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PPRV Team

Pollinator Project Rogue Valley is directed by an all-volunteer board.
We joined together to promote the health of pollinators and people
- for our food systems and ecosystems - in our communities and beyond.


Working together, we can save our pollinators.

BOARD

Arti Kirch

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Arti has been following a passion for the natural world her entire life, beginning with a childhood spent in the glorious Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As an adult, she lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 40 years. There, in addition to creating several residential and public dry-land gardens, she also operated a nonprofit nursery specializing in native and Mediterranean-climate plants, co-founded a business growing and selling edible plants for summer gardens, was a docent at state and regional parks, and studied horticulture at several local colleges. Arti is a steadfast member of the Native Plant Society of Oregon and the California Native Plant Society. Arti is thrilled with the opportunity to  share her knowledge and passion for the magic of seeds with the Pollinator Project Rogue Valley community. 

Kristina Lefever 

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Kristina moved to the Rogue Valley in 2012 and immediately became enamored with the region's flora and fauna, especially our pollinators. At the same time, she began learning about the unprecedented decline of all pollinators and the associated implications for our food system and eco system.

Kristina loves talking about our native bees, butterflies, flies, wasps, beetles, and hummingbirds, and the plants and habitats that best support them. She also loves connecting with people who share the dream that everyone's yard or landscape will include a little or a lot of pollinator habitat, even if it's just a corner filled with California poppies.  As her knowledge of native plants continues to grow, she is even more passionate about growing, sharing, and planting the native annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees that create the habitats that best support our region's native pollinators, and thus, all the creatures that depend upon them. Kristina is available to make presentations on the subjects of pollinators, pollinator gardens, and beneficial insects in the garden.

Kristina led the effort for Ashland to become the fifth Bee City USA in 2015, and continues to serve on the subcommittee. She also serves on the board of Beyond Toxics, and is a member of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, Siskiyou Chapter.
Kristina is honored to serve as president and Volunteer Director of Pollinator Project Rogue Valley.

Patricia Burnham

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Pat moved to Southern Oregon in 2018, very happy to come to this slower-paced, smaller, and greener locale after  living in Los Angeles. Before retiring, Pat spent many years working in corporate accounting and financial reporting. Upon moving to Oregon, she discovered her interest in native plants and pollinators, which led her to Pollinator Project Rogue Valley, where she realized her work experience would be useful and she could continue learning about the critical role pollinators play in our ecosystems. Pat is delighted to serve as Treasurer for Pollinator Project Rogue Valley.

Erin Keller

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Erin grew up immersed in the natural world. The long days playing in the open fields around Klamath Falls, walking her family’s timber property near Sweet Home, or helping her grandmother in the flower garden formed the container of her childhood. As an adult, and clinical social worker, she is very aware of the important intersection of nature and mental health.

Over the past few years, Erin and her husband have completed the Land Steward program and the Master Naturalist class, both through OSU Extension Service. They are now working to rewild their small property near Ashland, including native pollinator plantings and encouraging additional wildlife. These activities lead her to volunteer for Pollinator Project Rogue Valley. Erin is interested in helping PPRV get the word out about what we can all do to support our natural environments, and help ourselves in the process. 

Sally Jeppson

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Sally grew up in Carmel, California, but moved to the North Dakota prairies for 32 years, only to circle back to live today in the mountains above Ashland. Sally’s life work has been with non-profit museums and galleries. Exhibitions are her passion, as she recognizes how interpretation, artwork/artifact/specimen selection, installation and exhibition design can showcase artists’ work, sell a product, educate, tell a story, generate dialog and delight audiences. 

 

Sally and her husband operated an exhibition design and arts consulting business, Starview Enterprises, Inc. for 18 years, working with museums, galleries and organizations and their interpretive materials and interactive displays. Sally has organized and installed hundreds of exhibitions, and served on numerous grant panels and juried student, community and academic exhibitions.

Southern Oregon’s rich environmental diversity has only fueled Sally’s passions; gardening, hiking, forging, and learning all she can about the environment of her new home. These interests had her seeking knowledge about the extraordinary number of pollinators she was seeing and she found PPRV. Sally wholeheartedly supports PPRV’s mission and she is looking forward to working on the organization’s exciting future development. 

