Administration

Jeff Parker, Executive Director - Jeff Parker is our Executive Director. Jeff brings significant experience in strategic development, coordination, and execution of complex public and private projects to his position. He first worked for NYC in 1994 as Project Manager at a residential AmeriCorps camp on the Olympic peninsula. Jeff has also worked as NYC’s Youth Corps Program Director, and Deputy Director. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Art Degree in Political Science from the University of Washington, and a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science, with an emphasis on Public Policy, from Evergreen State College. A north Eugene resident, Jeff is the proud father of two boys, and an avid outdoor enthusiast.
 
Keith Brown, Deputy Director - Keith previously served as the Youth Corps Program Director, Operations Director, and head of the Marketing and Community Relations Department. Keith began his career with NYC in 1992 as a crewleader and spent his first few winters supervising NYC’s YouthBuild home construction program. When Keith is not working, he enjoys spending time exploring the northwest forests and coastal areas with Ann, his wife and best friend.
 
Natalie Whitson, Development Officer - Since 1998, Natalie has worked to fund new programs through grant-writing and alumni and community solicitation. Her other responsibilities include donor and volunteer development, facility rentals, representing NYC on the Laurel Hill Valley Executive Committee, and chairing NYC’s Safety Committee. Prior to NYC, Natalie lived in The Hague, The Netherlands, where she operated a small cleaning business. She has also worked at a foundation supporting public schools, and as a Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA) where she developed youth activities. Natalie earned her Master of Fine Art Degree in Painting from the University of Oregon. She and her husband have a daughter who is a proud graduate of NYC’s high school, now called the Twin Rivers Charter School. When not working, Natalie studies and competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
 
Jay A. Satz, Senior Director of Partnerships and Innovation - Jay is responsible for developing new conservation service program models, managing relationships with NYC’s key partners and supporting programs in the field. Jay is an award winning conservationist with a 30+ year career of connecting youth to conservation, creating and running effective backcountry conservation service programs, and developing and promulgating effective risk management practices for NYC, SCA, National Park Service, YMCA and other organizations and programs. In addition to his work with NYC, Jay serves on the boards for Aerie Backcountry Medicine, the YMCA of Greater Seattle Camping and Outdoor Leadership Branch, Washington’s National Park Fund, and has been a standing member of the Wilderness Risk Managers steering committee since 1995.
 
Vickie Smith, Finance Officer - Vickie joined NYC in 2005 as the NYC bookkeeper, and became the Financial Officer in 2009. Before NYC, Vickie spent more than 25 years working in various accounting, finance, and human resources roles, including owning and operating a printing business with her husband. Vickie’s children have also participated in NYC, giving her first-hand knowledge of being an NYC parent. Vickie was born and raised in Southern California. She attended college in North Hollywood and Sacramento before moving to Eugene in 1981. Vickie loves to travel, lived in Peru for six months, enjoys a good roller coaster, and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks.
 
Tracy Denson, Bookkeeper - Tracy has been NYC’s bookkeeper since 2010. Considering herself a Jane of all trades, before NYC, Tracy worked in a variety of jobs including silk screener, adult foster home assistant, and tile worker. A lifelong Oregonian, Tracy was born in Florence and moved to Eugene when she was five, where she’s lived ever since. She enjoys camping, waterskiing, bowling, and spending time with her husband and two children.
 
Victoria Epperson, Bookkeeper - Victoria joined NYC's Finance team in 2017 and brings with her more than 20 years of management experience in Human Resources, Compliance, and Finance. She is an experienced NYC Mom. Her eldest son participated in NYC's Youth Corps program and is a successful graduate of the Outdoor High School, the predecessor to NYC’s Twin Rivers Charter School. Victoria's goal was to someday bring her experience, knowledge, skills and abilities to NYC and give back to the program that assisted her and her family in such a positive way. Victoria is happiest hiking, or on a sunny beach either snorkeling or swimming or cruising on the river in her Tahiti while photographing the beautiful wildlife.
 

Marketing & Community Relations 

 Darian Lightfoot, Director -  Darian Lightfoot is from Southeast Iowa. She attended college at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri where she earned her degree in American Sign Language Studies, American Sign Language Interpreting, and Communications with a focus in Leadership. Darian’s first Corps experience was in 2013 when she was an Interpreter/Crew Leader for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota. She then spent three summers with the Summer Youth Corps, ending her last term in 2016 as the ASL Community Coordinator/Assistant Director. Darian started at NYC in November, 2016 and will begin studying for her Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management in January 2017 at the University of Oregon. For fun, Darian enjoys hiking, watching old films and documentaries, playing catan, and cooking.
 
