Katie Ryan, Executive Director
Katie joined Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center in March of 2005. She brings fourteen years of experience organizing and leading field education programs throughout Oregon, Washington, California, the Yellowstone region, and Canada. Before coming to Opal Creek, she was directing programs at OMSI’s Cascade Science School in Bend, OR. At home in the mountains, she has dedicated her career to sharing these special places with students of all ages, believing 100% that people need to experience wild places in order to care about them. Having spent three years living full time at Jawbone Flats, Opal Creek has become one of her absolute favorite places to share. Katie worked as our Program Director building our ever growing programs from 2005-2009 and took over as Executive Director in October of 2009. She now lives in Bend, OR with her husband Joe and dog Murphy. When not working on behalf of Opal Creek’s amazing programs, Katie spends her time skiing, hiking, rafting, and just trying to be outside as much as possible.
Hometown: Cazenovia, NY
What are you thankful for this year?: my husband Joe, my family, friends and my dog, Murphy
Now playing on your iPod: Phish – pretty much always
Favorite smell: Oregon’s high desert in the rain
Guilty pleasure: People magazine
Currently reading: Under Wildwoood by Colin Meloy
Favorite food: New York bagels and cream cheese
Favorite outdoor spot: Mud Lake, Quebec
Favorite outdoor activity: hiking, walking, skiing, rafting…can’t pick just one
Favorite quote: “The mountains are calling and I must go.” –John Muir
Serena Becker, Program Director
Serena discovered the mystery and beauty of Opal Creek when she joined the team in 2010. She brings with her years of experience as an environmental educator and project manager as well as extensive backcountry backpacking experience, including thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trial in 2008. Serena has worked for the Audubon Society of Portland, Santiam Crossing, and Friends of Zenger Farm among other non-profit organizations. She enjoys spending time outside and sharing the wonders of Opal Creek with all those who find their way to the ancient forest. Serena holds a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College and is a certified Wilderness First Responder.
Hometown: Eugene, OR
What are you thankful for this year?: new perspectives
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: Chris Pureka
What’s your favorite smell?: the forest, after the rain
What’s your guilty pleasure?: Ru Paul’s Drag Race
What are you reading right now?: Towards Collective Liberation by Chris Crass
What’s your favorite food?: homegrown and raised meat and veggies
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: anywhere without roads, lights, and other signs of people
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: running
What’s your favorite quote?: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Rumi
Gabbi Haber, Registrar
Gabbi Haber traded in the oaks and maples of Massachusetts for the redwoods and hemlocks of Oregon over ten years ago. After graduating from Lewis and Clark College with BA’s in Art History and Anthropology, she dived into the local food and farmers market scenes, and spent her free time traveling Oregon and the world. In 2011 she left her 9-5 office job to commit her life to nonprofit and farmers market work–and though this means less world traveling, she couldn’t be happier.
Hometown?: Westford, MA
What are you thankful for this year?: Being surrounded by energetic, dynamic, supportive people at work and at home
What person would you most like to meet?: Pastry chef and food writer David Lebovitz
Playing on your iPod right now?: Songs: Ohia
Favorite smell?: Daphnes blossoming
Guilty pleasure?: Chili rellenos burritos
Currently reading?: Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater and Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement
Favorite food?: Fresh cherries
Favorite outdoor spot?: Anywhere on the Oregon coast overlooking the ocean
Favorite outdoor activity?: Selling vegetables at the farmers market
Favorite quote?: “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” – Che Guevara
Sam Humphreys, Facilities Director
Sam first joined Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center in 2010 as a winter caretaker. He stayed on for the 2011 season in a hybrid facilities assistant/instructor position and wintered over again as a caretaker in 2011. He now returns to us as our facilities director and is excited to be in Jawbone in his new role. No stranger to wilderness, Sam through hiked the PCT in 2010 and also has extensive experience guiding white water rafting and kayaking trips. When he’s not busy around town you might find Sam running the Whetstone loop, picking at a mando, or scheming his next great adventure.
