum Friends. Kim holds the Certified Fundraising Executive designation, has a master's in public administration (environmental policy concentration) from Portland State University, and a BS in business administration (finance and insurance concentrations) from California State University, Sacramento.


Scott Fogarty
Executive Director

Scott Fogarty is executive director of Friends of Trees, a nonprofit organization with a mission of building community through urban tree planting and natural area restoration in the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area. He previously served as executive director of Friends of Opal Creek, where he helped finalize federal wilderness legislation for the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area. Scott has a long history of environmental conservation and preservation, activism and policymaking.


Rex Burkholder
Community Activist
Social Entrepreneur, Author and Advisor on Sustainable Solutions

Trained as a biologist, Rex Burkholder worked as a science teacher and in the Northwestern forests. He started the bicycling revolution in Portland, Oregon as a founder and policy director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. An early leader in sustainability and equity, Burkholder also co-founded the Coalition for a Livable Future, bringing together over 100 diverse NGOs in the greater Portland region. He was elected to the Portland Metro Council in 2000, where he led efforts to reform regional transportation policy and to integrate climate change into the decisions at all levels of government in Oregon.


Karen Hill

Karen has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington since October of 2008, when four councils in Oregon were consolidated. She previously served as CEO/executive director at several major non-profit organizations in the Portland and Salem areas, including the I Have a Dream Foundation, Telemedicine Research Center, YWCA of Greater Portland and Northwest Human Services, Inc. Karen has demonstrated visionary leadership for agency management, fund development, community relations and board support.


Morgan Rider

Morgan Rider specializes in strategic corporate sustainability planning, environmental management system development and environmental health and safety compliance. She has managed and performed environmental compliance projects and audits for large commercial clients with national and international assets. Morgan has worked extensively with companies in the semiconductor, apparel, aerospace, automotive, forest products, food processing, renewable energy and mining industries, helping them conduct sustainability and life-cycle assessments, and assisting them in reducing resources and minimizing waste. Since 2009, she has served as sustainability chair for the Pacific Northwest Cleantech Open. Cleantech Open is a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting new ideas into viable clean tech businesses. Morgan has worked as environmental compliance manager for LSI Logic and Nike. She holds a BS in civil and environmental engineering from Cornell University and is a professional engineer in the state of Oregon.


Jack Gray

Jack Gray, co-owner of Winter Green Farm outside of Eugene, Oregon, is committed to farming without harming surrounding wildlife and natural ecosystems. In addition to raising cattle and vegetables on Winter Green Farm, Jack serves as an advisor to the Gray Family Foundation. The Gray Family Foundation works to encourage greater civic engagement in Oregon through investments that promote environmental literacy.


Nancy Bales
Executive Director

Before serving as the executive director of the Gray Family Foundation, Nancy Bales spent 13 years at Ecotrust as the vice president of development. She has more than 20 years of professional and volunteer fundraising experience and more than 25 years of management experience. She served as board chair of Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, as well as on advisory and program committees for the Willamette Valley Development Officers.


Rob Patridge
District Attorney

Rob Patridge grew up on a working cattle ranch in Eagle Point, Oregon and has served southern Oregon as a deputy district attorney, president of the Medford City Council, and three terms as the state representative from Medford, where he was majority whip and chaired the Public Safety Sub-Committee of Ways and Means. Currently, Rob serves as Klamath County District Attorney. He was appointed chair of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) by Governor Kitzhaber in September 2013.


Roberto Franco

Before working as the director of the Latino Partnership Program of the Oregon Community Foundation, Roberto was a program manager at the State Housing and Community Services Department. Previously, he was executive director of the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation (FHDC) in Woodburn, where he was an extraordinary leader and community builder.


Dan Prince
Outdoor School Coordinator

For 30 years, Dan Prince has used education to connect people to place, people to nature, and people to people. He completed a BA in philosophy at Whitman College, with thesis research on the Euro-American tradition of separating humans from nature. After obtaining a teaching credential at University of Alaska Fairbanks, he spent two years on the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta teaching high school. In Oregon, he has worked as an educator at the Oregon Zoo, Metro's Waste Reduction Education program, and for the past 23 years at Multnomah ESD's Outdoor School program. He is currently the coordinator of Outdoor School, where he spends as much time as possible trying to figure out how to bring research to bear on assessing student outcomes. He lives in Corbett.


Eric Friedenwald-Fishman
Creative Director

Since Metropolitan Group’s founding in 1989, Eric has served as the key strategist and campaign counsel on hundreds of international, national and regional projects, and he has developed extensive relationships with nonprofit, corporate, public sector and philanthropic decision makers. He serves on the boards of Willamette University and Congregation Beth Israel and is a volunteer fundraiser for his local public schools. He recently served on The Library Foundation board and was co-chair of Multnomah County Library’s literacy and endowment campaign.


