Meet Our Team

District Staff

Ryan Mello Ryan Mello, Executive Director
 Ryan Mello has served as the Executive Director of the Pierce Conservation  District since 2012. Ryan’s real job is “Chief Relationship Officer” for the  Conservation District - ensuring we have the best staff to perform this  important work and they have the resources necessary to be successful, our  many stakeholders understand our role in the system and our partners are  supported in a meaningful way with our assistance. When Ryan isn’t  engaged in conservation work at the District, he is serving as a member of the Tacoma City Council or gardening, walking his dogs, hiking, biking or kayaking Puget Sound.

Urban Agriculture (Harvest Pierce County)

Kristen McIvor  Kristen McIvor, Urban Agriculture and Local Access Program Director
 Kristen is the director of Harvest Pierce County, the urban agriculture  program of the Pierce Conservation District – supporting over 70 active  community gardens and orchards.  She has been working to develop  sustainable food systems in Tacoma, WA since 2006 and received her PhD  in Forest Resources from the University of Washington in 2011. In addition  to her work with community gardens, her career has focused improving  urban soil for agriculture through recycling of organic residuals, and the social conditions that influence how people learn in community gardens.

Micaela Cooley Micaela Cooley, Urban Agriculture Program Manager
 Micaela Cooley has worked as a Program Coordinator for Harvest Pierce  County program since 2012. The focus of her work has been supporting  Pierce County residents to reconnect with their food system and each other  through community gardening. A graduate of University of Puget Sound, she  also sits on the board of directors of the Tacoma Farmers Market and the  Tacoma Urban Land Trust. In her spare time, she loves playing her cello and  singing songs as well as frolicking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Renee Meschi Renee Meschi, Program Coordinator
 Renee Meschi joined the PCD as a Harvest Pierce County Program  Specialist in August 2015. A graduate of the University of Puget Sound, her  research centered on the human stories behind the different plants and  mushrooms that make up the landscape in our watershed. Renee is  passionate about finding the intersection between ecological and social  justice, and sees capturing waste while providing fresh, healthy food for our  local community as a living example of this intersection.

Madeleine Madeleine Spencer, Program Coordinator
 Madeleine joined the Harvest Pierce County team in March 2017 as a  Program Specialist where she primarily supports the Veggie Co-op and  Gleaning projects. A graduate of The Evergreen State College, her studies  focused on the connections between social justice and the environment.  Having grown up in Pierce County she is passionate about serving the  community by expanding access to fresh and healthy food. 

Madeleine Aaron Gibson, AmeriCorps Service Member
 Aaron joins us as an AmeriCorps service member and will be helping with   Veggie Co-op, the Gleaning Project, and much more to help achieve our   goals around urban agriculture and equitable food access. A   recent graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science   and Policy from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. While at   Southern Oregon University, his emphasis was on sustainable agriculture and community development.
Kalicia Kalicia Bean, Community Garden Outreach Intern
Meet Kalicia, Harvest Pierce County’s new Community Garden Outreach Intern! Kalicia is a recent Oregon State University graduate with a B.S. in Agricultural Science. Through the BIA Pathways program Kalicia has worked with various environmental service and advocacy organizations in the Pacific Northwest including the Nisqually River Education Project and the NW Indian Fisheries Commission. She is a Puyallup Tribal member, born and raised in Tacoma, WA. For fun Kalicia enjoys running and hiking with her dogs, volunteering with horses, and experimenting with DIY household and beauty product recipes.

Chris Chris Madden, AmeriCorps Service Member
Chris joins us as an AmeriCorps service member and will be heading up the Gleaning Project, as well as helping us reach our goals around urban agriculture and equitable food access. Growing up in the beautiful PNW Chris enjoys the outdoors and loves exploring this amazingly biodiverse area of the world. He has a passion for fruit trees, and was recently the orchard manager of an organic orchard that produced: apples, pears, cherries, mulberries, Asian pears, kiwi, chestnuts, walnuts, blueberries, and much more. Chris is excited to help Pierce County residents enjoy a more beautiful and delicious place to live!

Water Quality Improvement

Melissa Buckingham Melissa Buckingham, Water Quality Program Director
 Melissa Buckingham joined Pierce Conservation District over 10 years ago  and has experience in restoration ecology, environmental science, and  project and program management. As the Water Quality Improvement and  Monitoring Program Director you can find her in a stream, installing a rain  garden, ripping up pavement, or planting a streamside. Her favorite part of  her job is connecting community to the natural world around them through  action projects. 

Isabel Ragland Isabel Ragland, Water Quality Monitoring Program Manager
 Isabel joined Pierce Conservation District in 1999 and coordinates the water  quality monitoring programs. Her work focuses on providing education and  opportunities for residents to get involved with protecting water quality in our  streams and lakes. Her favorite part of the job is helping folks connect with  the natural environment. When not in the stream, she enjoys hiking and  spending time outdoors.

