Founder/Director: Kristin Bowling
Kristin served as a ranger and peer leader in interpretation and education in the National Park Service for 15 years, and finished a Master’s degree in education at Portland State in 2012. After many years of living in rural areas around the Pacific Northwest, she fell in love with Portland’s wildland-urban interface. Her work coordinating after school programming at a SUN School and leading a Teen Naturalist Team for Portland Parks and Rec got her thinking about how to better connect youth from underserved neighborhoods with our amazing urban greenspaces, and she began efforts to found UNP-PDX in fall 2013.
Kristin’s experiences serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, mentoring and instructing students at Portland State and Saturday Academy, and serving on the Board of the Association of National Park Rangers have all informed her passion for connecting social justice and environmental issues. She spends her spare time kayaking, hiking, and playing in the snow in and around Portland; engaging in advocacy work; cooking up a feast from her garden plot; and riding her Honda Shadow on the windy roads out of town.
Intern: Kasia Bilhartz
From an early age, Kasia spent her days both exploring Koszalin, the city of her birth, and jumping in mud puddles at her grandparents farm in the Polish countryside. Embracing the intersection of urban life and the natural world continued to be a theme in her life when her family immigrated to the United States, and has informed her pursuit of work that nurtures the connection between humans and nature.
Kasia finished her BA in Human Services & Human Development at Prescott College in 2016, and is completing coursework for professional registration as a horticultural therapist. She has worked with a variety of local organizations in creating programs that bring people to nature, and nature to the individuals who experience barriers to the outdoors. In her spare time, Kasia revels in the company of the furry and feathered friends that reside on her small farm in the Columbia Gorge, especially her persnickety pig, Fay.
Mentor Highlight: Jimmy Whipps
Jimmy is a rare breed– born and raised in Portland! He’s come to love the many, many special outdoor places and natural areas within easy, day-trip distance. Jimmy has spent the past 15 years immersed in the world of 4th-8th grade students in Montessori schools, so working with Urban Nature Partners PDX has been an excellent fit. In addition to hanging out with his Junior Partner Eric since August 2015 and serving as an awesome carpool driver on group outings, he loves exploring global systems, future-planning, and guerrilla theater!
Mentor Highlight: Ashley Jamison
Ashley Jamison comes to Urban Nature Partners PDX with a love of science, education, and the great outdoors. Ashley finished a Master’s Degree in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 2011, and has worked since then in several positions for OMSI. In her free time, Ashley can be found playing guitar, reading, investigating local wilderness, chowing down on homemade sopes at her Junior Partner Yanett’s house, and telling anyone who will listen just how truly magnificent slugs are. In addition to mentoring with UNP-PDX since June 2014, Ashley serves on the Fundraising Work Group of our Administrative Committee.
Encore Fellow: Mark Stadick
In 2017, Social Venture Partners has matched UNP-PDX with an early retiree from Intel to help us complete our first strategic planning process. Mark has lived in the Portland area since he was a year old and considers himself an Oregon native, appreciating everything that makes the Pacific Northwest unique. He likes to spend time hiking, backpacking and playing in the dirt in the garden. After a long career in High Tech, Mark loves being out of the cube and in the community where he can combine skills he developed in the private sector with his love of nature to help create that experience for others.
Administrative Committee Highlight: Michelle DePass
UNP-PDX is thrilled to benefit from Michelle’s extensive expertise in racial equity and inclusion in the fields of housing and transportation. A native of inner Northeast Portland who has lived in Venezuela, Guadalajara, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, Michelle studied Community Development at PSU and Sustainable Business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Michelle considers herself a philanthropist, and assists us with community based fundraising.
As of February 2017, we are pleased to have Jessica Marlitt, mentor Ashley Jamison, Danielle Jones, Bryan Guiney, and Kristie Focht serve for a second year on our Administrative Committee, as well as advisor Eric Rosewall. This consensus based Committee assists UNP-PDX with critical work in strategic planning, fundraising, and mentor recruitment and training.