STAFF
NURSERY MANAGER

Zhu Parker

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Zhu Parker grew up in Logan, Utah where she spent most of her time playing soccer, skiing, and hiking. In 2019, she moved to Ashland Oregon where she graduated from SOU with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy. Through her schooling, she was most fascinated with our agriculture system and how to mitigate climate change issues through promoting soil health, advocating for food access, and encouraging beneficial wildlife. After graduating from Southern Oregon University, Zhu began working as a Garden Educator for Rogue Valley Farm to School teaching 4th grade classes. “I get to work with over 100 fourth graders, each with a different level of exposure to outdoor education. This job has shown me how important education is for all ages.” 

 

Zhu is excited about developing PPRV’s Nursery Manager position while learning about pollinators, working with people dedicated to rewilding Oregon with native plants, and collaborating with other businesses who share the same mission and values.  

STAFF
POLLINATOR PALS

Ethan Robison 

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After serving as our first-ever Pollinator Educator and Outreach Specialist through United Communities | AmeriCorps, Ethan is now PPRV's first Pollinator Pals Education Coordinator! Finishing his degree in Environmental Science and Policy at SOU, majoring in biology, he is excited to be working with all kinds of pollinators, especially those that some see as "creepy crawlies". He loves talking to kids of all ages on the subjects of insect biology and ecology, and how the Rogue Valley community can work together to learn about and support these vital creatures that support our shared ecosystems.

Ethan has lived in Southern Oregon since 2019, after growing up in Reno, Nevada. Since moving here, he has fallen in love with the landscape and wildlife, especially the pollinators, that make the Rogue Valley so vibrant. Ethan asks: Did you know that even carrots need pollinators? Carrot seed is produced because of the pollination activities of small wasps, bees, and beetles! 


Learn more about Ethan here.

AMERICORPS
MEMBER 
POLLINATOR PALS

Sam Inada 2023-2024

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Sam Inada is a second generation Ashland native, recently graduated from University of Oregon with a degree in Global Studies. During his studies, he became invigorated to make a positive impact on the world and on his community, and saw PPRV as an awesome way to do that. Coming from a family of teachers, he is excited to share his love of protecting the environment for and with the next generation. He hopes that his surplus of small-town connections can be of service to PPRV and help bring our community closer.

Before joining PPRV as our second Pollinator Educator and Outreach Specialist, Sam knew little about the amazing world of pollinators, but has since fallen in love. He attributes this to the moment he was shown bumblebees adorably napping in on top of flowers while on a field trip at Willow-Witt Ranch. Learn more about United Communities AmeriCorps here.

POLLINATOR PALS
EDUCATION
COMMITTEE

Hannah Borgerson

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Hannah is a Southern Oregon local! She developed her love for nature whilst frolicking among the nearby ponderosa pines, white oaks, madrones and other grand native trees and plants. Later, she moved north to attend the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington, where she studied Sociology, Anthropology and Education Studies. While in Washington, Hannah’s love for the outdoors grew. By her second year in college, she was a leader of her university’s outdoor club and eventually helped coordinate the outdoor portion of the school’s orientation program.

After college, Hannah moved all around the U.S., working at various summer camps and outdoor education sites. The more time she spent teaching outdoors, the more her passion grew for learning about the importance of creating healthy and sustainable ecosystems around us. Pollinators, bees and native plants became a central learning and teaching point in her outdoor education lessons during her time serving as an Americorps for two years as the Rural Schools Coordinator for Ruch Outdoor Community School. Hannah is currently the Education Manager for the Siskiyou Field Institute -- a conservation and learning center in the Klamath-Siskiyous. 

Sue Fthenakis

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Sue grew up backpacking in the Sierras where she fell in love with the unique and beautiful wildflowers along the trails, in the meadows, and amidst the rock outcroppings of such wonderful mountains. When she had to choose a major at her liberal arts college she was delighted to discover that if she majored in biology she could focus on learning to identify those wildflowers. That was in Colorado many years ago and although most of that knowledge has faded as her life took her in other directions, the love of native plants never diminished. Of course the health of native plants, not to mention all living things, requires healthy populations of pollinators. Knowing that educating people about the importance of pollinators is key to their survival, Sue is pleased to be part of the Education Committee, advancing the mission of planting pollinator friendly, native plants in every possible space all over the Rogue Valley to give our pollinators an environment in which they can thrive. 

Sara Enriquez

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Sara has lived in the Rogue Valley for 35 years and has loved it since day one.  Growing up in Colorado in a family that camped and hiked all summer, she has always enjoyed the outdoors and the beauty and diversity of life around us.  She has been a teacher, primarily math, to students of all ages, from elementary school to community college. Now retired, Sarah is loving this opportunity to put 40 years of educational experience to use. Sara is looking forward to working with Pollinator Project Rogue Valley and learning all she can while spreading the word about ways to protect these vulnerable species we all depend upon. 

