Katie Voelke was raised in a home under oak trees where she spent many hours collecting bugs, making mud pies with her sister, and camping and hiking with her parents in the summers. She is sure that this life-long exposure to the natural world is what led her on a path to study biology in school. Katie settled on Oregon’s north coast with her husband Scott in 2003 and spent time doing field work with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife before she finally found her calling: working in land conservation with NCLC. In 2005 Katie started as NCLC’s first Stewardship Director working under founding Executive Director, Neal Maine. After 3 years of learning the ropes alongside Neal, she took the helm in 2008 as Executive Director. Although her job at NCLC keeps her inside more than she would like, she manages to get her fix of the outdoors following in her parent’s footsteps: bug collecting with her three sons and spending the summers hiking and camping with family.
Jon Wickersham was born in Sitka, Alaska, but spent most of his life growing up in Gearhart, Oregon. After completing a degree in Planning from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Jon worked in rural Montana as a county planner running an open space bond program to protect ranches, open space and wildlife habitat. He returned to Oregon’s north coast in 2010 to join the NCLC staff as Conservation Director, building a strong rapport with local landowners, county officials and state and federal wildlife departments. When not working to conserve coastal wildlife habitat, Jon enjoys hiking, sports, running and anything that takes him outdoors!
As Stewardship Director, Melissa Reich oversees stewardship of the properties that NCLC owns or holds conservation easements on, to ensure that the land’s natural values are protected or enhanced. Melissa grew up on Shelter Island, at the east end of Long Island, New York, site of The Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve, where she volunteered during high school and worked during summers off from college. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at Lewis & Clark College, where she studied invertebrate conservation and ecology and assisted with field research of the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly. After college Melissa served three years of AmeriCorps service with the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center and The Nature Conservancy, and then went to work for TNC on the Oregon Coast doing field surveys and working with coastal land owners to improve native butterfly habitat. She joined NCLC as stewardship director in March 2013. Melissa lives in Astoria, where she enjoys foraging for wild food, playing her mandolin, and getting her feet wet.
Lorraine Ortiz joined the NCLC team in 2015. Her work helping fund nonprofits on the North Coast is driven by a passion for the people, places, and projects of this region. Prior to joining NCLC, she served as development director for the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, the Lower Nehalem Community Trust in Nehalem, and CARTM in Manzanita. Lorraine has lived in the Nehalem Bay area since 1990.
Bonnie Henderson was a volunteer On the Land guide and editorial helper for NCLC for many years before taking on coordination of NCLC’s communications in 2014. She has had a long career in writing and editing newspapers, magazines and books as well as doing public affairs for nonprofits. She is an avid hiker and kayaker/canoeist and divides her time between the coast and her home in Eugene.
Conservation & Stewardship Manager
Amy Hutmacher grew up in Alaska, and focused on Environmental Studies for her undergraduate work at the University of the Pacific. She then completed her graduate studies at Arizona State University, where she explored the unique riparian habitats found along southwestern seasonal creeks and streams. An opportunity to work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife brought her to Newport on the Oregon Coast, and the chance to merge her ecology background with land conservation work has now led her further up the coast to North Coast Land Conservancy, where she provides support to both NCLC’s conservation and land stewardship programs.
Administrative & Outreach Coordinator
Lynette Villagomez grew up in the Coachella Valley of southern California and went to college at Humboldt State University, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental policy with a minor in environmental and natural resources planning in 2012. After graduation she went to work for the Mono Lake Committee, a nonprofit conservation organization in California, as an intern and project specialist before moving to Cannon Beach in fall 2013. Her education, her administrative experience, and her personal commitment to conservation make her an ideal fit for North Coast Land Conservancy.
Eric Owen completed his bachelor’s degree at Oregon State University in 2014, where he majored in environmental science with a minor in writing. In addition to his passion for conservation ecology, his interests include mycology and mushroom hunting, soccer, surfing, playing music, and brewing beer. Eric was born in Grand Junction, Colorado, grew up in San Diego, and lived in northern California for several years before moving to Oregon in 2010 to be nearer to his immediate family, who all live in the state. He lives in Warrenton.