Meet the wonderful people who make up the Nature Consortium team. Staff, Crew Leads, Teaching Artists, and Interns are listed alphabetically by last name.

Staff

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 Caroline Borsenik, Restoration Program Manager

Caroline journeyed to the state of Washington from the Midwest almost three years ago. She began her time in the Pacific Northwest as an environmental educator for the YMCA on Orcas Island. Since that time she has been involved in the environmental restoration field, working for the Washington Conservation Corps for two years where she learned about PNW ecology and restoration techniques. Her restoration background involves riparian, forested, shoreline and wetland project sites around King County.  In her spare time Caroline enjoys hiking, watching hockey, and playing on a Seattle women’s lacrosse team in the spring.  She is also recently earned a professional certificate in Wetland Science and Management from the University of Washington.

Email: Caroline(at)naturec.org

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Maria Glanz, Grant Writer

Maria is an accomplished grant writer as well as an actor, solo performer, arts administrator and educator.  She has worked as Artistic Director for Playwrights Project in San Diego and Rainer Valley Youth Theatre in Southeast Seattle.  Maria currently lives on the beautiful island of Vashon with her artist-husband and lovely son.

Email: Grants(at)nature.org

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Yeggy Michael, Art Program Manager & Festival Director

Yeggy is an award-winning public artist whose work can be seen throughout the Seattle area. Armed with metal, stone, glass and a green approach to his work, Yeggy often uses mosaic in public art to illustrate unity and diversity. His vision is to provoke questions about natural cycles, provide a sense of place and to reflect on the movement of time. Yeggy believes that public art needs to reflect the community, the culture and the people who live in it, especially in communities that are underserved. It’s not just about beauty – it’s an expression of the moment and the people.

Email: Yeggy(at)nature.org

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Merica Whitehall, Executive Director

Merica Whitehall believes that strong, healthy communities are at the core of a just and sustainable society.  She grew up in a Nebraskan family that honored its connection to nature and where daily life incorporated art and creativity.  As Executive Director, Whitehall brings over 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience to Nature Consortium.  As a consultant and trainer she has served dozens of area arts and nonprofit organizations including SEEDArts, Seattle Center Festal, Seattle Community Law Center, Intiman Theatre, YMCA of Snohomish, and Seattle Theatre Group.  Whitehall also brings 10 years of experience in higher education and has taught for Seattle University’s Institute for Public Service since 2008.  In her spare time Merica enjoys gardening, cooking for friends, dancing on Alki Beach, and cheering for her all-time favorite Track athlete, her daughter.

Email: Merica(at)naturec.org

  Interns

Jaybee

Jaybee Ragudo

Jaybee is a senior from Seattle University studying Environmental Studies. He was raised in San Jose California, but is originally from Pangasinan, Villiasis in the Philippines. Jaybee loves dirt and all forms of dirt so much that he has a dirt collection. Jaybee is interested in the study of anthropocentric perceptions of flora and fauna and how it correlates with the human nature dichotomy and/or harmony. When not pondering these thoughts, Jaybee likes to play on his guitar, read, wrestle, and people watch.

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Chuong Pham

Chuong has an Environmental Science degree from the University of Washington Bothell and is currently an MPA candidate at the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. Moving from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest, Chuong was inspired by the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty and its environmentally-focused culture to study the natural environment. Chuong is excited to work with the Nature Consortium to similarly inspire other people and help spread environmental awareness and education. In his spare time, Chuong likes to read sci-fi/fantasy books, watch TV shows (especially sci-fi/fantasy shows), and try foods around Seattle.

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Meghan Kennedy

Meghan is wrapping up degrees in Theology and Marine and Conservation Biology from Seattle University, where her  undergraduate research focused on crustacean evolution and adaptation. She’s especially interested in the ways flora and fauna respond to changes in urban ecosystems due to human behavior, and hopes to continue studying urban ecology and invertebrate evolution in graduate school. Meghan hails from sunny Northern California, but has transplanted nicely to the cool Puget Sound.  In her free time Meghan practices yoga, reads in coffee shops, cares for her tomato plants, and enjoys the company of her cat. Meghan is excited to be out of the lab and into the field with Nature Consortium and its wonderful community!