Isabela ‘Izzy’ Vilella-Arnizaut

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Izzy started life in Puerto Rico, and then spent the majority of her time growing up in northeast Mississippi. She has had a passion for the outdoors and conservation since she was able to walk, thanks to being raised by a wildlife biologist. Fueled by this passion, she has worked in wildlife biology, ecology and conservation from Maine to Alaska, as well as internationally in Mexico and Brazil since 2013. Izzy moved to the Rogue Valley in the fall of 2023, and is very much looking forward to making her home here in the Pacific Northwest to serve as a wildlife biologist for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Although her love for invertebrates & pollinators began much earlier, professionally, her dive into the world of pollinators started in the open, breezy prairies of the Great Plains circa 2016 - and, she hasn’t looked back since!

 

Her favorite bee family is Megachilidae (mason, leaf-cutter & orchard bees) because they make very fun & inventive nests and have little pollen-collecting hairs on their bellies - and that’s pretty cute. Honorable bee-mention goes to the tribe Euglossini, for the creative males who cross astonishing distances to make perfumes in the name of love. Izzy is excited to share these and other amazing pollinator facts as part of the Pollinator Pals team!

FROM FIRE
TO FLOWERS POLLINATOR GARDENS

Tiina Beaver

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Tiina has always felt more comfortable among the flora and fauna. She has spent time in the wetlands of the Carquinez Straits, climbing and skiing Donner Peak, hiking Mt. Monadnock, and for almost 3 decades has spent the majority of her time exploring and studying the eco-regions of southern Oregon and beyond. Practicing mindfulness, she enjoys studying phylogenetics, biogeography, the micro and the macro of the natural world, and sketching and journaling about native plants and animals as she explores. She started walking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2020 and plans to complete it by doing a little each year. Her home garden is an oasis for all life: a place for experimentation, soil science, habitat for native wildlife, an obsession. She incorporates these passions into her landscape design and healing work. 

Tiina is honored to have an opportunity to share her skills, experience and passions for native plants and pollinators with PPRV to promote ecological health for our community and beyond.

Vanessa Henson

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Vanessa has lived in the Rogue Valley most of her life and has always been in awe of the beauty and diversity this valley has to offer.  She loves spending time outdoors, whether rafting rivers or camping and hiking the wonderful mountain ranges with her family. As a nature enthusiast and owner of a local excavation company, she understands the importance of good stewardship and has a deep respect for our planet.  She is always eager to learn and expand her knowledge for working with the land. Creating a space for pollinators on her property, Vanessa started her journey with honey bee hives in 2018. When the intense fires of 2020 caused them to flee, she was  determined to help pollinators even more, and found PPRV! She quickly became part of the From Fire to Flowers Pollinator Gardens team. Vanessa is thrilled to be part of this important work, helping the community restore the land for pollinators after the fire. She continues to integrate what she has learned into her own thriving pollinator garden.

Dan grew up in the Rogue Valley camping, fishing and hiking with his family every summer. After seven years living in Atlanta, GA, he greatly missed the beauty of Oregon and moved back to be close to family and the mountains. He loves trail running and has spent many days exploring the world-renowned floral diversity of the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains, the alpine meadows of the Applegate watershed, and the serpentine slopes of the Red Buttes. He became involved in pollinator conservation when he read a Mail Tribune article in 2021 about the immense decline of the monarch butterfly. After creating his own native plant garden and seeing the variety of native pollinators it attracted, he searched for a like-minded organization and found PPRV. He is excited to learn from and work with everyone at PPRV to restore local habitat and pollinators by creating and maintaining native plant gardens within the community.

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Dan Potter

INTERNS

Tallulah Fattorusso - Winter 2023  / Spring 2024

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Tallulah is studying Environmental Science and Policy at Southern Oregon University. She grew up in northern California where her interest in the environment was sparked and she hopes to further her learning opportunities in Oregon through internships and volunteering. She is interested in this particular internship because it will help her learn about the local environment and how to get people in the community involved in environmental projects. Tallulah is enjoying keeping the Rogue Buzzway map up to date, and connecting the many people with pollinator gardens.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Pete Gonzalves

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Pete began volunteering with nonprofit environmental organizations during his high-school days. A 10-speed bicycle greatly expanded his access to natural areas and the sense of freedom and wonder they provided.

