Katie-Voelke-Portrait-005-BrokenBanjo_THUMBKatie Voelke
Executive Director

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.


John_2015_webJon Wickersham
Associate Director

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!


Melissa_CircleCk_2016_webMelissa Reich
Stewardship Director

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_sLorraine Ortiz
Development Director

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.


Amy_Clear Lake_2015_webAmy Hutmacher
Project 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 a master’s degree in applied biology 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 led her further up the coast to North Coast Land Conservancy, where she manages projects in both conservation and land stewardship.


lynette_sLynette Villagomez
Outreach Manager

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.


DSCN7254Eric Owen
Land Steward

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.


Katherine Lacaze
Communications Coordinator

Katherine Lacaze grew up in a small town in Arizona before heading to a university in Virginia to study journalism. After graduating in 2010, she worked as a copy editor and reporter for numerous print publications in Virginia and Oregon as well as writing magazine and newspaper articles, blog posts, web content and educational material. In the summer of 2020, she was hired by NCLC to manage its social media, which led to overseeing all of NCLC’s communication efforts. She has a deep passion for the natural world and coastal conservation. When not working, Katherine enjoys participating in theater productions as an actor and director, reading books, writing and spending time with her daughter, Juliette.


Morgan Bender-deMoll
Stewardship Assistant

Morgan Bender-deMoll, who is working as a seasonal stewardship assistant through 2021, was born and raised in the Nehalem area, and he grew up exploring the mountains and waters of the North Coast. After studying ecology, Morgan led a range of outdoor environmental education, conservation and therapy trips with youth throughout the west. He has been working in the land trust world since 2012. Returning home in 2021 has allowed Morgan to be closer to family and the ocean again, as well as providing a chance for him to come full circle by working to protect and care for the lands he has always called home.