With over two decades of dedicated service to environmentally-focused nonprofits, Steve has established himself as a trusted professional and a true champion of the outdoors. Originally hailing from Iowa, Steve’s professional journey has been defined by a passion for connecting people with the natural world. Working for many years as a naturalist, guide, and outdoor educator, he has led backpacking expeditions, multi-day sea kayak adventures, whitewater rafting trips, and leadership retreats for youth and adults alike. As he transitioned into nonprofit management, Steve’s scope expanded to encompass staff development, facility management, equity advocacy, land conservation, grants management, and financial wizardry. His commitment to balance sheets is only matched by his love for empowering others. When not working, you’ll find Steve taking hikes with his family, floating on a river, playing music, working in his garden, and indulging in daydreams of someday owning a herd of delightful goats. To this day, he remains passionate about facilitating experiences for people in the natural world through education, adventure, and connection. As Executive Director, Steve is fortunate for the amazing community of supporters at SFI who believe so passionately in the work of connecting people to the unique landscapes of the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion. Join Steve and the SFI team in unlocking the wonders of nature and creating a lasting legacy of exploration and stewardship.
Adventure Learning Program Manager
Christine is an east coast transplant who has lived in the Grants Pass area since 2016. Since receiving her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from UNC Chapel Hill, Christine has worked in a variety of landscapes and roles centered around experiencing, sharing, and protecting the outdoors. These roles have included wilderness trek leader, environmental educator, Outdoor School coordinator, and park ranger on the Rogue River. Outside of work, Christine enjoys west coast swing dancing, dabbling in new art mediums, horseback riding, and nerding out over plants. She is very excited to be joining an already amazing team piloting SFI!
Youth Education Program Manager
Ze’ev was born in Jerusalem and spent his childhood reading and running through the forests of Massachusetts. After studying Economics and Philosophy at Columbia University, he discovered a passion for local and sustainable food production. This led to years working as a farmer, cook, outdoor educator, meditation facilitator, bartender, camp counselor, and data analyst. In his spare time, Ze’ev writes songs on the guitar, goes hiking, and practices fermenting things in his kitchen. He is thrilled to be working with SFI and sharing his excitement for nature with students of all ages.
Brandi Patterson is a locally grown Oregonian, she loves to get out and experience the outdoors and ride her quad. She is often found in the far reaches of the backcountry taking beautiful photographs. She is a mother and an organizer of all things SFI.
We are so thrilled to have Brandi on our dream team!
Our beloved Caretaker of over a decade, Lillie retired and moved from Virginia in 2009 to fill the position of Security Caretaker at Siskiyou Field Institute. She has a diverse background in hospitality and customer service, psychology and criminal law, and motivational training and education. She is devoted to providing an exciting welcoming experience to lovers of our natural world here at SFI.
Join the SFI Board!
This is an exciting opportunity for an individual who is passionate about SFI’s mission – serving on the SFI board provides an opportunity to meaningfully support environmental education and increased connection to our incredible Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion for people of all ages and abilities. Members of the community with leadership experience in business, scientific research and education, government, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector are strongly encouraged to apply. However, such experience is not required – the Board is committed to diversity in its membership and seeks expressions of interest from those who share our commitment to bio-diversity in the Klamath-Siskiyou region.
SFI board members:
If you have relevant experience, passion, or expertise, and a desire to serve SFI’s mission and community, we would love to hear from you via the short interest form below. We will review submissions to the interest form and reach out with a formal invitation to apply for board membership in the coming weeks. Thank you for being a part of SFI!
Tom retired from Rogue Community College where he served as dean of Human Resources for 20 years. He previously taught Economics at Eastern Oregon University. As a volunteer, he currently serves on the City of Grants Pass Budget Committee, the Housing Advisory Committee, and the Sustainability and Energy Action Task Force for the City. Tom also co-chairs the Regional and Local project of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN).
Jerry Allen moved to Oregon from California in 2014 and bought a small farm in Selma along Deer Creek. He and his partner farm fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs and chickens using regenerative agriculture methods, as well as making fermented foods. Jerry has a bachelors degree in Anthropology, a Masters in Public Health and an investment and financial planning certificate, all from UC Berkeley and a masters in Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies. He is a California licensed LMFT trauma therapist since 1991. He retired from a 24 year career supervising social workers for Human Services in Sonoma County, where he was also for 9 years a publicly elected pension trustee and board chair for 3 years. Jerry now volunteers for environmental organizations and conducts children’s educational programs in schools and libraries via songs, puppet folktales and playing guitar, banjo and accordion. He believes educating children about the environment should be fun and entertaining. He also volunteers as Vice-President of the Cave Junction Farmers Market and as a support volunteer with the Illinois Valley Fire District, where he holds an Oregon Emergency Medical Responder license.