His early riparian explorations grew to include the shores of San Francisco Bay and the drier side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Add in a motorcycle plus construction and nursery management opportunities, and Pete was off to live among oak savannas, coastal redwood groves, and the High Sierra.  Along the way, he studied horticulture, agriculture, forestry and zoology, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the Department of Entomology at Oregon State University.

Occasionally flying himself to far-flung farmsteads, Pete provided insect monitoring and management advice for Rogue Valley and northern California farmers for 10 years while performing organic farm inspections throughout southern Oregon, the western United States and much of Latin America.

Pete went on to serve five years as executive director at Oregon Tilth, Inc., a nonprofit promoting environmentally sound and socially equitable agriculture. He has accumulated nearly ten years of experience serving on local and national nonprofit boards.

Recently retired, Pete continues to explore. He's focusing now on the wildlife habitats of a small acreage he shares with his son, daughter-in-law and newly born grandson.

Pete brings many skills and expertise to PPRV, as recognized in a Volunteer Spotlight a few months ago after authoring the Native Plant Pollinator Garden Guide for the garden in front of the office in Phoenix. He looks forward to engaging with the PPRV Advisory Committee to help provide considered and progressive counsel for the organization, and also serve on the Education Committee. 

Kristi Mergenthaler

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Kristi is a botanist and naturalist based in Talent. As Stewardship Director at Southern Oregon Land Conservancy, she helps conserve and care for pollinator habitat and natural areas throughout Southern Oregon. Kristi is also the volunteer outreach coordinator with the Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon, which means she often takes long hikes through beautiful meadow and montane plant communities, and shares lots of photos on social media with other native plant lovers. She has a special affinity for native bees, especiallythe bumble bees, and learned a lot from the esteemed Dr. Robbin Thorp. She loves volunteering with The Xerces Society's Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas.

Robert Coffan

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Robert has lived in the Rogue Valley for 25 years, passionately enjoying his research into the biodiversity of this basin - from the springs gushing from the headwaters of the Rogue on the flanks of Mt. Mazama, to the hills and rivers where our Western Monarchs stop and rear their young during their fantastic migration.

Robert is fascinated by the beauty and life processes of the Monarch butterfly and other pollinators, and has joined forces with others to help restore their habitat and bring the population back.  He shares his knowledge and enthusiasm with students, colleagues, children, clients, landowners, decision makers, and volunteers, and continues to learn from each of them.  Robert never loses sight of the importance of preserving and caring for this beautiful and diverse part of the world we call home on planet Earth.  Humans are a part of it all.  Together we can add value to our natural resources, and facilitate community growth and change. Robert's knowledge and perspective comes from his experiences as:

  • Chair and Co-Founder, Western Monarch Advocates

  • Co-Founder, Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates

  • Owner, Katalyst, Inc. 

  • BS in Hydrology/Hydrogeology

  • Former Adjunct Professor, Southern Oregon University. 

  • Former Chair, Rogue Basin Partnership

  • Proud Grandpa

  • Community Volunteer: Coyote Trails Nature Center, Northwest Seasonal Workers Association

Suzie Savoie

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Since 2000, Suzie has been learning about and incorporating native plants into her gardens and habitat restoration projects on her property in the Applegate Valley, and she continues to delight in the numbers of pollinators and pollinator species she sees. As co-owner of both Siskiyou Ecological Services and Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds, and volunteer Conservation Chair for the Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon, she enjoys helping others with their projects. Suzie provides native seed collection services, online native seed packet sales, native nursery plants, and native projects. Suzie provides native seed collection services, online native seed packet sales, native nursery plants, and native plant consultation and planting plans. She is an avid hiker, backpacker, gardener, native plant enthusiast, and off-grid homesteader. Suzie is co-author of the Native Pollinator Plants for Southern Oregon (available at the PPRV office) and an editor of The Siskiyou Crest: Hikes, History & Ecology.

Jen Radueg

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Jen Radueg is stewarding 10 acres near Ashland, OR, after 20 years in Colorado and then Northern California. On a quest to bring more native plants and pollinators back to her land, she discovered PPRV's resources and educational materials, and began to volunteer in April of 2022. With her background in marketing, public relations, and sales, her skillset was just perfect and perfectly timed to support the release of The Rogue Valley Pollinator Anthology project.

Jen has always loved the outdoors: hiking, x-country skiing, downhill skiing, getting lost in the woods and gardening. She spends most of her time working, taking care of her 2 dogs and fixing things up around her property.

Pollinator Project Rogue Valley does not discriminate or tolerate harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, veteran status, national origin or any other status or basis prohibited by state or federal law.

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