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.

Wolky Wolky Samboy-Hillyer, AmeriCorps Service Member 
 Wolky joins us come from Portland, OR, where he had been living  continuously until attending the University of Puget Sound. He graduated  from UPS with a degree in Science, Technology, & Society, and a minor in  Environmental Policy & Decision Making. His major is an interdisciplinary  one, that allowed him to pursue his interest of the interactions between  human society and the environment, from historical, political, and natural  resource use perspectives.

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.

Joel Joel Eklof, AmeriCorps Service Member
 Joel recently graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma with  a B.S. in Physics and minors in Environmental Studies and Math. Joel is  passionate about returning water to historic levels of health and productivity,  and enjoys assisting in Pierce Conservation District’s water quality  improvement programs.  In his spare time, he likes to mountain bike and  backpack across the Pacific Northwest.


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.

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.

Sofia Gidlund Sofia Gidlund, Key Peninsula, Gig Harbor, and Islands Watershed  Program Manager
Sofia Gidlund joined Pierce Conservation District in 2014 after working for  King Conservation District. As the Key Peninsula, Gig Harbor and Islands  Watershed Program Manager Sofia works with local landowners and  farmers to provide technical assistance, promote conservation of our natural  resources and secure funding for implementation of best management  practices. Sofia has a background in livestock and equestrian farming, working for several different farms and for the agricultural university of Sweden. Outside of her passion for local farming, Sofia loves homestead projects, foraging for wild mushrooms and time in the outdoors.

Chrissy Cooley Chrissy Cooley, Climate Resiliency Program Manager
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.  

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. 

Allan Warren Allan Warren, Communications &  Development Manager
 Allan helps each of the District's departments tell the story of how important  their work is in  improving Pierce County's natural resources,  edits the  Tahoma View newsletter, and  manages the website and social media. In  addition, Allan provides support through grant writing and strategic planning.  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.