Hometown: Eugene, OR
What are you thankful for this year?: Kristina writing my staff bio for me
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: Punch Brothers’ version of Josh Ritter’s Another New World
What’s your favorite smell?: wood shavings
What’s your guilty pleasure?: The Red Barn Tavern burgers in Lyons
What are you reading right now?: The Soul of a Tree by George Nakashima
What’s your favorite food?: coffee
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: Mather Pass in the High Sierras
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: white water kayaking
What’s your favorite quote?: “Too many men work on parts of things. Doing a job to completion satisfies me.” –Dick Proenneke
Kristina Oldani, Development Associate
Kristina’s love of the outdoors was inherited from her dad, Michael, who began taking her on backpacking trips through southern Illinois and the Upper Peninsula, Michigan when she was in middle school, teaching her respect for the environment and natural processes and instilling in her a “leave it better than you found it” mentality. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2008 with a BA in Art History and a minor in Ceramics. Swearing she would never spend another winter in Chicago, Kristina moved to Portland in August of 2008 and immediately fell in love with Oregon. An avid writer, she loves her development work and the pen to paper nature of her job with Opal Creek. And she loves Opal Creek (so does her dad).
Hometown: Springfield, IL
What are you thankful for right now?: That SUMMER is on its way!
What is playing on your iPod right now: Punch Brothers new album Who’s Feeling Young Now, Ma, Meyer, Duncan and Thile’s Goat Rodeo Sessions and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors
Favorite smell: cedar bark
Guilty pleasure: napping
Currently reading: Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy
Favorite food: fruit salad
Favorite outdoor spot: Siyeh Pass in Glacier National Park
Favorite outdoor activity: walking, hiking or running. Anything that requires legs with no apparatus between my shoes and the ground.
Favorite quote: “The tendency nowadays to wander in wilderness is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home.” –John Muir
Rebekah Yglesias, Food Service Director
Rebekah began the 2008 season in the Jawbone Flats lodge kitchen as food service director. She is a northwest native who grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and graduated from the University of Washington. Rebekah has lived on sailboats, cruised the San Juan Islands to California, raised five children, worked in Child Psychology, managed a remote retreat center on the coast for a decade and traveled to wild places such as Patmos and the Osa Peninsula. Nowadays she is very content serving OCAFC guests – like a lucky kid who gets to go to the most awesome summer camp for most of the year.
Hometown: Portland (for this year, anyway)
What are you thankful for this year?: my family
Now playing on your iPod: One Eskimo Kandi
Favorite smell: lavender and lemongrass
Guilty pleasure: people watching at “The Bins” in Sellwood
Currently reading: Hidden Messages of Water by Masuru Emoto
Favorite food: sushi
Favorite outdoor spot: razor clam digging on Copalis Beach in Washington (north of Copalis River, also called Mocrocks)
Favorite quote: “A human being is part of a whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” –Albert Einstein
2013 Seasonal Staff
Kaitlin Baer, Assistant Cook
Kaitlin was born and raised in Oceanside, CA. About three years ago she moved to Portland where for the last year and a half she worked at New Season’s Market, spending the majority of her time there in the kitchen and bread bakery. In her free time, Kaitlin likes to camp, hike, take photos, and eat!
Hometown: Oceanside, CA
What are you thankful for this year?: Getting this awesome opportunity to improve my cooking in the most beautiful place in Oregon!
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: Built to Spill’s Keep It Like A Secret
What’s your favorite smell?: sugar pines
What’s your guilty pleasure?: ice cream – I don’t feel guilty though!
What are you reading right now?: Island by Aldous Huxley
What’s your favorite food?: sushi! All of it!