Kelan Zerr, Office Assistant - Kelan has served in NYC’s Marketing and Community Relations Department since April 2015, where he is a journal typist, mailing specialist, database entryist, envelope stuffer, and general helpful person. When he is not working at NYC, he also works at the Willamette National Forest in the mail and copy room. His favorite thing about working at NYC and the WNF is “the wonderful employees”! When Kelan is not working, he enjoys spending time doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to country music, following the men’s and women’s Duck sports teams (go Ducks!), and taking trips on Amtrak.
 
 Mary Bowers, Youth Services Coordinator -  Mary grew up in Upstate New York, where from an early age she was encouraged to garden and poke strange things with sticks in the woods behind her house. She later graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Anthropology, as well as minors in writing and honors, for which she completed independent fieldwork on the experiences of college students with disabilities. Mary then took her passions for creating access and outdoor adventure to Colorado where she worked as a Program Assistant at the Denver Colorado AIDS Project and became better acquainted with bison. Her westward odyssey continued in October of 2016 when she became an enthusiastic new resident of Eugene, OR. When not at NYC, Mary enjoys adventurous reading, exploratory eating, and making bad puns.
 
Hannah Baskin, Outreach Coordinator - Hannah is originally from upstate New York. She graduated from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh with a BS in Management Information Science and Business Administration, with a minor in Data Analytics. She got her start in the conservation corps world first as an AmeriCorps member, then a crew leader with American Conservation Experience in Flagstaff, AZ. After leading both youth and young adult crews, Hannah fell in love with the education and access to the outdoors that conservation corps provide. She is excited for the opportunity to help young people get involved with Northwest Youth Corps. She enjoys long walks on the trail, donuts of every flavor, and exploring new places.  
 
 Angela Noah, Ancestral Lands VISTA Intern -  Angela Noah originates from the White Mountain Apache Tribe from Cibecue, Arizona located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Aside from Apache, she is also Oklahoma Choctaw and Navajo. Angela first worked with NYC as a youth participant in a Youth Corps Camping Program in 2015 and completed a session of the Native American Conservation Corps Seasonal Stewardship Program in 2015-2016. Angela served as a Crewleader for Youth Corps Community and Camping Program for Northwest Youth Corps in 2017. She is a 2016 graduate from Chemawa Indian School in Salem, OR where she co-founded the One Chemawa Program in collaboration with NYC to bring natural resource management experience to students. In addition, Angela received the highly respected 2016 Corps Networks’ Corpsmember of the Year Award. Aside from her extensive NYC experience, Angela also completed an AmeriCorps term with the Tribal Civilian Community Corps with the Hoopa Valley Tribe in Hoopa, California. There, she responded to natural disasters including the flood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Angela is passionate about bringing Native youth outdoors and is thrilled to be the Ancestral Lands VISTA intern. Her role will be to build tribal partnerships with the Federally Recognized tribes in the Northwest and to support tribal programs NYC has to offer. Outside of work, Angela enjoys journaling, singing, and attending Powwows in the Northwest. You can also find Angela escaping to the Oregon coast to explore.
 
Bianca Flynn, Northwest Youth Corps and the Willamette National Forest Community Engagement Conservation Intern - Bianca is a new member of the Northwest Youth Corps, and she is ecstatic to be working as the Community Engagement Conservation Intern. Originally from Florida, Bianca has been a resident of Eugene for the past four years, and is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in Environmental History. At a young age, Bianca had developed an affinity for nature, but she did not have many opportunities to get out in the woods. After moving to Oregon her experiences at the university fostered more knowledge and accessibility to nature, which helped her develop her major goals and interests. Her background is primarily rooted in teaching and inclusivity for diverse populations. For the past three years, Bianca worked for the American English Institute as a tutor for international students, with the intention of educating them about our culture, while helping them feel welcome in the United States. Her experience in the Environmental Leadership Program was based in community relations and environmental justice, as she worked with the School Garden Project to create quality lesson plans, and taught underprivileged youth about gardening and the importance of eating healthy food. Bianca is passionate about teaching and empowering others, as well as environmental, social and food justice. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, singing, drawing and writing.
 
Sam Kenney, Northwest Youth Corps and the Siuslaw National Forest Community Engagement Conservation Intern - Sam is excited to be the Community Engagement Conservation Intern working with the Siuslaw National forest. Raised in the Midwest, Sam grew to love camping, hiking, conservation and exploring nature on family trips to National Parks and Forests. In college, Sam studied Economics and International Studies. Prior to living in Oregon, Sam lived and worked in Uruguay and Brazil where he participated in programs to empower local entrepreneurs and facilitate educational opportunities for students. He is passionate about inclusion, social justice, youth empowerment and conservation. Sam enjoys hiking, camping, reading, spending time with friends and travelling.
 