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Paulien Sloan-Evans

Paulien is a recent college graduate from the University of Washington Bothell, with a life-long love of nature. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Paulien has been fortunate enough to see the positive impact of nature on people’s lives. Paulien was drawn to the Nature Consortium by their unique mission of bringing the arts and nature together, especially within an urban setting. Paulien has led writing in nature programs for Friends of North Creek Forest, and is excited by the opportunity to work hands on in the West Duwamish Greenbelt. In her free time Paulien likes to read, drink tea, press flowers, and find old houses. She is looking forward to learning more about the West Duwamish and how to keep our urban forests intact.

 Crew Leads

 Felicia Froton

Felicia Froton

Felicia has been volunteering with Nature Consortium since the spring of 2013. She is currently a student at the University of Washington studying environmental studies and oceanography. Felicia loves restoration and benefiting the environment and hopes to involve herself in many sustainability projects in the future, both in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. She loves traveling, the outdoors, and anything involving adventure!

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Tim Jaureguy

Tim Jaureguy has served as a volunteer and crew lead with Nature Consortium since 2011.  Tim’s work experience encompasses leadership positions in environmental education and organized camping.  Tim earned his Bachelor’s of Science from Lewis & Clark College and his Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology at Cal State Hayward.  Tim is a stay at home parent for his two sons and actively supports their schools both as a classroom volunteer and parent council chair. Tim’s favorite recreational pursuits include trail running, back country hiking and fishing. He looks forward to continuing the efforts to help restoring Seattle’s forests.

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Kyle Miller

Kyle is a senior at the University of Washington-Bothell studying Conservation Science and Restoration Ecology. With a passion for natural history and environmental education, Kyle thinks the key to solving environmental problems lies in empowering individuals to connect with the natural world surrounding their communities through exploration and public service. Kyle lives in the Skykomish Valley and enjoys photography, bird watching, and exploring his new home in the Pacific Northwest. After college, Kyle hopes to continue working to restore public lands to ensure future generations can continue to access, enjoy, and be inspired by public lands.

 Ben Saari

Ben Saari

Ben has been volunteering with Nature Consortium since April 2013 and working as a crew lead since September 2013. He is a senior at the University of Washington studying environmental science and resource management with a concentration in restoration ecology and urban horticulture. Ben is currently working in a terrestrial restoration ecology lab and is particularly interested in invasive species management and the effects of restoration on urban forests. Ben enjoys all things outdoors, especially hiking and exploring new places.

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Liz Stone

Liz has been volunteering with Nature C since January 201. In Summer 2014, Liz was part of Nature Consortium’s Forest Monitoring team. When not outside digging up blackberries with Nature C or hiking a wild trail, Liz works at a massage therapy clinic helping to keep the therapists’ and their client’s schedules in sync. Her professional background is in web production and while she enjoy building webpages, Liz prefers to be outside. :) Liz is passionate about helping the environment and enjoys finding new ways to be green–especially if it’s crafty.  You’ll find Liz out in nature and going on adventures like hiking, backpacking and road trips.

 Allison Vasallo

Allison Vasallo

Allison has been volunteering and crew leading with Nature Consortium for the past 2 years. She currently works in ornamental landscape management, which mostly involves maintaining large residential formal gardens. Her favorite parts of restoration work is invasive and native plant identification, and different invasive plant removal techniques. When she finds free time outside work and volunteering, you’ll probably find her playing guitar and singing with her bluetick coonhound Charlie howling along.

 Teaching Artists

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Chloe Allred, Teaching Artist

Chloe Allred is a painter, print-maker, and illustrator that lives in the Seattle area. She graduated summa cum laude from Cornish College of the Arts in 2013 and is a McMillen Foundation Scholar. She will be pursuing a masters degree in painting in 2015. Chloe is particularly interested in how we relate to the body. She creates work that focuses on redefining beauty ideals and eliminating body shame.

Website: www.allredchloe.com

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 Bridget Daly, Teaching Artist

Bridget Daly hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Washington, and has over 25 years of experience teaching art.  In partnership with Nature Consortium Teaching Artist Shannon Ninburg, Bridget created the Eye Can Art company producing high-quality commercial art kits for kids throughout the US and Canada.  Through support provided by the University of Western Ontario, Bridget is currently conducting research on the incorporation of methods and techniques for intergenerational art instruction in childcare programs sited in senior care homes.  When she is not finding and developing new projects for students, Bridget is creating dream-like impossibilities through traditional Huichol yarn-painting.

