Walk + Hike Leaders

The Deschutes Land Trust is extremely fortunate to have a wonderful pool of very talented Walk + Hike leaders. From self-taught naturalists to professional biologists, they promise to help you connect with the wonders of nature.

 Jim Anderson has lived in Central Oregon since 1951. His long and illustrious history includes time fighting forest fires, preparing studies for ODFW (on bats, eagles, hawks, owls, cormorants, and osprey), working as a naturalist for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland, and director of the Children’s Zoo and Conservation and Education (now the Oregon Zoo). The author of “Tales from a Northwest Naturalist” and a nature columnist for the Sisters Nugget Newspaper and The Source of Bend, Jim leads walks for the Land Trust on a variety of subjects.




Sue Anderson has been involved with just about every natural history happening in Central Oregon for many years. She specializes in butterflies and has been conducting the Ochoco and Metolius annual counts for 21 years. She also has done butterfly inventories for several regional National Monuments. She is happiest when in the field introducing adults and children to nature’s art on the wing and using her macro camera lens. Sue leads butterfly walks for the Land Trust.





Rod Bonacker is a retired special projects coordinator for Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest. He began his Forest Service career in 1974 as a firefighter, and continues to work in fire suppression as Operations Section Chief for the Central Oregon Incident Management Team. When he is not volunteering for the Land Trust, Rod fishes, skis, rides his bike, and manages his rare book business, Black Butte Books.






Rebecca Brown-Thomspon is a talented botanical illustrator and artist. With a bachelor of science in Horticulture and a minor in Art from Purdue University, Rebecca combines her love of art and science in her work. She is a founding member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and she travels the world drawing plants in their native habitats. Living in both the United States and New Zealand, Rebecca explores the natural world, examining its textures, colors, and patterns and recreating it on paper. Her other passions include swimming, golf, hiking, and camping.





Nancy Chaffee is a retired physician, and has diverted her area of “practice” to the outdoors. Since relocating to Central Oregon in 2011, she enjoys all-season activities including nordic skiing, hiking, biking and kayaking. The Deschutes Land Trust provides ample opportunity to further pursue her interests in birds, as well as the diverse flora and fauna of the area. She is a recent graduate of the OSU Master Naturalist program, and is eager to share her varied interests on Land Trust Walks + Hikes.





Mary Crow has been hiking and skiing the Cascades throughout her life. After working for Intel for 16 years, then retiring as a school librarian, she wanted these magnificent mountains to continue to be a central part of her life. She moved to Sisters in 2002 in order to pursue her passions: skiing, hiking, birding, kayaking, and gardening. Taking care of this land, and helping people understand why we must all become good stewards our environment is now Mary's primary focus. With this focus in mind, she has become a Certified Master Naturalist, and hopes to put her training to use on her hikes. The Land Trust's mission of preserving and caring for the land has become a perfect fit for her. Mary leads wildflower and nature hikes for the Land Trust.



Laurie Danahy lives in Sisters on the banks of Whychus Creek.  She’s worked in the field of early childhood for over 40 years and now serves as trainer and consultant for Head Start, preschool and infant-toddler programs around the Northwest and beyond.  She comes from a family that treasures nature, believes every child needs time in the woods, and loves helping children, families, caregivers and teachers experience the joy of time spent outdoors.   

Eva Eagle has lived in Central Oregon since 2002, giving up life in the city to enjoy stewarding 40 acres near Sisters. After retiring from a career in planning and analysis for the health care industry, Eva now applies her research skills as a volunteer for the Land Trust bird survey program which she has managed at Camp Polk Meadow since 2006. Eva also enjoys leading tours for the Land Trust and sharing what she's learned as an Oregon Master Naturalist.





Ginny Elliott grew up exploring the gold rush country in the foothills of the Sierras in California. After college she moved to Iowa where she taught for more than 30 years in elementary and middle school and learned to love the tall grass prairies and wetlands of the north central states. After retiring, Ginny and her husband Jim moved to Bend to be closer to family and to enjoy year round outdoor activities. When not volunteering for the Land Trust, Ginny enjoy spending time with family, wilderness, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, crafts and being a steward on her adopted section of the Pacific Crest Trail.




