Staff

staff Kristi Foster

Kristi Foster

Executive Director

Kristi Foster received her B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. She spent 13 years working in the petrochemical industry in TX and NJ, during which time she earned a Masters in Engineering Management from Lamar University. She became an avid scuba diver and started her own scuba training and eco-travel side business, which changed her life. She decided to switch careers and returned to graduate school. Kristi received a joint MS in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Managment, followed by a PhD in Oceanography from Nova Southeastern University (NSU). She worked as an adjunct professor at NSU and Broward Community College. She also started Coastal & Marine Environmental Consultants, Inc. which provided underwater reef and sea turtle nest monitoring services in Florida. From there, Kristi moved to the remote Caribbean island of Little Cayman to work as the Assistant Director of Research and Education at a marine field station. Ready to return to the US, Kristi joined Tillamook Estuaries Partnership in 2016 and became the Executive Director in 2018. Kristi loves traveling the world with her husband and has visited over 50 countries with more planned.

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Claudine Rehn

Deputy Director

Claudine Rehn is the Deputy Director for the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Originally from California, Claudine has been fortunate to work for several successful non-profit organizations both managing and writing grants. She has two grown children (three if you include her husband) — two grandchildren, three cats, and two dogs that provide her constant amusement and chagrin. In her free time, Claudine is on the beach volunteering for the Haystack Rock Awareness program as a tide pool interpreter (and in search of the ever elusive alabaster nudibranch).

staff York Johnson

York Johnson

Water Quality Manager

York Johnson is the Water Quality Manager for the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University. York is employed by the Department of Environmental Quality as the North Coast Basin Coordinator, which includes his role with TEP. York works to implement the three Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) developed for the North Coast by promoting restoration projects that improve water quality. In addition, he develops programs and strategies to determine water quality status and trends for pollutants of concern on the coast and TMDL effectiveness. Water quality is York’s specialty and when not working on water quality issues he is out enjoying Oregon’s waters, whether surfing along the coast or exploring the many rivers and estuaries.

staff Colin Jones

Colin Jones

Habitat Assessment & Monitoring Program Manager

Colin Jones received his B.A. in Chemistry from Willamette University then combined his love of chemistry and the natural world and obtained his Ph.D. in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. His Ph.D research involved marine biogeochemistry and assessing how past climate conditions were recorded in marine microfossils. After completing his Ph.D., Colin moved back to the mountains and coast of his native Pacific Northwest with his fiancée and joined the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership as part of the Habitat Assessment and Monitoring team in 2021. When he’s not working, you can find Colin drinking tea, hiking, brewing beer, or reading a book on the beach.

staff Flynn DeLany

Flynn DeLany

Field and Data Scientist

Flynn earned his B.S. in Marine Sciences from Stony Brook University, followed by his Master of Science degree in Marine Sciences from the same institution. During his graduate studies, Flynn focused his research on the restoration potentials of eelgrass and oysters, investigating their local impacts on inhabitant community structures. As a graduate researcher, he collaborated with multiple local partners around the estuaries of Long Island, New York to monitor and restore crucial species and habitats, including hard clams, oysters, and eelgrasses. In 2023, Flynn embarked on a new chapter in his career by relocating to the Oregon Coast to join the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership. Here, he continues his work in monitoring efforts, contributing to the conservation and preservation of the region’s ecosystems. He looks forward to exploring the region in his free time as an avid rock climber and backpacker.

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Musa Joko

Native Plant Nursery Coordinator

Musa is the coordinator of the Native Plant Partnership. Originally from Zimbabwe, she holds a Bachelor of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management from the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe and a Master of Forestry from Yale University’s School of the Environment. Her passion for biodiversity conservation and ecology has seen her work extensively with different communities, promoting environmental stewardship, restoration, and afforestation. With years of experience working as part of a forest crew and teaching science, Musa understands forest ecosystems and the importance of preserving them. In her leisure time, Musa enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors. She also loves music and poetry and often draws inspiration from nature for her creative pursuits.

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Asa Skinner

Native Plant Scientist

Asa has a BS in organismal biology and over 10 years of experience in integrated pest management, growing turfgrass, subsistence farming, and agricultural extension. Mostly, Asa LOVES to grow plants and find ways to connect people with the plants they depend on. Since 2021 he’s focused on plant propagation, seed collection, and plant quality at TEP’s native plant nursery.

Originally from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, Asa was drawn to coastal Oregon by the overwhelming natural beauty and public land this landscape has to offer. He feels that stewardship and reciprocity with nature are critical components of a healthy life. When not perusing the forested hills of Tillamook for mushrooms and interesting forbs, he spends his time gardening, fishing, kayaking and freediving.

staff Steve Sprague

Steve Sprague

Nursery Crew Lead

Steve Sprague is the Nursery Crew Lead at the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership Native Plant Nursery. He spent the first 20 years of his career working as a chef. During that time, he developed a passion for teaching and leading diverse groups of people as well as an appreciation of our connection with the natural world. He moved to Oregon in 2009 and settled on the coast with his wife, two cats, and an ever-changing number of chickens. His pursued his love of teaching by instructing students at the Lincoln City Culinary Center and Oregon Coast Community College . He is an avid gardener, hiker, beekeeper, rockhound, and traveler.

staff Conrad Ely

Conrad Ely

Habitat Restoration Project Manager

Conrad is one of TEP’s Habitat Restoration Project Managers. He grew up in Washington State, receiving his B.A. in Ecological Systems from Seattle University and his M.E.S. focused in Restoration Ecology from the Evergreen State College. In his previous professional lives Conrad coordinated conservation nurseries for the Sustainability in Prisons Project, ran restoration field crews on Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Integrated Training Area Management Program, and helped manage a non-profit housing construction project during the pandemic. He finds strength and purpose through stewardship and community uplift. He finds joy and passion in culinary arts and PNW sports. But more likely than not you’ll find him running his pup at the beach, rockhounding with his partner in our coastal rivers, or dancing to bluegrass in parts unknown.

