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. 

Cecile Shohet

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Cecile, born and raised in New York City,  unexpectedly discovered a big joy for botany while taking her very last four-credit course at Queens College.  Shortly afterwards, living in the Negev desert in Israel while researching predator-prey relationships with a desert ecologist, she realized that nature and wildlands had became part of her. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Botany from Arizona State University, Cecile moved to SW Oregon in 2000 to be the district botanist for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Cave Junction, honored to be a botanist in an area renowned for its plant rarities due to the unusual serpentine geology. 


In 2005, Cecile formed Calypso Botanical Consulting, subsequently working on many projects throughout the West to document rare plant species.  But her scientific interests are not limited to plants - she has worked on projects for the desert tortoise and blunt nosed leopard lizard; coordinates Rogue Valley Audubon’s annual citizen science project, the Medford winter resident raptor run; and is currently taking a year-long course about the rare California red-legged frog.

Cecile is excited to help create an educational program with PPRV, having dabbled in teaching throughout her adult life. In her twenties, she worked as an interpretive Park Ranger in Central Park, taught earth science, was a houseparent, and for a year was principal at the back-to-the lander Petrolia High School, where the school year began with a ten-day backpack and ended with a six-week cross-cultural trip to Mexico.  

Cecile is enthusiastic about what can be created at PPRV, and the opportunity to help people imagine and collectively create more native habitat for pollinators, birds, reptiles, and mammals — and enjoy the results.

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. She and her husband turned their barren property in Ashland into a pollinator garden, with many native plants, trees - and dandelions - but of course it's never finished.

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 to people who shares the dream that everyone's yard or landscape will include a little or a lot of pollinator habitat, even if it's just a pot of nepeta (catmint) on the porch.  As her knowledge of native plants (and Latin!) 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, is a certified Jackson County Master Gardener, and is a member of  the Native Plant Society of Oregon.
Kristina is honored to serve as president 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 that

pollinators play in our ecosystems. Pat is delighted to serve as Treasurer for Pollinator Project Rogue Valley.

TRAINEES

Christine Freidel 

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Christine began working with PPRV in the summer of 2021 through the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) managed by Easterseals. This community service and work-based job training program provides employment support for seniors re/entering the workforce, or wanting to learn new job skills. Christine certainly is - from office duties, helping with events, and caring for our gardens, plants and seeds, Christine is providing

valuable support at the same time. We are thrilled to have Christine with us, and really appreciate her presence and ideas to help keep The Pollination Place running smoothly!

My name is Christine Freidel. 

I was placed at Pollinator Project Rogue Valley in July 2021 by Easterseals SCSEP, a program geared to assist seniors in finding a permanent career. It is a great program. When they have grant money, they’ve bought me a Chromebook, and a Winter Coat, Shoes to look for work in. Even paid for car repairs.

PPRV has taught me so much. My tasks can be anywhere from Creating a spreadsheet to Watering plants.

I have come to respect the nature of the seeding process. Meaning, I have harvested, cleaned and sowed seeds. When we look at each individual seed it is amazing! Some seeds are so small you need a magnifying glass to see them, others are quite large. Then these little seeds grow into these amazing plants. 

We sowed our first seeds October 31st, 2021. We had our first sprouts November 11th 2021. By this summer, they will be in the plant sale.

So, why are these plants so important? We need to grow these plants for the pollinators!! Which is more important than most people know. Without pollinators, you’re not going to have a Vegetable garden or a fruit tree. Can you imagine a world without fruits and vegetables. What a scary thought!!

I’m so excited about this project. I’m trying to put it into words. It has completely changed my way of looking at the world. To learn about how powerful one little seed is…

When I saw the first sprout come up from our planting party, it was, look at what we’ve done!! We took a seed from a dried up plant and put it in soil, added some water and voila’ you have a little sprout. It’s very similar to conception and childbirth.

It makes me feel so positive towards life. How did I get so lucky to live and learn about the Pollinator Project.

Christine, January 28, 2022

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Dolly Warden 

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Dolly is a co-founder of Pollinator Project Rogue Valley. We are honored to have Dolly serve on our Advisory Board, following her position on our Board of Directors, where she served as Treasurer. Dolly's vision and commitment to human and environmental health has led her down many paths over her long life.

Dolly enjoyed helping her father with the beehives when she was a young girl, where she learned the valuable lesson that one can work for the good of all. She is a member of the Oregon State

Beekeepers Association, and honored to be one of the first graduates of the College of the Melissae in Ashland. She is a member of the Talent Garden Club, and board member for the Cascade Girl Organization.

