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 Education & Outreach  Coordinator
 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.

MasonDurfee Mason Durfee, Program Specialist 
 Mason Durfee joined the PCD team as Harvest Pierce County Program  Specialist in July 2015. A graduate of the University of Vermont, they have  worked on farms in the Northeast and Northwest, and studied sustainable  agriculture in Oaxaca, Mexico. Mason is passionate about cultivating social,  economic, and political conditions that support an equitable and just food  system. When they are not blissfully harvesting food, they enjoy cooking,  gardening, and teaching kids about both.

Renee Meschi Renee Meschi, Program Specialist
 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.

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 Technician
 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 Assistant
 Caleb joined the Pierce Conservation District as an intern in March of 2015  and was recently hired as  the District’s Water Quality Assistant.  Caleb is  currently enrolled in his final  quarter at University of Washington, Tacoma  due to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies.  Raised  in Washington State, Caleb is passionate about the overall health of its  natural resources, both culturally and economically and looks forward to  striving towards those goals as a member of the District team.

Nancy Huizar Nancy Huizar, AmeriCorps Intern
 Nancy recently graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a  B.S. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. She has worked for a variety of  organizations, from non-profits to city government.  In working with these  different organizations she gained a range of skills including working with  community members, working with large data sets, creating quick  information sheets, basic mapping in GIS, and more! In her spare time she likes  to draw and take photographs to express her artistic side.

  
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, Agriculture Community of Interest Coordinator
 Chrissy Cooley is the Agriculture Community of Interest Coordinator, as part  of the Puyallup Watershed Initiative. The AgCOI supports many partners in  farming in order to address environmental and social challenges.  Specifically, Chrissy’s job is to help identify what prevents local food from  getting into the market place and work with the COI to make the local food  system more efficient. She will be working with farmers, buyers, local  markets, and any others that share the values, interests, and goals of the COI to streamline the infrastructure surrounding our local food systems.

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.


 Terry Erker, Financial AssistantTerry Erker
 Terry joined Pierce Conservation District in June of 2015. She provides  financial assistance to the Senior Finance & Administrative Director and  assists the Budget & Fund Development Coordinator along with helping all  District program leaders and staff. She enjoys our beautiful Puget Sound  waters and natural surrounding regions, especially Mt Rainier and salt water  swimming, fishing and seafood.

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.