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, Senior Director, Administration - 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, 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.
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.
Liz Iversen, Youth Services Coordinator- Liz grew up on along the northern edge of the Siskiyou Mountain Range of Oregon where the Douglas Fir forest met up with the very edge of the Redwood forest and the coast was just a skip away. Her love for our forests and natural spaces came from a young age; when she was adopted she had troubles walking, her father would take her hiking every day after school telling her stories and teaching her about the forest. She took her first job in a forest setting at the age of 16, and was fascinated by the constant beauty and natural processes. She attended Oregon State University where she earned her B.S. in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Recreation Leadership and Tourism Management. Throughout her career she has worked a wide array of jobs with Federal, State and local agencies, but her focus has always been planning and coordination. Liz is passionate about being a positive role model and creating something beautiful from warn and thrashed things. When she is not working, you can find her gardening, refinishing furniture, playing in our public lands and hanging out with her kittens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sage Bates, Program Coordinator - Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sage grew up exploring the wonders of the desert. After gaining a degree in communications with a minor in geology from Northern Arizona University, she joined the Nevada Conservation Corps and worked her way up from crew member to crew leader. While in the field, Sage worked on a variety of different projects, but found most interest in trail projects. When her time in the field came to a close, she joined the office staff to work on recruitment, compliance, and outreach. Working and living in Nevada for almost her entire life, Sage was ready for a change of scenery and moved up to Oregon to join to NYC team. In her role of Programs Coordinator, she is excited to share her passion for the outdoors with future generations! In her free time, you can find Sage trying out new recipes, reading, or exploring public lands.
Edison Velez, Washington Program Manager - 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.
Twin Rivers Charter SchoolView on School Website
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.
Art Pope, Founder - During 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.