Dolly initiated the Bee City USA "movement" in the Rogue Valley by realizing her dream to have her hometown, the City of Talent, designated the second Bee City USA in the universe!  Dolly served as Chair of Bee City USA Talent until her retirement, and continues to serve as an inspiration and mentor for the Bee City USA's that followed, now over 125 to date. She also supported the formation of Bee City Canada!  
Dolly received her Masters Degree in Library Science at Kent State, later earning her Master of Divinity Degree, paralegal certification, and a Certification in Permaculture. She has also worked in human services, founding the Initiative for Trafficking Survivors in Dallas, and has founded and worked in programs for immigrants and survivors of torture. Dolly speaks Spanish.  

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.

Patrice Hanlon

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Patrice is a horticultural consultant and educator who has been immersed in plants and the healing benefits of nature since she was a child. Her love of nature began while gardening with her parents and exploring the creeks and  forests in Pennsylvania. Throughout her horticulture career she has written articles on nature, gardening and herbs; created garden curriculum; designed interpretive walks

focused on ethnobotany, pollinators, native plants and herbs that were enjoyed by all ages. These experiences inspired Patrice to successfully manage a variety of public and private gardens for more than 20 years, including The Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek, and the Pollinator Garden for the City of Walnut Creek.

Patrice moved to Southern Oregon in 2019, where she is planting seeds for her next adventures that will incorporate her love of designing therapeutic gardens, and creating classes with a focus on plant-based activities, walks in nature, meditation and art that help to foster a sense of community, gratitude and communion with the earth. 

Pete Gonzalves
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Pete began volunteering with nonprofit environmental organ-izations 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 grandson-to-be.

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.

Dr. Ramon (Ray) Seidler

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Ray grew up in the southern California desert area East of Los Angeles. Because his closest friend lived more than five miles away, he spent much of his time hiking and riding a scooter into the adjoining mountains, where there were many miles of dirt roads and trails to explore. Upon entering college, he discovered his love for biology, graduating from California State University at Northridge with a B.S. in Biology. Dr. Seidler received his Ph.D. in Bacteriology from the University of California at Davis.

He conducted molecular biology research at the Texas Medical Center in Houston for two years, supported by a National Institutes of Health Fellowship before joining the Microbiology faculty at Oregon State University. In 1985 he joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a senior research scientist, where he studied the risks associated with the environmental release of genetically engineered organisms and properties of the weed killer 2,4-D.

Ray volunteered extensively in his home town of Corvallis in various capacities including as a 4-H leader for some 20 years. In 2012 he married his talented and artistic wife Julia, who is a retired toxicologist and professor from Honduras.

Dr. Seidler has been twice awarded the National US EPA Bronze medal for service and meritorious research; served on the US EPA scientist promotion board for all EPA scientists; been elected to Phi Kappa Phi honorary; been listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering; and co-founded and edited Molecular Ecology, a science journal dedicated to cutting edge research in this field. He is a former president of the agricultural honorary society Oregon State University chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, and co-chaired the US EPA field team to monitor the first-ever environmental release of GMO microorganisms.

Dr. Seidler is a member of, or a leadership committee participant for, a number of nonprofit organizations and advisory groups, providing guidance and expertise on a range of environmental issues, including soil health, climate change, and the risks to people and pollinators from exposures to toxic pesticides. Dr. Seidler is available to make public presentations on these topics.

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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For nineteen years, 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 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.

INTERNS

Allison Barnes - Summer 2021

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Allison is a graduate student in the Environmental Education and Arts and Teaching programs at Southern Oregon University, and is excited to be helping to develop new educational materials and curriculums for future PPRV programs.  Allison is looking forward to learning more about the local pollinators that can be found in the Rogue Valley, and to find creative and fun ways to share that knowledge with the community.  Welcome, Allison!

Sydney Godwin - Summer 2022

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Sydney is a senior at St. Mary’s High School in Medford. Inspired and mentored by her dad, a wildlife biologist at the Bureau of Land Management, she began volunteering for various pollinator projects in middle school. Every year she enjoys helping with bat surveys and participating in the annual Bumble Bee Bio Blitz at Mt. Ashland and other locales. As an intern with Pollinator Project Rogue Valley, she is excited to be focusing on mason bees and sharing her knowledge with students and other members of the community!  Welcome, Sydney!

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.