About the Friends Staff

 Jason Blazar, Stewardship Director
Jason Blazar, Director of Stewardship

Jason has worked for the Friends since November 1999 and has a background in natural resource management, landscape design, and planning. He is particularly interested in understanding the ecological relationships between human activities and the landscapes in which they occur. He leads the implementation of the Friends Stewardship Program to care for habitat and recreational resources within greater Mt. Pisgah including Buford Park. Over his tenure, he has defined the Friends brand of stewardship and nurtured the relationship between the organization, its membership, the public, and this place we know as our urban wilderness. He is a principal author of the park’s Habitat Management Plan, as well as plans to guide management of the Sorenson Property (owned by BPA) and Turtle Flats (owned by the Friends).

Teresa Aslin, Grants and Fiscal Administrator
Teresa Aslin, Grants AdministratorTeresa brings fiscal experience overseeing and stewarding federal and state grants. She is committed to creating working relationships and strengthening the fiscal position of the Friends so we can continue to restore, steward, and protect Buford Park and the surrounding Mt. Pisgah area. She is passionate about enjoying the beauty of nature, spending time with family and friends, and solving puzzles.

  

 

Carson States, Land Steward

Carson grew up in Silverton where he enjoyed spending time with his family’s llamas and goats as well as hiking at Silver Falls State Park. He has a background in logistics, landscaping, and wildland fire suppression. Carson graduated with a PPPM degree from UO in 2020 and has stayed in the South Willamette Valley where he appreciates the abundance of outdoor recreation with his human and canine family.

 

Iris Garber, Upland Land Steward
Iris grew up in South Carolina where, among other things, she was a gymnast, competitive speed climber and a black belt in karate. While she loves the ecology of the state, she decided to head across the country to study Natural Resources and Wildfire Ecology at Oregon State University, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in 2021. Since graduating she has worked for two fire seasons with Oregon Department of Forestry Eastern Lane Wildfire Unit and has volunteered on many prescribed burns in the fall of 2022. She joined the Friends stewardship team in the fall of 2022 and transitioned to the Upland Land Steward in spring of 2023 where she puts those fire ecology, gymnastics, climbing and karate skills to good use. She is also very good at baking treats and eating large quantities of cookies.

 

Mike Beasley, Ecological Burn Boss 

After growing up in the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas, the bulk of Mike's work experience includes over 20 years with the National Park Service and 10 years with the U.S. Forest Service in fuels management, fire behavior and strategic fire planning, though he has also served as a seasonal park naturalist and law enforcement ranger. He has a home in south Eugene and also still owns land in the Arkansas Ozarks. He also enjoys spending time in the field appreciating all the the upper Willamette Valley has to offer. 

 

 Jared Tarr, Volunteer & Intern Coordinator

Jared Tarr grew up on the southern Oregon Coast where he fell in love with the woods, rivers, beaches and windswept headlands of the northeastern Pacific. He studied at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington where he had the opportunity to work with organizations like The Nature Conservancy and People for Puget Sound, involving himself in grassroots organizing, policy work, as well as ecological research and restoration. Upon returning to Oregon and settling in Eugene, he worked as the Shop and Program Manager for the Center for Appropriate Transportation, sharing his love for bicycles, DIY repair and advocating for transportation equity in the emerald city. He still loves to ride his bike and spends his time fly fishing, exploring new rivers by boat and foot, and escaping to the mountains and desert with his partner and pup.
Contact Jared at volunteer [at] bufordpark.org 541-606-7587 

  

Mieko Aoki, Nursery Manager

Mieko has a background in biology, ecology, landscape architecture, horticulture, habitat restoration and wildlife rehabilitation. She joined the Friends in 2017 as Trails and Volunteer Coordinator, and became the Nursery Manager in 2020. She has always enjoyed plants, animals and what can be learned by slowing down and observing them. When not at work she loves camping in the mountains, wading in streams, listening to birdsong, sharing good food with friends and spending time with her awesome husband.

 

Hannah English, Nursery Assistant 

Hailing from the rural south, Hannah grew up stomping through forests and wading rivers. She gradually moved west, working multiple seasonal jobs including tallgrass prairie restoration in Nebraska using bison grazing, wild donkey behavioral observation in Arizona, and passerine songbird densities within working Oregon forests.  After falling in love with the various microhabitats of the Willamette Valley, she decided to call Eugene home in 2019. Hannah enjoys creating delicious meals from the food in her garden, foraging plants and mushrooms in the coastal mountain range, and cuddling her snuggle-bug of a cat.

April Dawne Christen, Nursery and Admin Assistant 

April Dawne grew up in Eugene and has been hiking and exploring all over Oregon with her dad since she was a kid. Her love of plants, mushrooms, wild places, dancing, delicious food and being physically active has led to a varied work history. She has been a restaurant cook, worked for the Forest Service, coordinated natural history workshops and continues to run her own landscaping business. April Dawne joined the Friends Stewardship crew in June of 2016 and became the Nursery Assistant in May of 2020 where her infectious laugh can be heard throughout the nursery.