Get to know Rika

Jul 09, 2021
The Land Trust is so pleased to welcome Rika Ayotte as our new executive director! To help you get to know her, we asked Rika some fun questions about her connection to nature and the outdoors. Learn more...


The Land Trust is so pleased to welcome Rika Ayotte as our new executive director! Rika started on July 1st and is quickly getting up to speed on all the ins and outs of the organization. Rika brings demonstrated experience in leadership and management to lead the Land Trust, and she has an awesome enthusiasm for the natural world. To help you get to know her, we asked Rika some fun questions about her connection to nature and the outdoors.


Tell us about how you first connected with the outdoors.
I grew up on five acres of woods in Cave Junction, Oregon. There wasn’t much to do way out there so we spent almost all of our time building forts, catching bugs, and riding our bikes. I knew the woods so well and really felt like they were mine. I even used to give tours to my friends and their parents!

Do you have a recent favorite outdoors memory?
We took our two year old for a (short) hike around Black Butte and she discovered moss for the first time. It was very fun to watch her get excited each time she found another piece!

Coffee or tea? Coffee…so much coffee.

Favorite trail in Central Oregon?
Big Obsdian Flow, I take everyone there, it’s like being on another planet.

Do you have any specific outdoors passions—flowers, birds, butterflies, fish?
I have recently started my journey as a bird nerd. My daughter loves birds and is constantly saying “hear that?!” whenever we hear a call. She and I can now identify the quail, doves, and magpie calls in our yard.

How do you connect with the outdoors/what type of outdoor recreation do you enjoy?
I love to camp. Cooking over a fire, sitting under the stars, and spending uninterrupted time with family and friends are my favorite parts about it.

What non-outdoorsy things do you enjoy?
I listen to a lot of podcasts, I like to read, and I love going to see live music. I also like beer, but that is an indoor and outdoor thing I guess. :)

Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Dogs! I have a 13 year old vizsla who loves camping and hiking too.

Would you rather watch sunrise or sunset?
Sunset, mornings are not my favorite.

What’s your favorite season?
Fall. I love the cool weather and it’s also my birthday.

Who do you admire in the conservation realm?
John Allen who retired as forest supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest is someone I admire greatly. He wasn’t afraid of big ideas and had an amazing way of thinking 10-20 years down the road.

What part of conservation do you like the most?
I love seeing people connect with land and come to stewardship through their connection with a special place. There is a saying I come back to often: in order to act you have to care, and in order to care you have to connect.

What excites you about working at the Deschutes Land Trust?
I am most excited to work with the amazing people who are a part of the Land Trust community. The staff, board, volunteers, and community are so passionate, creative, and smart. I feel very lucky!


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