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 Jeanne Dodds, Teaching Artist

Jeanne Dodds is a visual artist with a passion for using illustration and photography to explore the complex and dynamic relationship between humans and the natural world.  Her recent work examines ecological systems and explores human impacts in the marine environment. As a teaching artist, she partners with museums, schools and non-profit organizations to offer visual arts instruction in subjects including green design, photography, visual art in global cultures, and ecological illustration courses. She has been working in the education field as an instructor, administrator, and teacher mentor for seventeen years. Jeanne earned a BFA in Photography, a Certificate in Scientific Illustration, and will be earning a Master of Environmental Studies from the Evergreen State College. She is a graduate of the Artist Trust EDGE program, the WA State Arts Commission’s Teaching Artist Training Lab, and has completed artist residencies in the United States and New Zealand. She loves backpacking, canoeing, hiking, organic gardening, and spending time in nature with family and friends.

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 Aramis Hamer, Teaching Artist

When I think of my artwork, I’m reminded of a colorful world that can only be found in dreams. The basic themes found in my work are strong color contrasts, exaggerated subject matter and drip techniques where I try to stretch the boundaries of surrealism. Music is definitely one of my main inspirations. Songs are like stories and while listening to the lyrics, an image forms in my mind inspiring the next piece. Utilizing house hold tools, such as a grout spreader, creates texture that mimics sound waves in music.  I love to incorporate spray paint related to my admiration of street art. Integrating imagery of my people and urban landscapes reflects the environment in which I was raised. Recently my work has seen a transition from technical and deliberate portraits to a more free form and loose aesthetic. By releasing control, I am able to embrace the natural flow of the paint allowing it to fall where it may. My work continues to evolve and develop; I welcome you to join me on this journey.

Website: www.aohamer.com

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Shannon Robins Ninburg, Teaching Artist

Shannon Robins Ninburg is an artist and educator who works and plays in a variety of disciplines including sculpture, printmaking, and painting. After working as a freelance toy inventor, Shannon co-founded Eye Can Art, a company that created kits providing quality art experiences, which were sold nationwide. Shannon studied art at Brown University and RISD as an undergraduate, and received an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. She is so happy to be taking root in the Pacific Northwest, and is thrilled to be able to share her love of this landscape and of making art with others through the Nature Consortium’s projects.

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 Colleen O’Rollins, Teaching Artist

I never lifted a paintbrush in my adult life until I had kids of my own. My daughters showed me the way and I discovered a part of me that I had shut down many years ago. I signed my daughters up for a pottery class they were 5 and 3 years old. Little did I know that it was a parent-child class and I was expected to participate! With the encouragement of my girls and the instructor, I began to explore my creative side. I discovered the power of creativity first hand. I saw how art is able to connect people, heal people, and provide insight like nothing else. This was over 10 years ago and that work put me the healing path to art therapy and psychotherapy. I leverage the healing power of creativity, mindfulness, and various other techniques in my sessions with clients. Along with making pottery, I also enjoy printmaking, painting and jewelry making. I LOVE working with people who think they “aren’t artistic.” That was me!

Website: http://www.turningwheelcounseling.com

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 Kimisha Turner. Teaching Artist

Kimisha Turner is a multimedia artist based in Seattle. A graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, her art reflects and celebrates the observation of life experiences, diversity and consciousness.  She is heavily influenced by nature and the abundance of artists and mediums used around her, while relishing in the notion of re-invention with every show.  The running theme in most of her work is the process of life, which reflects in the different layers and mediums she chooses at any given time. She is in  awe of the miracles in life and lives to create beauty, awareness and empowerment with her work.

Website: http://www.kimishaturner.com

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Emily Taibleson. Teaching Artist

Emily Charlotte Taibleson studies the relationship between the micro and the macro, mythology and legend, architecture and ecology through painting, sculpture, performance, and writing.  She is an explorer, a traveler and a collector of stories. Emily supports her practice by facilitating large scale collaborative art installations with the intention of building accountability to the land to to each other through urban beautification and community engagement.  She works for numerous arts programs in the Pacific Northwest and beyond to bring equal access to the arts and their healing powers. She has a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.  She is at home in the mountains and at sea.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/emily.taibleson/about

Meet the rest of our team: Board of Directors