Belinda Belinda Paterno, Water Quality Coordinator
 Belinda grew up in Western Washington and spent weeks during the  summer months traveling to different national parks with her parents.  Experiencing firsthand the beauty of nature and wanting to learn more about  the environment led Belinda to study environmental science at the University  of Montana and Washington State University. Belinda has a background in  both field research and environmental education. In her spare time, she  enjoys hiking, camping, and running in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Caleb Mott Caleb Mott, Water Quality Technician
 Caleb has worked as a Water Quality Assistant at the District since 2015.  He graduated from the University of Washington Tacoma with a Bachelor of  Arts Degree in Environmental Studies. Caleb helps coordinate the Volunteer  Water Quality Monitoring Program and various water quality improvement  projects as well. Raised in Washington State, Caleb is very passionate  about the health of its natural resources and looks forward everyday to improving the environment around him.
Hannah Hannah Ljunggren, AmeriCorps Service Member
 Hannah is helping the Water Quality Team with the Urban Tree Sale,   supporting the Stream Team water quality monitors, will be teaching ten   workshops about the value of Rain Gardens as well as performing site visits   for those who are interested in having a rain garden of their own. Hannah   enjoys traveling to new and interesting places, learning about the different   cultures and habitats.


Habitat Improvement & Environmental Education

Jayme Gordon Jayme Gordon, Habitat Improvement and Environmental Education  Program Director
 With PCD since 1998, Jayme was the District’s Stream Team Coordinator  for 10 years before taking on the Habitat Improvement and Environmental  Education programs.  A graduate of Western Washington University (Huxley  College of the Environment), Jayme enjoys working with Pierce County  citizens to engage them in dynamic ways to teach and instill a sense of  stewardship for the plants and animals that share our green spaces and natural landscapes.  When not leading a streamside planting event, workshop, or field trip, Jayme and her family try to get out on the water or into the woods as much as possible

Chris Towe Chris Towe, Environmental Education Program Manager
 Chris Towe joined the District in 2010 after graduating from Linfield College  in McMinnville, Oregon. Chris primarily works with volunteers on restoration  plantings and providing environmental education to students throughout  Pierce County. He actively participates in local networks that focus on  environmental education and outreach. One of his favorite parts about his  job is seeing how excited kids get when they explore their environment and see new, interesting things.

Kate Kate Terpstra, Habitat Improvement Coordinator
 Kate joined the Pierce Conservation District in 2016. She is a graduate of  the University of Washington, and has worked with various AmeriCorps, non-  profit, and government programs and organizations to conduct  environmental work throughout the state. As the Habitat Improvement  Coordinator, Kate primarily coordinates the Habitat Restoration and  Knotweed Control programs. One of her favorite parts of her job is engaging  with a variety of landowners and organizations to effect change over an entire watershed, and seeing improved natural resources and habitats as a result of that work.

Kramer Kramer Canup, Habitat Improvement Technician
 Kramer assists in the planning, coordination and implementation of riparian   restoration projects that are aimed at improving salmon and wildlife habitat.   Kramer grew up in the Puget Sound lowlands exploring Seattle’s urban   forests and waterways. He graduated from the University of Washington   Bothell in 2016 with a degree in Conservation Management and a minor in   Ecological Restoration. In his free time, you can find Kramer climbing and   backpacking around the Pacific Northwest and sharing his passion and knowledge of the natural world with others.

Sam Hain Sam Hain, AmeriCorps Service Member
 Along with leading field trips and teaching local students, Sam is in charge   of organizing teams and running workshops for Pierce County Envirothon.   He also helps with the Habitat and Farm programs, by working at volunteer   events and assisting on projects like climate change mitigation efforts and   alternative shoreline protection. Sam is a recent graduate of the University   of Puget Sound, where he received a B.S. with a major in Biology and a   minor in History. In his free time, Sam enjoys cooking new recipes, hiking, painting, playing board games with his friends, and listening to history podcasts. His favorite animal is the walrus.


Farm Planning & Agricultural Assistance

Rene Skaggs René Skaggs, Farm Planning and Agricultural Assistance Program  Director  Rene’ has been a farm resource specialist with the Pierce   Conservation  District since 1997 educating livestock farm owners on   management  practices that both improve their farm productivity and protect   natural  resources. She and her family live on a 10 acre, 7 horse farm in   rural Pierce  County where she practices what she teaches.
Paul BornePaul Borne, Key Peninsula, Gig Harbor, and Islands Watershed Farm Resource Specialist Paul, a long-time resident of Pierce County, joined Pierce Conservation District in March 2018 after working for many years at the King Conservation District. As the KGI Farm Resource Specialist, Paul will work with livestock owners in the Key Peninsula-Gig Harbor-Islands Watershed to help them address natural resource concerns on their farms and improve local water quality. He believes that we all have a part in protecting our environment and is excited to now be working in his neighborhood – Pierce County. When he is not promoting conservation at work, Paul enjoys enhancing the wildlife habitat in his backyard and observing nature around him.