Peter Chesser, Marketing Coordinator - Peter grew up in New York and attended the University at Albany and the College of Saint Rose, where he earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration. After college, he wanted to explore America’s wild places and discovered AmeriCorps’ conservation crews. Peter first worked with the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, and then led crews for the Montana Conservation Corps. While in Montana, he met his future wife. They later moved to Oregon where Peter became a NYC crewleader. Since then, Peter has helped to get more youth involved with the outdoors through NYC’s programs. Peter spends his free time camping, hiking, fly fishing, and biking.
 

Operations

 Kelcey Hadden-Leggett, Operations Director - Kelcey was born and raised in America’s first (and best) capital, Philadelphia. After spending much of her childhood exploring the rivers and mountains of the east coast, she attended the University of Pittsburgh where she earned a degree in Spanish, with minor degrees in Portuguese and Latin American Studies. During her time at Pitt, she worked for a Latin American news outlet and also conducted extensive conservation research in Bolivia and Ecuador. Following college, Kelcey continued her work as a white water raft guide in western Pennsylvania, worked for everyone’s favorite co-op, REI, and travelled all over the USA and world before landing in Eugene with NYC. Outside of NYC, you can find her skiing, hiking, petting dogs, and chasing waterfalls.
 
Matthew Frintner, Logistics Coordinator - Matt was born and raised in the greatest state in the union, Wisconsin. He obtained his Bachelors of Science Degree in Time Management from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. After college, he joined the Coconino Rural Environmental Corps in Flagstaff, AZ. Here he found his passion for conservation and working outdoors. He then worked with Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, and Nevada Conservation Corps before finding his way into the Northwest Youth Corps family. He spends his free time biking, reading, attempting to summit things and throwing circles at the local disc golf courses.
 
Alfredo Garcia, Facilities Coordinator - Alfredo has worked in the construction field for many years, and brings to NYC a wide range of skills and certifications. As the Facilities Coordinator, he is an integral part of the Operations Department. Outside of work, Alfredo enjoys spending time with his boys, and attending church.


Youth Corps

Matt Springer, Programs Director - Matt is a clear product of the NYC leadership machine, colored by years in different capacities with the organization, his work ethic is driven by a strong commitment to social justice and systems reform. Matt returns to Oregon from Montana where he spent eight years implementing nationally-recognized programs focused on creating more cost-effective workforce training programs within thirteen of the state’s public and tribal colleges. Matt returns to Oregon with his glorious wife Shareen, their twin hellions, Lily Pepper and Benjamin Henry and Fats, a friendly, eighteen-pound, black feline. Matt often smells of sweat and enjoys demolishing blackberry patches and Cinnamon rolls from Sweet Life. Please feel free to contact Matt with inquiries about NYC’s programs at mspringer@nwyouthcorps.org or by phone at (541) 349-7515.
 
Jeff Olson, Field Director - Jeff spent his teenage salad days working with NYC in the 90’s, participating in a variety of programs from Youth Forest Camps to the Backcountry Leadership Program and the Historic Preservation Team. He returned to the NYC family in 2007 and has since worked in every geographic region of the organization. Jeff grew up in Tacoma, WA and studied Studio Art at Evergreen State College. He has held a Wilderness EMT Certification since 2008 and is focused on Risk Management. Outside of work, Jeff is an avid backcountry snowboarder, hand tool woodworker, and fly fisher.
 
 David Nestor, Partnership Director - David hails from Michigan, where he spent most of his youth exploring the lakes and deep woods, and developing a love of the natural world. David earned a degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Eastern Michigan University, and worked with a land management company in Ann Arbor, where he learned a great deal about land stewardship and public lands management. After working on a trail crew in California, David has led youth crews for NYC’s Outdoor Oregon program. When not at NYC, David can be found hiking, snowboarding, traveling, reading, and playing music.
 
Jeremy Taitano, Washington Program Manager - Jeremy Taitano is a Micronesian American who has worked in the world of conservation since 2011. His connection to the outdoors began when he was a child, spearfishing on the reefs outside of his home village of Tanapag, Saipan. Since then, he has been involved with a variety of environmental conservation programs, from slogging through the backwoods of Maine to monitor wetlands, to designing environmental education curriculum for schools in Philadelphia. He has a distinct passion for connecting human and natural space in order to ensure that the benefits of green space are affordable to all people.
 
 Tom Derr, Youth Corps Camping Program Coordinator - Tom hails from Northeast Ohio where he gained an appreciation for Cleveland sports. He eventually made his way to Utah where received a bachelor’s in environmental studies and a master’s in human geography from Utah State University. From 2015 to 2017 Tom served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and researcher in Uganda. Previous to his time abroad, Tom worked for various conservation corps and federal agencies throughout the mountain west. When not working on the trails or in the office Tom can be found running, biking, or off traveling.
 
