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.
 
Peter Chesser, Communications Officer - 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 worked for conservation corps in Alaska and Montana before joining Northwest Youth Corps in 2011. When not in the office Peter spends his time raising his kids and exploring Pacific Northwest public lands.
 
Jessie Johnson, Human Resources Officer - Jessie joins NYC as the HR Officer. Born in Florida and was transplanted to the tiny town of Cove Oregon. She feels that this upbringing gave her the best of both worlds. Surrounded by forests and fields she developed a true appreciation for nature and its’ lasting impact on youth. In 2012 Jessie attained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon. Over the course of her career she has provided management, leadership, and human resources in both the non-profit and private sector. Additionally, she is a SHRM-CP certified HR Professional who is passionate about organizational development and employee engagement. Outside of work you can find Jessie enjoying time with her daughter or getting out and exploring the community.
 
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.
 
Diane Comer, Accounts Receivable - Diane is originally from the state Washington, but relocated to Springfield, Oregon in 1997. Diane holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Central Washington University and has worked in finance for 15 years. Her Greatest accomplishment in her life is raising her 3 fantastic kids to be great Adults. Diane loves camping, sports, traveling, her English Bulldogs and cooking for her friends & family. In her spare time she volunteers her time at the Springfield Moose Lodge as a member of the board, recorder, party planner, and dinner host.
 

Community Engagement 

 Nate Zantzinger, Community Engagement Manager - Nate Zantzinger was born and raised in the temperate, deciduous forests of Southeastern Pennsylvania, where he developed a strong connection to the natural world. An export from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Nate is a Paoli native; however, started his westward journey after studying Environmental Studies at Prescott College in Arizona. While serving as the Community Volunteer Ambassador at Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, Nate collaborated with National Park Service partners to enhance partnerships while overseeing the volunteer program. Nate is eager to volunteer at animal rescues and contribute to preservation projects throughout the Pacific Northwest in addition to his role with Northwest Youth Corps.
 
Rebecca Cashero, Recruitment Coordinator - Growing-up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Central Valley of California, and California’s Central Coast, Rebecca developed a deep love of nature’s beautiful diversity. Rebecca worked with various ecological non-profit organizations while attending California State University, Monterey Bay. After traveling around the country for a year, she attended the Environment and Community graduate program at Humboldt State University. Throughout Rebecca’s professional and academic careers, she has focused on building inclusive and resilient communities. Her love of the forest pulled Rebecca to the Pacific Northwest.
 
Mariah Clark, Youth Recruitment Coordinator- Mariah was born and raised in Central Oregon where she developed a love for the outdoors by camping, hiking, and exploring in the beautiful high desert. While earning her Bachelors of Arts in History and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Oregon she was introduced to the values of diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality, which have influenced her life in so many ways. Taking these concepts and values to heart allowed her to become an active and engaged volunteer leader within the community, working to increase access to reproductive health services, as well as participating in other social justice issues/campaigns. Through her volunteering Mariah has gained quite a plethora of recruitment and outreach experience and skills, which she is eager to utilize in conjunction with Northwest Youth Corps mission.
 
Dante Zuniga-West, Youth Services Coordinator - Dante Zùñiga-West is a writer and outdoorsman who thrives in the backcountry. He began working with Northwest Youthcorps in 2014 as a Language Arts teacher and Field Coordinator for the Outdoor High School. He has since worked in many different departments at NWYC before finding a home in Community Engagement. Dante has a Bachelor’s Degree in writing from The Evergreen State College and a Master’s Degree in writing from the Cal Arts MFA Writing Program. He is passionate about environmental conservation, leadership, primitive skills and connecting young people to the natural world. A published novelist and working freelancer, Dante’s articles can be found in a variety of outdoor adventure journals, alternative newspapers and lifestyle magazines. Away from work Dante spends his time on public lands, hunting and fishing. He lives off the grid in the coastal mountain range of Oregon.
 
Kelan Zerr, Office Assistant - Kelan has served with NYC 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.
 

Operations

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.


Programs

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, Risk Management and Field Training Officer - Jeff spent his teenage salad days working with NYC in the mid- 90’s, participating in a variety of programs. He returned to the NYC family in 2007 as a crew leader, previous to his current position he served as a program manager in WA and Field Director for 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 teaches Wilderness Medicine courses with Aerie Backcountry Medicine. Outside of work, Jeff can be found building furniture, in the uplands with pointing dogs and on the river swinging flies for unsuspecting fish.
 
 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.
 
 Marta LeFevre, Program Coordinator - Marta began in the corps world working for the Southwest Conservation Corps at the age of eighteen. This inspired her to pursue a career in conservation and land management, and she earned a B.A. in Biology in 2014 from Macalester College. Since then, she has worked in conservation positions around the country, including as a technician with USFS and BLM. Her background is in plant ecology, rare plant conservation, and invasive species management. She loves working with youth in the outdoors, and previously worked as an education intern with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and as a National Crew Leader with the Student Conservation Association. She is excited to be back in the world of youth corps as a Program Coordinator with NYC! Her hobbies include local and medicinal botany, yoga and meditation, walking in nature, and backcountry exploration.
 
 Hannah Siroky, Program Coordinator - Hannah is originally from Illinois, but has spent the last five years moving around the southwest region of the US before settling in Oregon in 2019. Most of her experience has been working seasonally as a biological science technician for the National Park Service and US Forest Service. She spent most of her days and nights surveying bats, snakes, and birds. In 2016 she discovered the amazing world of conservation corps as a crew leader with Arizona Conservation Corps. She is ecstatic to continue sharing her love of natural resources with the young people within this organization. When she’s not working you can find her attempting to fly fish, knitting, and being a social butterfly.
 
 Edison Velez, Washington Program Coordinator - Edison comes from Disney World, Florida and was quick to escape west after completing his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Florida. Edison spent most of his youth and young adult summers working and recreating in the outdoors, often travelling far from Florida to find more than just swamps and pine forests. After a handful of summers in New Mexico and a quick jaunt to California, Edison landed in the Northwest for a summer and became enchanted with staying. Since his start with Northwest Youth Corps, Edison has led crews, coordinated programs in the field, and now is responsible for overseeing Northwest Youth Corps Camping program in the state of Washington. When he is not enjoying the outdoors professionally, he can be found cycling to coffee shops and trying to organize a sea of photos from the last couple years of work and travel.
 
 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.
  
Caitlin Arnot-Copenhaver, AmeriCorps Program Manager - Though Caitlin was born in Washington, she grew up amongst the redwood forests of the central California coast since the age of 3 months. Her childhood exposure to the coastal outdoor scene instilled in her a passion for environmentalism, conservation, and beautiful views. Caitlin came to NYC with a wide variety of administrative experience including working in the music industry in Los Angeles and coordinating a student exchange program once she moved back to the Pacific Northwest in 2014. At NYC, Caitlin administers the organization’s AmeriCorps grants, focusing on compliance and member support. Outside of her duties at NYC, Caitlin finds joy in adopting too many houseplants, skiing and hiking in the Cascades, and cooking delicious vegan food.
  
Andrew Tagge, Internship Program Officer - 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.
  

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.