staff Race Stryker

Race Stryker

Habitat Restoration Project Coordinator

Race is originally from Montana, but has lived many places, both near and far. Race has a B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the New College of Florida. He worked in forest ecology and agriculture before earning his M.S. in Marine Biology at the University of the Virgin Islands. Race has been focused on restoring coastal ecosystems and supporting the communities that rely on them in many different places. He is excited to lend his skills to working in the Tillamook area. Race likes to spend his time hiking, diving, and kayaking. Race is most content when he is working to help people protect the lands and waters they rely on, or when he sees a snake.

staff Christer LaBrecque

Christer LaBrecque

Habitat Restoration Project Manager

Christer has lived in western Oregon for 25 years after growing up in New England; both on the beach and in the mountains. He has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the U of O (’02). He’s been working on habitat restoration in the Willamette Valley for 20+ years in habitats such as floodplains, upland prairie, oak savanna, wet prairie, wetlands, as well as multiple forest habitat types. Christer has more than ten years of trail design, layout, construction, and maintenance and he’s been an ISA Certified Arborist since 2006. His professional experience includes almost ten years with the City of Eugene’s Natural Resources Section, around one year with the Long Tom and McKenzie Watershed Councils, and seven years with the McKenzie River Trust. He loves to recreate outdoors and is into hiking, camping, beachcombing, and kayaking. He’s a big Boston fan and also likes to play volleyball and softball. Christer can’t wait to get a new puppy and start the next phase of life with TEP on the north coast.

staff Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman

Environmental Education Coordinator

The Environmental Education Coordinator position is shared between TEP and Friends of Netarts Bay WEBS and is focused on expanding environmetnal eduation programs to all students in Tillamook County.

Born and raised in Astoria, Oregon, Rachel grew up with an interest in fisheries and passion for teaching. She graduated from Oregon State University in 2019 with a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences and a Minor in Spanish. Her favorite college experiences were studying Spanish in Queretaro, Mexico and later Conservation Biology and Coral Reef Ecology in Townsville, Australia. After graduating, Rachel spent seven seasons working as a Biological Science Assistant for multiple ODFW projects on the North Oregon Coast.

When she isn’t beach combing in Oceanside, Rachel is investing in her business, Saddle Mountain Beadwork. Using just a needle and thread, she weaves hundreds of tiny glass seed beads into earrings shaped like sea stars, patterned like cutthroat trout, and inspired by the ocean.

staff Diana DiMarco

Diana DiMarco

Communication & Engagement Coordinator

Diana DiMarco grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon and spent many weekends visiting Rockaway Beach. She received a Bachelor of Science in Marine and Conservation Biology from Seattle University and has worked as a biologist for the United States Geological Service and a fish counter for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. In her various roles and research projects, she has always looked for the intersections between communities and science, an interest she was able to explore more closely in an internship with The Kelp Forest Foundation. In the off seasons of those positions, she lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she learned Spanish and spent time with the Argentine side of her family. She is excited to be moving full time to the Oregon Coast with her partner and their adopted Siberian Husky, Bowie. In her free time, you can find her playing in the ocean with a boogie board or surfboard, walking Bowie on the beach, cooking Argentine empanadas, or enjoying the forest in Tillamook County.

staff Liz Campbell

Liz Campbell

Bookkeeper

Liz Campbell, a PNW native, moved back to the coast with her partner in 2021 to fulfill their dream of living closer to nature where they are working on setting up a small farm and homestead. Before moving to Tillamook and coming onboard with Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, Liz taught middle school science and engineering, both on the Oregon coast and in Southern Maryland on Chesapeake Bay. Liz returned home to Oregon in 2017 and began working with non-profit organizations in program management, quality assurance, and compliance. Liz is most excited about returning to small-town life to be able to meld together her love of science and the natural world with her training.

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Liane Welch P.E.

Building Project Manager

Liane Welch has been a resident of Bay City for 17 years. She is a professional civil engineer and was the Public Works Director for Tillamook County for 10 years, City Engineer for Tillamook for 3 years and Bay City City Manager for 2 years before retiring this last summer. She worked with TEP on many culvert replacement restoration projects over the last 17 years and she was a TEP Board member for 5 years and President of the Board for 3.

She loves to salmon fish and crab in Tillamook Bay with her husband Carl in their little fishing boat. Tillamook County is a small community and they love the rural aspect of living here. In small communities, people help each other when needed, and she values that. She often walks at Barview Jetty Park or Kilchis Point Reserve and enjoys the peace.

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Alyssa Purslow

Oregon Sea Grant Natural Resource Policy Fellow

Originally from Colorado, Alyssa developed a passion for the ocean despite residing in a landlocked state. Her journey led her to Oregon in 2016, where she enrolled at Oregon State University. Alyssa holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a minor in Oceanography. Currently, she is extending her academic pursuits through a Professional Science Master’s degree in Environmental Science, specializing in Water Resources, at the same university, with an expected graduation in the Spring of 2024. She is serving as a 2024 Natural Resource Policy Fellow through Oregon Sea Grant, and working remotely from the California Bay Area. She plans to venture into the Tillamook area during the summer season. Outside of work and academics, Alyssa enjoys spending quality time with family, friends, her cat Maverick, exploring new destinations, engaging in outdoor activities, and watching sports.