Gus Gustafson. Photo by Darlene Ashley.
Gus Gustafson. Photo by Darlene Ashley.

Gary "Gus" Gustafson is a senior environmental and regulatory consultant living in Camp Sherman. A native Oregonian, Gus is a certified Oregon Master Naturalist who enjoys beginning each day at home with a walk along the nearby Metolius River. A former state agency director and elected city mayor, Gus now volunteers time as a hike leader for the Deschutes Land Trust and serves on several boards and commissions. Gus is particularly interested in identifying, observing and photographing the wide variety of fish and wildlife species found in central Oregon.





Jim Hammond moved to central Oregon in 2004 and has since been involved with the Land Trust as a volunteer and supporter. Participating in star parties at the Sisters High School, Jim has joined other amateur astronomers in providing opportunities for the community to learn about the night sky and the wonders of our galaxy and solar system. Jim is a retired physicist and has been interested in astronomy since he watched, at a very young age, his father build a telescope. Jim leads the Land Trust's star parties which currently take place at Rimrock Ranch--a private ranch with dark skies and open views in all directions.




Kolby Kirk is a writer, artist, photographer, and outdoorsman.  His passion for the outdoors inspired him to become an Oregon Master Naturalist in 2012.  He never hikes without carrying a journal to record both personal reflections as well as the natural wonders encountered along the trail. In 2011, he hiked for five months on the Pacific Crest Trail covering most of California by foot. He is currently writing a book for Heyday Publishing on the 650 pages of journals he filled on that trek. 





Derek Loeb is a retired geophysicist with 26 years of experience in petroleum exploration and production. After moving to Bend in 2011, he is now enjoying learning more about the geology of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the local geology, he is also fascinated by the history, archeology, flora and fauna of Central Oregon and how they are all related. Volunteering with the Land Trust gives Derek an opportunity to enjoy, share, and help preserve the many natural wonders that make Central Oregon such a great place to live or visit.





 Martha Lussenhop moved to Sisters in 2005 after dreaming of living in the mountains of the West for decades. Martha has a diverse background that includes a master's in zoology, teaching middle school, taking school groups on tours of prairies and woodlands, and leading workshops for children and adults at  the Field Museum in Chicago. Martha's home overlooks Indian Ford Meadow Preserve and she is becoming well acquainted with the birds along Indian Ford Creek.  Martha leads a variety of walks and hikes for the Land Trust.





Kelly Madden has lived in Central Oregon since 1999. A retired english and french teacher, she now uses her skills to read and understand the landscape. As a Deschutes County Historic Landmarks Commissioner and a Certified Oregon Master Naturalist, she combines interests in the intersection of cultural and natural history. She is particularly fond of wagon roads and tree blazes and the history that walks hand in hand with nature. Her peace and comfort are found in nature and she enjoys all outdoor activities, especially hiking with the Land Trust and passing on her love of the natural world.



Daniele McKay is a geologist who studies recent volcanic activity in Central Oregon and teaches at OSU-Cascades. She has lived in Bend for over 20 years, during which she worked for several conservation groups and as an interpretative ranger. She grew up hiking and skiing in the Cascades, which inspired a life-long passion for exploring wild areas. This prompted her to travel the world extensively and ultimately to examine natural processes in detail by studying geology. In addition to contributing to the scientific understanding of volcanoes in Central Oregon, Daniele also enjoys sharing her interest in science with people of all ages. She has taught classes and led field trips for children and adults, including geology hikes for the Land Trust.




Jane Meissner was raised in Central Oregon and spent much of her childhood outside with her mother learning about wildflowers. She is a certified Oregon Master Naturalist who taught hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing for COCC for 20 years. In her free time, Jane likes to watch wildflowers while hiking and backpacking and in the winter she loves to backcountry ski. Jane can be found leading a variety of hikes for the Land Trust with a special fondness for the world of wildflowers.