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: near Carson, WA – it’s a secret
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: sitting around a campfire with great people, having a great time
What’s your favorite quote?: “We are all a fraction of the sum.” -Grandpa
Keeley McAnnis-Entenman, Science Instructor
Hailing from Portland, Keeley’s passions are traversing the globe, musing in the mountains, and whale watching along the coast. In addition to enjoying all outdoor activities, Keeley revels in a strong cup o’ joe, reading by a fire, playing volleyball, and photo-documenting her spontaneous adventures with friends. Keeley first experienced the magic of Opal Creek 13 years ago on a class field trip when a 12 year old at the Environmental Middle School. The power of Jawbone Flats stayed with her and influenced her to continue pursuing the multi-faceted dream of becoming an environmental educator, ultimately inspiring her return to live under the canopy of Douglas firs and big leaf maples in Opal Creek. She is extremely excited to dissect animal scat, identify medicinal native plants, and further explore the majestic Willamette National Forest.
Hometown: Portland, OR
What are you thankful for this year?: my family and friends, happiness, sea otters, and Ted Talks
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn, Avett Brothers, and Gucci Mane
What’s your favorite smell?: fresh ground coffee, cinnamon, and campfire
What’s your guilty pleasure?: testing all the perfumes and colognes at department stores to compare smells and act fancy
What are you reading right now?: Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
What’s your favorite food?: homemade strawberry shortcake
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: Munra Point in the Columbia River Gorge
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: sea kayaking, sand volleyball, and hiking
What’s your favorite quote?: “The most wasted day is that in which we have not laughed.” -E. E. Cummings
Margaux Muller, Assistant Cook
Margaux traveled west all the way from the swamplands of the everglades in 2011. Her first glimpse of Oregon happened to be right here at Opal Creek. Upon completion of culinary school, after receiving a degree in International Baking & Pastry Arts, she immediately moved back to Oregon to further her passion and knowledge with healthier options in baking. Her love for cooking and baking has only grown more being on the best coast. She couldn’t be more ecstatic to be here this season, creating whole, hearty meals, and sharing love through the process!
Hometown: Coral Springs, FL
What are you thankful for this year?: my maw and paw, good friends, and a beautiful place to call for a season
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: The Books, Timber Timbre, Chelsea Wolfe
What’s your favorite smell?: the Pacific Northwest air
What’s your guilty pleasure?: sleeping in and owning Are You Afraid of the Dark? on dvd
What are you reading right now?: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
What’s your favorite food?: anything with avocado
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: this one
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: hiking and biking
What’s your favorite quote?: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” –Carl Sagan
Jessica Phelps, Jawbone Flats Coordinator
After finishing her M.S. in geomorphology at the University of Oregon in 2011, Jessica moved to Bend where she spent a couple years guiding and teaching for a local kayak shop. During her time in Bend, she learned to whitewater canoe and spent hours running on the local trails with her dog Hayduke. When the opportunity arose to work for Opal Creek she happily traded the high desert for a home in an amazing old growth forest. As Jawbone Flats coordinator, she is stoked to return to her passion for science and education.
Hometown: Eugene, OR
What are you thankful for this year?: My family and my handsome dog, Hayduke
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: Gillian Welch
What’s your favorite smell?: garlic
What’s your guilty pleasure?: pastries
What are you reading right now?:From the Forest to the Sea by James Sedell
What’s your favorite food?: burritos
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: the Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: whitewater canoeing
What’s your favorite quote?: “The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.” – Edward Abbey
Peter Scriven, Jawbone Outreach Coordinator
Peter has been continuously active in the Opal Creek watershed since 1991. He was initially involved with the environmental movement that, in 1996, led to permanent protection for Opal Creek. He also instructed the geology workshop and produced workshops with the Oregon Commission for the Blind. He’s taught and conducted countless hikes, documenting the natural and cultural history of the area. Visiting old growth forests worldwide is Peter’s passion, from Portland to Chile. This year, Peter’s son John (who interned for Opal creek in 1996) will be bringing his son to Opal Creek, making for the third generation of Scrivens to live and learn inthe old growth. His daughter Katy also loves visiting. Peter hopes you’ll come and share stories with him about your experiences in the old growth! You can find him in the Jawbone Company Store on Saturdays and Sundays this summer.