Jessica Jansen
Executive Director

A native Oregonian, Jessica fell in love with agriculture as a teenager. Inspired by her involvement in FFA throughout high school, Jessica developed a passion for agriculture education and communication. This interest led her to pursue two degrees at Oregon State University; agricultural sciences and communication.  Jessica oversees the day-to-day operations of Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom and works to develop the program to meet the ever-changing needs of Oregon educators and promote the greatest industry in the world: Oregon Agriculture!


Jeff Stone
Executive Director

Jeff Stone has overall supervisory responsibility for staff, budget and activities of the Oregon Association of Nurseries and serves as lead spokesperson for the association's 1,000 members. He also serves as treasurer of the Oregon Nurseries Foundation, staff liaison to Government Relations and Membership committees, and the Oregon Nurseries Political Action Committee (ONPAC).


Jim James
Executive Director

Jim James represents the Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA) for state agencies and the media; overseas publications, websites, and calendars; works on funding and grant opportunities; and overseas all OSWA activities at the state level. Prior to his current role, Jim was the director of sustainable forestry at Weyerhaeuser and the general manager of western timber at Willamette Industries, Inc.


Jay Graves

Former owner and operator of the Bike Gallery, Jay Graves now serves on the Oregon State Parks Commission. He is also a founding board member of Cycle Oregon, and in that capacity provided seed funding for the Community Cycling Center, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and countless other advocacy efforts.


Susan Sahnow
Natural Resources Education Program Director

Susan Sahnow She brings a strong background in program development, project management, and strategic leadership. As director of the Oregon Natural Resources Education program, she oversees delivery of natural resource programming to over 1,000 educators across the state every year. In 2013 Sahnow proposed a model for implementing the OEL plan through Extension, and in 2014 OSU became the institutional home for the Oregon Environmental Literacy Program (OELP), for which she serves as project coordinator. Susan holds an BS in Forestry and a EdM in Adult Education.


Helle Ruddenklau
First Vice President

Helle grew up in Denmark and came to Oregon with her family in 1984. She met her husband in New Zealand and they have three children ranging from 9 to 18 years old. She has a master's degree in plant breeding and genetics from OSU. Helle and her husband are farmers outside of Amity and run a small trucking operation, farming about 1,000 acres with 8-10 different crops ranging from grass seed and wheat to specialty seed crops and green beans for processing; they are members of the Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Wheat Growers League and Oregonians for Food and Shelter. Helle and her husband have been named as Outstanding Cooperator of the Year by Polk and Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Top Cooperator for the Lower Willamette Basin, and Runner-Up for the statewide award; they have also individually been named as Outstanding Young Farmers for their county and, in 2009, were recognized as one of four national Outstanding Young Farmers. Helle is currently serving as first vice president of Oregon Women for Agriculture, as president of her school parent organization and on the Advisory Committee for the OSU Extension Service. She also volunteers at the local school and with Agriculture in the Classroom, Summer Agriculture Institute and the Adopt-a-Farmer program.


Jeff Roberts
Senior Architectural Designer
SERA Architects, Inc.

See Jeff's bio on the firm's website. 


Elizabeth Fouts
Senior Director/Assistant Counsel

Elizabeth Fouts is the senior director and assistant council of the retirement plans legal department of The Standard Insurance Co. Including her work as an attorney, she has worked at The Standard for more than seven years. Her areas of expertise include data privacy and employment law.


Thomas Doherty
Professor, Psy. D.

Dr. Thomas Joseph Doherty is a licensed psychologist whose work integrates clinical, environmental and organizational perspectives. He specializes in ecopsychology: applying an ecological and sustainability perspective to mental health and wellbeing. He also co-founded and directs the Ecopsychology Certificate Program at Lewis & Clark Graduate School. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Past President of the Society for Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology, and founding editor of the Ecopsychology journal. Thomas grew up in Buffalo, New York and received his BA from Columbia University in New York City and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch New England Graduate School in New Hampshire. Thomas has received the Public Education Award from the Oregon Psychological Association and facilitated trainings on conservation psychology in the US and abroad. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Sabin neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.


Randy Schild

Randy Schild has been the superintendent of Tillamook School District since 2001 and was named the 2015 Oregon Superintendent of the Year by the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators. Prior to serving as superintendent he was a student, teacher, coach and administrator in the district. Schild is currently serving an unprecedented third term as the superintendent advisor to the State Board of Education. He also serves in state-level leadership roles for Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), including executive board member of the OASE.


John Miller

One of Oregon’s foremost environmental advocates, John Miller is the president and owner of Wildwood/Mahonia, a Salem-based family of companies with a diverse range of activities: agriculture, urban planning and development, and caring for the environment. John served on the board of Ecotrust, works with the Clean River Institute in Tualatin, supports a children’s relief nursery, and plays an active role in SOLVE. John also helped found and fund the Honoring Our Rivers anthology.