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
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. If you run into Alyssa on the trails, never hesitate to strike up a conversation, she’d love to get to know you.
Jared Tarr, Volunteer & Intern Coordinator
Mieko Aoki, Nursery Manager
Mieko Aoki 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.
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.