What are you thankful for right now?: warm fires, clear water, and the sound of rain on a tin roof
Favorite band: the best band ever – The Rolling Stones. Best song? Waiting on a friend.
Favorite author: Oregon’s Barry Lopez, who writes the way he feels about places he loves
Favorite food: dungeness crab, grilled steelhead, raspberries and cream
Favorite outdoor spot: the 5,000 year old Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest – my second favorite old growth forest (after Opal Creek)
Favorite activity: finding mushrooms, lost trails, and good books. Also, snowshoeing to Jawbone in winter. And dancing in the kitchen
Favorite quote: “Destiny does not make house calls.”
Wyatt Stein, Science Instructor
A native of Oregon, Wyatt was raised among tall Douglas firs in the Northern Coastal Mountains. With a burning desire to study local ecology within the most optimum system, (and a fever that is only cured with more cowbell) Wyatt made his first trip to Opal Creek as a student with PSU. With that first trip to Opal Creek came the inspiration to study old growth and become an environmental science instructor. After two years of working in outdoor education and endangered species research, Wyatt has returned to Opal Creek with the skills to pay the bills promoting wilderness experiences.
Hometown: Scappoose, OR
What are you thankful for this year?: my friends and family being happy and healthy
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: Cornell University: Bird Songs of the Pacific Northwest
What’s your favorite smell?: chanterelle gravy
What’s your guilty pleasure?: Disney cartoons from the 50s
What are you reading right now?: Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holliday
What’s your favorite food?: salmon fish & chips
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: Vedanta Retreat in Scappoose
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: “rippin’ barrels” (surfing)
What’s your favorite quote?: “We were put on this earth to fart around – don’t let anyone tell you any differently.” –Kurt Vonnegut
Carmen Tomas, Science Instructor
After 18 years on the mean streets of Baltimore, Carmen moved to Olympia, WA in search of green trees and a different way of life. She studied analytical chemistry, ecology, mycology, and lichenology at The Evergreen State College and graduated with a BS in 2012. During her senior year, Carmen visited OCAFC on a field trip and knew she had found her new home. Carmen spent the 2012 season cooking with love in the legendary Opal Creek kitchen, with specific intentions to return as a science instructor in 2013 (and here she is!). Now in her second season, Carmen is excited to get everyone as stoked on science and wilderness conservation as she is.
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
What are you thankful for this year?: I am thankful for a second season in Jawbone and my soon to arrive niece or nephew!
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: I bought Best of Celine Dion on cassette to annoy my roommates, but turns out I can’t stop listening to it! Joke’s on me!
What’s your favorite smell?: my cat
What’s your guilty pleasure?: The guiltiest pleasure I know is buying cookbooks for my Kindle when I’m hungry at 2 a.m.
What are you reading right now?: The Good Earth trilogy by Pearl S. Buck
What’s your favorite food?: as long as it’s doused in Sriacha and nutritional yeast, I don’t care!
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: wherever the next adventure takes me
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: mushroom hunting
What’s your favorite quote?: “Eat more kale!”
Zak Williams, Spring Science Intern
Growing up in the Northwest, Zak developed a passion for nature and especially wildlife. In high school he attended CASEE, and agricultural and environmental science school, which fostered his interest in the natural sciences. Recently, Zak completed his undergrad, which a major in zoology, at the University of Hawaii, where he studied carnivorous caterpillars. Having now returned to the Northwest , he hopes to observe and teach about pristine old growth forests.
Hometown: Battle Ground, WA
What are you thankful for this year?: Finishing my undergrad and returning to the Pacific Northwest
What’s playing on your iPod right now?: Modest Mouse
What’s your favorite smell?: sandalwood
What’s your guilty pleasure?: Pokemon video games
What are you reading right now?: The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species
What’s your favorite food?: mango
What’s your favorite outdoor spot?: Clear Creek on Mount Saint Helens
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?: bushwhacking along random mountain streams
What’s your favorite quote?: “Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.” –Gildor from Fellowship of the Ring