 Michelle Schuett, Young Adult Program Coordinator - Michelle is a native Texan with a love for misty rain and mosey trees. She received a B.S. from Texas A&M University in Recreation Park & Tourism Sciences and went on to pursue her outdoor passions by working for conservation corps in Washington and Michigan. Michelle’s adventures have taken her there and back again to Oregon where she is a proud to be a member of the Northwest Youth Corps staff. She is passionate about local government, parks and recreation, art and playing with her cat.
 
 Jess Pinnell, Young Adult Program Coordinator - Jess comes from Sequim, Washington, a small logging town in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains – although he claims no association with the Twilight Saga. Identifying as a fourth generation forester, he enjoys being away from technology and civilization on a regular basis. He has a degree in photojournalism from the University of Oregon and has worked as a journalist in West Africa. Jess started with NYC back in 2011, working with the Teens ‘N Trails program. He enjoys cooking with cast iron, wood stoves, playing chess, and hanging out with goats.
 

Twin Rivers Charter School

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Conservation Internship Dept. 

Jay Runte, Conservation Internship Director - Jay grew up south of Buffalo, N.Y. While in college he worked for Frost Valley YMCA as a canoe and kayak instructor, and the Appalachian Mountain Club as a huts crew member and interpretive guide. Jay earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Liberal Arts, Recreation and Leisure Studies from Excelsior College. Upon moving to Eugene in 2002, he accepted a job at NYC. Since then, Jay has served youth in various programs, including a stint as AmeriCorps Member, and later Project Coordinator at NYC’s Outdoor High School. Jay enjoys fly fishing, rafting, hiking, and skiing.
 
Will Chaney, Leadership Coordinator - Will grew up in California and Wisconsin where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. A NOLS Semester in British Columbia sparked his interest in outdoor recreation and alerted him to the existence of trail crews! Since then, Will has roamed the American West leading conservation crews for various organizations and is happy to have landed in Eugene with Northwest Youth Corps. In his free time Will can be found riding his bike, skiing, playing guitar, and baking bread.
  
Andrew Tagge, Internship Coordinator - Andrew grew up in the cornfields of Central Illinois before escaping to Minnesota and all its many lakes in 2010. In Minnesota, he started his work with the Corps world, serving three terms with Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, happily wielding a chainsaw almost every day. After completing his terms of service, Andrew returned to the University of Minnesota to gain his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Anxious to see just how big a lake he can find, Andrew found himself drawn to Oregon and its coast, and his next foray into the Corps world began with NYC. When not with NYC, you can find Andrew hiking along the coast, soaking in hot springs, biking, reading, or woodworking.
  
Loveita Morrison, Internship Coordinator - Has all the unassuming cute demeanor of a koala, and much like one, her true tenacity lies in the way she grips concepts from mid-air and yields them into some sense of structure as only a truly accomplished grammarian can do. Despite earning a BA in Communication studies, fortune landed this unpredictable traveler in multiple countries where she perfected her craft of teaching. This mystic of mayhem spent her earlier professional years wondering amongst the classrooms of Korean kindergarteners and schooling them in the ways of English for 4 years, where she held the title 춤의 여왕 in her favorite haunts.  Photographic evidence of this occurrence is held in the undeveloped pictures of many Koreans, lost to the digital reservoirs that is known as of photos with randos, never to be collected again. In 2009, the call of adventure led to 2 year stint of teaching in Europe, where amongst only a handful of German and Glaswegian associates, she answers to the name of Loveyetie. Nevertheless, the whirlwind that is Loveita’s whimsy returned her to domestic shores in 2013 where she taught ESL to college students at Linn Benton and OSU for4 years and earned a M.ED in Curriculum and Instruction. Yet, by some bizarre twist of cosmic fate, in the year of the great and total solar eclipse, she meandered into the world of Northwest Youth corps and found a home.  It is here that she wields with creative ingenuity, the madly magnificent magic of administrative duties.  No one knows exactly where she hails from, but earliest sightings of her have been reported from multiple cities in the Great Plains of Montana and the Bitterroot Valley near Missoula. .
  

Founder

Art Pope, FounderDuring his college years, Art Pope worked as a kayaking instructor for Minnesota for Outward Bound, and spent a summer as a Wilderness Ranger on Idaho's Selway River. He worked at a logging camp in Alaska and ran a Youth Conservation Corps program for the Forest Service. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Art spent four months canoeing through Alaska, worked with sixth grade students as Director of an Outdoor School program, and otherwise supported a compulsion to raft, kayak, climb, and ski through freelance writing and photography. Art Pope was the Executive Director of NYC from 1984 to 2011.