About the Friends Staff
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).
Zac Miller, Lead Land Steward
Zac grew up hiking Mt. Pisgah and started working for the Friends in 2012. From 2015-2016 he simultaneously attended OSU and obtained a degree in Food Science and Technology in 2017. He has extensive experience in farming, machine operation and hard work. From 2017-2020 he spent most of his time working his family farm (just across the Coast Fork from the South Bottomlands) and building a cider company. In 2020 he rejoined the Friends as Lead Land Steward, where he enjoys working with others to make Buford Park a blend of native wilderness and a place for everyone to hike and enjoy.
Kurt Kamin, Land Steward
Iris Garber, Upland Land Steward
Alyssa Larimer, Trails Steward
Alyssa was raised in Western Washington and spent much of her childhood hiking, kayaking, and backpacking in the surrounding forests. When she moved to Eugene in 2016, Mount Pisgah was one of the first places she visited and she felt at home right away. Alyssa studied Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Oregon. Since graduating in 2020, she has worked with the San Juan Island Conservation Corps (ICC) and done contract work for the Forest Service. When she’s not on the trails, she spends her time painting, juggling, making soup and knitting. She is currently working on a life-size knitted replica of the largest living organism on the planet, Armillaria ostoyae: the Humongous Fungus. For any trail-related issues or concerns, please contact Alyssa at trailsteward [at} bufordpark.org.
Jared Tarr, Volunteer & Intern Coordinator
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 from them by being observant and paying attention. 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.
Caroline Baucom, Nursery Assistant
Caroline grew up in Northern Virginia where she was often found barefoot and playing in the dirt as a child. So far these are still some of her favorite activities. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University where she studied Environmental Science, Biology, and Urban Planning, as well as worked in the Coastal Plant Ecology Lab. Post-grad, she worked seasonally for the U.S. Forest Service and at nurseries in the Pacific Northwest before moving to the Eugene area. She has a deep passion for native plants and the restoration of our wild spaces. Caroline became a team member at the Friends in Spring of 2023. The best way to become her pal is to let her pet your dog.
April Dawne Christen, Nursery 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.
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.