Chrissy Cooley, Climate Resiliency Program Manager Chrissy Cooley
Chrissy is the Climate Resiliency Program Manager, leading up our goals to   prepare for a changing climate.  From renewable energy on farms and small businesses, to 
adaptive planting and forestry practices, Chrissy is able to   assist Pierce County residents in the ways that they see climate impacting  them.

Alison Nichols Alison Nichols, Crop Farm Specialist
 Alison is a local hazelnut farmer with a history of traveling the world. Ali is   available to assist crop farm operators in planning and applying natural   resource conservation practices and facilitate workshops and technical   support around topics relevant to farmers in Pierce County. She will also be   working collaboratively with government agencies and non-profit partners to   support the needs of farmers contributing to a vibrant local food system. At   her farm, “Filbert Acres”, she works hard to put her two boys to work managing 700 hazelnut trees. She finds it very rewarding to provide her community members with healthy food and is excited to connect farmers with each other and with the ideas and practices that will help them succeed in their farms while conserving their natural resources for the generations to come.

Robin Buckingham, Farm Resource Specialist
Robin BuckinghamRobin joined Pierce Conservation District as a Farm Resource Specialist in March of 2018 after working for several years at Thurston Conservation District. His work is focused on helping livestock owners in the Puyallup-White Watershed. He is available to provide technical assistance to land managers including developing farm conservation plans, facilitating cost-share funding, or no-obligation site visits. Robin’s favorite part of his job is helping District residents meet their goals while maintaining natural resources.

Nicholas Nicholas Cusick, AmeriCorps Service Member
Nicholas Cusick joins the District as an AmeriCorps service member with the Climate Resiliency and Knotweed Control Programs. Nick will be assisting rural business owners and agricultural producers apply for renewable energy grants, developing resonant messaging on rural climate resiliency, and upgrading our knotweed monitoring and GIS protocols.

Bill Bill Winkelman, Encore Program Member
Bill Winkelman joins the District as an Energy Conservation Fellow to help with the Climate Resiliency and Resource Conservation Management programs. Bill comes to PCD through the Encore Program coordinated by 501 Commons.

Finance & Administration

Selena of the Fields Selena Corwin, Senior Finance and Administrative Director
 Selena is the Director of Finance and Administration for the District and  coordinates grant administration as well. She enjoys supporting local farms  by purchasing local produce and shopping at Farmer’s Markets. She has  worked for the District since 1997.

Kathryn Mahan Kathryn Mahan, Budget and Fund Development Coordinator
 Kathryn manages the District budget and coordinates various fund raising  campaigns. She is very interested in salmon recovery, wildlife habitat  restoration, and tribal cultural history. She has worked for the District since  2001. 

Cynthia Cynthia Ross, Finance Coordinator
Cynthia joined Pierce Conservation District in  January, 2017 as the Finance  Coordinator.  Cynthia is responsible for assisting the  Finance &  Administration team with the day to  day financials of the District as well as  related  activities and future planning. Cynthia enjoys gardening, reading,  and volunteering in and around the community. Cynthia believes in  continuously doing her part to help reduce the dependency of natural resources by limiting her use of water, gas, and electricity and by recycling.  

Kristine Swanner Kristine Swanner, Finance Administrative Assistant
 Kristine joined Pierce Conservation District in April 2017 as the Finance  Administrative Assistant. Kristine will be providing general support to Pierce  Conservation District staff and will be responsible for answering the office’s  main phone line, directing calls, and other administrative tasks. Kristine  enjoys spending time with her family, paper crafts, and reading. 


Camila Matamala-Ost Camila Matamala-Ost, Volunteer Coordinator & Outreach Specialist
 Camila is excited to get more people involved with the District’s volunteer   opportunities and to help make our programs more accessible to the diverse  population of Pierce County. Camila cultivated her interest in the   environment by studying environmental science at Oregon State University   in Corvallis. Her favorite aspects of the job at PCD are interacting with   volunteers personally and getting them plugged into great opportunities, and  the creative process of capturing photos and designing outreach pieces that will get people excited about stewardship work.

Carly CanterCarly Canter, Administrative Assistant
Carly Canter joined Pierce Conservation District in July 2014. Carly is responsible for answering phones, directing calls, and providing additional administrative support for the team. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and enjoys a variety of outdoor and hands-on activities. In her spare time, she coaches Special Olympics Track and Field, and Golf.

Allan WarrenAllan Warren, Communications & Development Manager
Allan helps expand the impact of the District through communications and grant management. Allan helps each of the District's departments tell the story of how important their work is in  improving Pierce County's natural resources. He edits the Tahoma View newsletter, the Annual Report, and manages the website and social media. In addition, Allan manages the Green Partnership Fund and the District's grant writing and admin. Growing up in Alaska, Allan developed a deep love for the natural  environment and cherishes the opportunity to conserve it through his work at  the District.