David Miller is a retired electrician whose hobbies include classic guitar, writing fiction, and the study of native plants. He was a docent for six years at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden and more recently at the Audubon Canyon Ranch in California. Since moving to Sisters he has been fascinated by the flora on both sides of the Cascades. He likes to enliven his wild plant tours with stories, history, Indian uses, principles of botany, and even some evolutionary theory. He is currently working on a novel called The First Bird.





Bill Mitchell started hiking and backpacking on the Appalachian Trail while in college in Virginia and Tennessee. After moving to California he took up botany, birding and everything wild while working as a field researcher for the state of California and the National Park Service. He moved to Bend in 2003 and started volunteering with the Deschutes Land Trust soon after we purchased the land for the Metolius Preserve. Bill is our resident digital photo librarian, as well as all-around volunteer, surveying everything from birds to weeds, helping on restoration projects and even stuffing envelopes in the office. In his spare time he hikes, backpacks, snowshoes and kayaks to learn more about the flora and fauna of Oregon. Bill is a certified Oregon Master Naturalist.



Carol Moorehead has felt a sense of place in central Oregon since moving here in 1976. Her love of the natural world began with a college Alpine Biology class set in the Washington Cascades. Although her career in education, spanning over 30 years, kept her inside classrooms, offices or meeting rooms, she always sought solace in nature. Exploring the Cascades and surrounding areas through self-study until 2013 when she participated in the Volunteer Master Naturalist program, broadening and deepening her appreciation of our natural world. When not hiking among wild flowers, you will often find her on her bicycle where she recently completed a 3200-mile cycling adventure spanning the southern United States.



Leslie Olson has lived in Bend for more than 30 years, spending the last seven as a leader for Bend Parks and Recreation. All of that face time with flowers and birds has stimulated her ongoing enjoyment of all things natural.







Maret Pajutee has been an ecologist for the Forest Service for the past 20 years, and is an expert on the rare Peck’s penstemon, a wildflower found only in Sisters and nowhere else in the world.







Jan Rising moved to Central Oregon in 2006 for clean rivers and wonderful hiking opportunities. While exploring the nearby Cascades and high desert, Jan's casual love of birding became a more avid passion. She is now actively involved with the East Cascades Audubon Society and has been assisting with Land Trust Bird Walks at Camp Polk and Indian Ford meadows since 2012. She loves to introduce people to the world of birding.





Monica Rimai is a former chief operating officer/chief financial officer for higher education institutions who has spent most of her adult life climbing, backpacking and hiking all over the world.  With her hiking partner/wife, she has backpacked along some of America's most iconic through-hikes including the John Muir Trail, and the Wonderland, climbed throughout the Cascades, Alaska and Rocky Mountain ranges and has summitted variety of national and international peaks. Monica has also hiked and backpacked extensively in and around the Three Sisters National Wilderness area.  Monica has enjoyed a long-time close affiliation with the National Outdoor Leadership School, having graduated from several NOLS courses, and currently serves on its Board as Treasurer and and Chair of the Finance & Investment Committee.


Carol Wall's background is as an academic and an anthropologist who taught cultural anthropology and linguistics for many years at the University of California, Davis where she was a professor as well as a dean and vice chancellor. Today she enjoys retirement thoroughly, traveling widely, spending time in the outdoors, and continuing a 40 year hobby of bird watching. She has taken as her dedicated avocation to know and understand the natural world in this place she has come to call home. She has done this through reading and learning from others involved with the Land Trust. More recently the Oregon Master Naturalist program has broadened her understanding and her horizons. Carol is a certified Oregon Master Naturalist.




Mary Yanalcanlin is a Montessori teacher with nearly 30 years of experience. An active member of the East Cascades Audubon Society, Mary volunteers to lead Audubon’s education programs for kids and their parents. In her spare time Mary enjoys birding, exploring nature and taking photos. Mary has lived in Bend for five years and thoroughly enjoys our rivers and streams after 20 years in the arid southwest. Mary is currently working to complete her Oregon Master Naturalist certification.