Dr. Sabrina Klein
Dr. Sabrina Klein was born and raised in Selma, Oregon, and her family has resided in the Illinois Valley for over 100 years. Growing up on Upper Deer Creek Road in Selma shaped her passion for preserving the beauty of the Illinois Valley, including the Siskiyou Field Institute, and her desire to give back to the rural communities that championed her success throughout her life. Dr. Klein graduated from Illinois Valley High School in 2008 and went on to attend Rogue Community College and transferred to Southern Oregon University where she graduated with a degree in Communication Studies in 2013. Dr. Klein holds a Ph.D. and Master of Arts in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA.
Dr. Klein has worked in education settings, including federally funded college access programs, for 13 years. As a rural first-generation student, she witnessed first-hand the need for increased support and advocacy for underrepresented students in rural areas. She has dedicated her career to increasing opportunities for rural people. She is a proud alumna of the Project Youth+ program (formerly College Dreams) and served as an AmeriCorps State and National Service Program. Dr. Klein is currently an educational researcher and is committed to making a meaningful impact. Her work aims to produce insightful implications that empower fellow practitioners, fostering more equitable opportunities and outcomes for rural spaces.
Aaron was raised in Ashland and now works in the technology industry as a software engineer, specializing in virtual reality, LIDAR, and artificial intelligence. He is chief technology officer of a small startup company in Boston, MA. He is Board President of the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland. His other great love is music and playing violin. Aaron recently produced an hour-long nature documentary called “Klamath,” including his cinematography, drone work, editing, and narration. Through technology, music, and film, he seeks to “share glimpses of our world from perspectives we couldn’t reach before.”
Aaron grew up backpacking in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, and over time he began to understand the region’s biological significance on a global scale. “SFI is one of my favorite organizations in S. Oregon and N. California, because of its approach to educating both children and adults about this place that is very special to me.”
Cheryl has lived and worked in the Illinois Valley on-and-off for the past 40 years. She is an alumni of Southern Oregon University (1996) with a Bachelor of Arts in English/Biology Minor. Cheryl’s varied professional experience includes Park Ranger with the National Park Service, Oregon Caves NMP, Resource/Recreation Technician with the USFS Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest, Forestry Technician with the Medford District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and currently as the Community Engagement Coordinator for IV-FROG, a wildfire resiliency collaborative sponsored by the IV Soil & Water Conservation District. Cheryl is passionate about outdoor education, having written and secured grants for a variety of non-profit cultural and educational programs in the Rogue Basin.
Cheryl recently joined Oregon Department of Forestry’s State Forest Advisory Committee (SFAC) and is excited to join with the SFI Board of Directors to make an impact on conservation and environmental education.
Dr. Phoebe Parker-Shames
Phoebe grew up in Ashland Oregon after her family moved from the Illinois Valley, where they lived for 20 years. Her parents, Dr. Jim Shames and Heidi Parker, helped found the Takilma Peoples’ Clinic (now the Siskiyou Community Health Center). Growing up in the Klamath Siskiyou Ecoregion sparked Phoebe‘s love for the outdoors, which ultimately led her to complete her doctorate in environmental science, policy, and management at UC Berkeley. For her dissertation, Phoebe returned to Josephine County in order to do conservation-relevant research and give back to her community. She conducted research as a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley, and is currently the Wildlife Ecologist for the Presidio of San Francisco.
Vicki hails from the Hudson Valley area of NY. She is the recently retired Superintendent of the Caves National Monument and holds an A.S. degree in Biology from Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, a B.S. degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, with a major in forest biology, and an M.S. from University of WI in Green Bay. She is passionate about public land and has worked for the National Park Service for most of her career including:
- Theodore Roosevelt NP in North Dakota
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island NM
- Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River (PA/NY)
- Craters of the Moon NM in Idaho
- Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska
We are pleased to have her on our board to utilize her incredible public service record and management skills.