Meet Our Team

District Staff

Ryan MelloRyan Mello, Executive Director

Ryan 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. 

Harvest Pierce County

Kristen McIvorKristen 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.

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.

Chris Chris Madden, Program Coordinator
Chris joined us as an AmeriCorps service member in 2018 and now as a Program Specialist will be heading up the Gleaning Project, our Annual Native Plant Sale, 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!

KaliciaKalicia Bean, Program Coordinator
Kay joined PCD and the Harvest Pierce County team back in 2018 as an intern. In addition to community gardens, and event coordination, her work assignment will focus on capacity building, community engagement, and strategic planning in making the urban agriculture program more accessible and helpful to low-income and low-English proficiency populations. Kalicia is a recent Oregon State University graduate with a B.S. in Agricultural Science. Kalicia is passionate about bridging the connection between people, food, and their environment and hopes to work toward a food system that is healthy, just, and sustainable for all of Pierce County. At home Kay loves being active, including running, yoga and practicing random hobbies such as archery, playing the harmonica, and DIY crafts!


Saiyare Refaei, Program Coordinator

Saiyare joined the Harvest Pierce County team in September of 2019 for capacity building and further community engagement and outreach. A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Environmental Studies and intersections with Anthropology, Hispanic studies and Studio Arts. Saiyare is passionate about working towards more resilient and regenerative food systems with and for the community most impacted by systemic injustices.

Katherine GiesekeKatherine Gieseke, AmeriCorps Service Member
Katherine Gieseke joins us as the Harvest Pierce County AmeriCorps service member working with the Gleaning and Native Plant Sale programs. A graduate of the University of Puget Sound, Katherine studied the intersections of Environmental Policy and Decision Making, and Gender and Queer Studies. Outside of working with trees, Katherine enjoys backpacking, kayaking, gardening, and working on a variety of DIY projects.

Water Quality Improvement

Melissa BuckinghamMelissa 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 RaglandIsabel 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 MottCaleb 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.
Allie CampbellAllie Campbell, AmeriCorps Service Member
Allie joins us as an Americorps service member who serves as our Water Quality Outreach Specialist, after originally starting out as an intern for Pierce Conservation District. Her focus for her term at PCD is assisting with rain barrel workshops, managing our Urban Tree Sale, and updating our Rain Garden outreach material. Allie graduated from the University of Washington, Tacoma in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Urban Development. While not at work, she enjoys hiking, running with her dogs, paddle boarding and traveling.

James MooreJames Moore, AmeriCorps Service Member
James is a returning Americorps service member who now serves as our Stream Team Specialist. Currently helping coordinate aspects of the Stream Team program and various workshops, he has been working with the Water Quality program since February 2019 with various behind the scenes projects. James graduated from the University of Washington, Tacoma in 2014 with a Bachelor of Environmental Science degree and is passionate about promoting environmental understanding throughout Pierce County and beyond.

Habitat Improvement & Environmental Education

Jayme GordonJayme 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.

Mary Krauszer_Bio Photo 2_Fall 2019Mary Krauszer, Shorelines Program Manager

Mary joined Pierce Conservation District as the Shorelines Program Manager in 2019 to work with landowners on managing Puget Sound shorelines in a way that benefits both homeowners and habitats. Mary grew up in Alaska and spent several years doing environmental education and public engagement in the Tacoma area after attending the University of Puget Sound. She is an inter-tidal biology buff.

Kate Kate Terpstra, Invasive Plant Program Manager
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.

RyanBird_Rainier PhotoRyan Bird, Habitat Improvement Cooridinator
Ryan assists in the planning, coordination and implementation of riparian restoration projects that are aimed at improving salmon and wildlife habitat. Ryan grew up in the PNW and has always had a strong affinity for nature, which primed him for a career in natural resources. He holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology and conservation sciences, and a master’s degree in ecology and environmental biology. In addition to his passion for the outdoors, Ryan is an avid reader and a multi-instrumentalist who is unlikely to ever turn down a jam sesh.

Kela Hall-WieckertKela Hall-Wiekert, AmeriCorps Service Member

Kela is a southern transplant originally from Nashville, TN and recently graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. She’s passionate about agroecology, land accessibility, and collaborative ecological restoration. Kela will facilitate volunteer planting parties at various restoration sites; maintain ongoing restoration projects; and help monitor revegetation. “I greatly look forward to the year ahead at Pierce Conservation District!”

Rebecca CrossRebecca (the Best) Crust, AmeriCorps Service Member

Rebecca is the AmeriCorps member serving in the Environmental Education program. Their hometown is Des Moines, WA, and they recently graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a degree in Biology. In their free time, Rebecca likes to bake, garden, and play computer games with friends. Rebecca loves community engagement and is super excited to work with the K-12 students in Pierce County.

Farm Planning & Agricultural Assistance

Rene SkaggsRené 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.

Alison NicholsAlison Nichols, Crop Farm Specialist
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. She 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 PicRobin Buckingham, Farm Resource Specialist
Robin 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.

Finance & Administration

Selena of the FieldsSelena 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. 

CynthiaCynthia 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 SwannerKristine Swanner, Grant & Contract Coordinator
Kristine joined Pierce Conservation District in April 2017. Kristine coordinates grant and contract administration for the District. Kristine enjoys spending time with her family, paper crafts, and reading. 

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.

Mehgan Nishiyama

Mehgan Nishiyama, Administrative Assistant

Mehgan joined Pierce Conservation District as an Administrative Assistant in August of 2019, after serving nine years in the Air Force Reserves. She will be responsible for providing general administrative support to our staff. She was born and raised in WA and enjoys volunteering at The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County.

Support Staff

Allan WarrenAllan Warren, Communications & Development Director
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.

Camila Matamala-OstCamila 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. 

Nick CusickNicholas Cusick, Climate Resiliency Program Manager
A true measure of a community’s resilience is its collaborative spirit and the “togetherness" of its local people. Nick believes this to be especially true for our agricultural and rural economies, which, with sustainable and healthy practices, are critical pieces in developing a robust, local solution to climate change. Nick brings several years of experience in project management, GIS analysis, and stakeholder engagement to the District, as well as a deep-rooted belief in forging meaningful, reciprocal relationships with Pierce County’s local communities.