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.


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.


Michelle Abbey is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Forest Bathing Guide. A recent transplant to Bend, she is very excited to learn all about the land of her new home. She was a volunteer hike leader for the San Diego Natural History Museum, and runs her own nutrition and forest bathing practice. As a guide, she leads individuals and groups into nature to experience a deep sensory connection to the natural world, and ultimately, themselves. Her passion for this work stems from her own deep love and connection to the outdoors. In her free time she can be found hiking, meal prepping, training for her next event, planning a social event, reading about nutrition, nature, or psychology, or planning the next outdoor adventure with her husband, Derek.



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.






Peter Cooper is the Deschutes Land Trust's Land Steward. Prior to joining the Land Trust as a staff member, Peter stewarded lands in Western Oregon. Peter enjoys exploring new places, backpacking, skiing, cooking, going to see live music, paddleboarding, flying his drone, and enjoying time with his cat Ramsey. 







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.




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.







Amanda Egertson is the Deschutes Land Trust’s Stewardship Director.  She manages the Land Trust’s Preserves and monitors our other conservation projects. Amanda and her husband Chris moved to Bend in 2003 and spend as much of their free time as possible outside—hiking and skiing the Cascades, tidepooling along the coast, and exploring the Oregon deserts. Amanda has an M.S. in Animal Ecology (with a research focus on songbirds and butterflies), and extensive experience in outreach and interpretation.





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.






Megan Hill has been studying Central Oregon fisheries since 2007, currently working as the fisheries manager for Portland General Electric’s Deschutes Hydroelectric Project. Throughout her career at PGE, Megan has had the opportunity to snorkel, conduct juvenile fish surveys, and locate spawning salmon and steelhead in the Metolius River and Whychus Creek.  When not at work, Megan also enjoys spending time outside. Lately, she has been enjoying experiencing our natural areas in a whole new way with her 3 year old and 9 month old.






Rane Johnson is a former Research Director at Microsoft and now likes to spend her free time outdoors, painting and reading. She spends a lot of her free time and energy working to engage young women and students of color with STEM careers. She loves to connect with the land on walks, hikes, with her pup, and on her paddle board and hopes to make the outdoors a place for all.







Milena Johnson is a Colorado native that moved to Bend in September of 2018 to embrace the outdoorsy lifestyle and work for Cascade Angels, an angel investment group in town. She studied International Business at the University of Denver and minored in Geography. Through her Geography minor, she spent a quarter on a field study program traveling to National Parks and camping throughout the Baja Peninsula. This experience gave her a greater appreciation of the natural world and she is excited to volunteer with the Deschutes Land Trust. One of her greatest passions is mountain biking. She loves learning about bike mechanics to tackling new trails. She is looking forward to combining her background in geography and experience in mountain biking to lead bike tours for the Land Trust.




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.  






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.





Fiona Noonan is the Deschutes Land Trust’s Conservation Associate. She assists with conservation projects, including developing acquisition and climate change strategies. She received her B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University, where she focused on environmental education, climate change policy, and land rights. Prior to joining the Land Trust in 2018, Fiona worked as a backpacking guide at Stanford, as a researcher with the Stanford Social Ecology Lab, and as an educator and wilderness guide in Leadville, Colorado. When she's not at the Land Trust, Fiona spends her time climbing, backpacking, and skiing around the forests, deserts, and mountains of Central Oregon (when she's not making sourdough, that is).





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.









Susan Prince is a retired teacher who has spent much of her career enjoying practicing outdoor education with children. Mentored by Jon Young, a cultural anthropologist, and gifted naturalist, Susan developed a passion for connecting people with nature thru “bird language” and the “art of questioning”. When we are able to quiet our busy minds, enter the wild as the animals do and really observe: magic happens!







Rebekah Ratcliff is the Deschutes Land Trust's newest Outreach Associate who loves connecting people with our land. She has past experience as an Outdoor School and Farm to School educator. She loves using all five of her senses to experience this place and is always amazed at the wonder that can be found outside. She loves to climb rocks, frolic through forests, run on trails, picnic near creeks, paint mountains, and sometimes simply sit outside. 







Mark Reed is a retired forestry instructor who has recreated in central Oregon for the past 45 years, and has lived in Sisters since 2013. He enjoys learning about the diverse landforms and ecosystems on DLT preserves, and sharing what he has learned with fellow outdoor enthusiasts and land trust supporters.








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.







Sara Rose is a biologist and volunteer coordinator for the Northwestern Bat Hub at OSU Cascades. She has spent the last two summers traveling across Oregon listening for bats in all kinds of habitats. Before starting with the Bat Hub, Sara worked on wildlife research projects in the Deschutes National Forest and in Borneo. In her spare time, she serves as the social chair for Central Oregon Womxn in Conservation, a community organization. 







Mike Sigler is a retired marine biologist with over 30 years research experience in Alaska, specializing in marine ecology and fisheries stock assessment. Mike now teaches marine ecology at the Shoals Marine Lab in the Gulf of Maine during the summer and nordic skiing to kids during the winter. Mike enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, nordic skiing, ice hockey, hands on teaching and being outside.







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.



Ben Ward hails from the mountains of Northern California where he split his childhood years between the Sierra Nevada foothills and the Redwood giants of Humboldt County. For the past 15 years, Ben has in some capacity worked in the outdoors, most recently as a field biologist for an environmental consulting firm, where he conducts mostly bat and bird surveys during summer field seasons. For many years he worked as a backpacking guide, outdoor educator and as a program director for a teen adventure camp in the Santa Cruz mountains. In 2018 he relocated to Bend to finish his degree in Natural Resources at OSU Cascades. Ben is excited to help people connect with the land on which we live and along with a passion for ecology, he loves to rock climb, trail run, fly-fish, travel and read the occasional good poem. 




Martin Winch is a historian and local author of a Biography of a Place: Passages Through a Central Oregon Meadow and other books including Tumalo: Thristy Land, and Joseph Gervais: A Familiar Mystery Man. He  is a long-time member of the Land Trust and has volunteered more than 2,000 hours since he became a Land Trust member in 1998. This year he'll be returning to lead a 25th Anniversary history walk at Camp Polk Meadow you won't want to miss!







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.





Jen Zalewski is the Deschutes Land Trust's Land Steward. Prior to joining the Land Trust as a staff member, Jen led mountain bike and birding tours for our Walks + Hikes Program. Jen enjoys skiing, canoeing, surf trips at the coast, fussing over her landscaping, and trying to get things to grow in her garden.



Join the Deschutes Land Trust on one of over 150 free, guided Walks and Hikes from April - November.

Interested in Volunteering? Learn more about how you can get involved here.