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, Lead 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.


Zac Miller, 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. 

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 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 (on sabbatical)

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 could be heard throughout the nursery. She is currently on a hiatus from nursery activities.