MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
I recall on social media that progressives were being referred to as “snowflakes.” I am not sure where the term originated. However, judging by who was using it and knowing that it was meant as an insult, I believe it means people who melt under pressure or heat. Well, it also has another meaning, and I can tell you for sure that those involved with Umpqua Watersheds (UW) are not the type to melt under pressure.
Each snowflake is unique, just as each member of UW is, and when our team bands together we form snowballs. Once these snowballs get going, they become an avalanche of action, activities, ideas, and energy. Our unpaid Executive Director, Kasey Hovik, always has something going on, such as organizing events, participating in partnerships, providing input, asking questions, supervising employees, and more. He does all of that while holding a full-time job outside of Umpqua Watersheds. Our quarter-time Outreach and Education Director, Ryan Kincaid, takes organization seriously and is the queen of color-coded Excel spreadsheets. Her energy is seemingly endless. We are fortunate that she can work for UW while residing on the east coast. Another east coast employee is quarter-time conservation and legal director Angela Jensen, who also holds a full-time job outside of UW. She formulates letters, studies the legal aspects of forest and conservation laws, and provides feedback to agencies and legislative sessions. We are lucky to have a full-time AmeriCorps member, Viviana Young, who jumped into the position when the previous member left unexpectedly. Viviana operates independently and confidently, keeping programs going, including the Living Downstream radio show, science classes at schools, and outreach activities. Little dynamo, Melanie MacKinnon, works for UW 30 hours a week. She keeps the office’s administrative functions sailing smoothly while providing thoughtful input into key aspects of the organization, such as managing grant coordination. Our new Archie Creek Restoration coordinator, Spencer Dieterich, attends school full time while coordinating restoration events and seeking volunteers, supplies, and equipment. And that is just our staff…a snowball of energy!
Then there are UW volunteers. Patrick Schneider has been our 99 7 KQUA radio program manager for five years now. He coordinates our station shows and music while ensuring we comply with federal, state, and local regulations. He keeps up on the latest music use licensing requirements and also coordinated the station’s vision as we sought a new Non-Commercial Education license that will allow us to reach further into our community. We are excited that we will be able to transition Patrick to a paid staff position. Eric Stauder works full-time at Phoenix School while finishing his Natural Resources degree at Oregon State University. He is on the UW Board of Directors (BOD), where he helps with grants, restoration activities, and education programs. He is a man of ideas and action. I don’t think Eric can sit still! Diana Larson Stone slips in and out of the office to handle the bookkeeping. We only know that she has been there when the pile of paperwork diminishes. Our treasurer Mark Eason is phenomenal. His finance knowledge and facility management skills are invaluable. He is self-employed and semi-retired and is always available to help with grants, building issues, financial statements, and more. He and Ken Carloni manage a large tract of forest called Yew Creek Alliance. Their focus is on restoring the property by conducting biochar events, thinning, and other valuable forest hardening activities. Ken, a retired UCC instructor and founding member of UW, is currently Vice President. As our restoration chair, he is involved in many partnerships representing UW and Yew Creek Alliance. He focuses his attention on hatcheries, dams, and fire projects to restore watersheds to a more natural state. Our Secretary, Diana Pace, is a retired nurse and member of the Wilderness Committee, a group that advocates for the Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal, and the Conservation Committee. She lives for hiking and camping but has had to sideline those activities due to a recent health issue. Rest assured that she will hit the trail again and get those hikes scheduled. And the last “snowflake” is me. I am a retired wildlife biologist and volunteer full-time as president. I also serve on the conservation committee, where I strive to protect the non-monetary outputs of our forests.
We do what we do because we have a deep passion for protecting our local ecosystems. We appreciate all of our members’ contributions and could not do this without you – one of the many integral “snowflakes” making up the avalanche that is Umpqua Watersheds. Let’s keep the momentum going. Thank you!