Our Team

Meet our wonderful team

Karen Walsh - Executive Director

Karen has lived in Central Oregon for 13 years, and has been volunteering for and working at Discover Your Forest ever since. She has served in nearly every capacity possible at the organization, and is now at the helm. Her respect and appreciation for our unique National Forests and Grassland come from a deep and life-long love of the natural world. She hikes our trails, standup paddle boards our rivers, gardens with our native plants, excitedly admires our wildlife, and gives back to the land with consistency and determination. Her ability to unite others for a common cause, creatively dream up new offerings, and her passion for creating space for all people on our shared lands ushers in a new and exciting era for our growing nonprofit.

Davey Pearson - Volunteer & Career Pathways Program Manager

Joining our team in 2022, Davey brings a wide variety of experience to the organization, including time working for nonprofits and experience working for and with the U.S. Forest Service. While our volunteer and career pathways programs have been an integral part of our service for the last decade, Davey brings new and exciting approaches to connecting with volunteers, streamlining protocols and procedures, enhancing current programs, and developing beneficial relationships with students and school groups. Davey is a wildlife watching, plant identifying, adventure enthusiast and we are thrilled to have his skillset added to our organization.

Gail Whelan - Retail Operations Coordinator & Business Manager

Gail joined the Discover Your Forest team in 2012. She is responsible for managing 13 sites in Central Oregon, including 6 Ranger Stations, 2 Welcome Stations and 5 Visitors Centers across the region. Gail coordinates and oversees recreation pass sales, chooses and stocks all our retail items, and oversees several seasonal staff members. Gail also does HR and bookkeeping for us. Extremely knowledgeable, organized and helpful, Gail ensures that we reach our goal of improving visitor experiences across the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland. When Gail is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, son-in-law and 4 grandchildren.

Emily Curtis - Wildland Fire Education Coordinator

Emily has recently joined the team to coordinate public outreach and education programs on fire science associated with forest restoration and wildland fire risk reduction on the Deschutes National Forest. She’s keenly interested in natural and social systems and their relationships to communities. Having worked for state and federal forestry agencies, Emily brings her forest management, public engagement, and partner collaboration skills to this new program. When she’s not out adventuring by foot, ski, or paddleboard on  public lands, you can typically find her curled up with a good book and her kitties.

Laken Bosé - Education & Interpretive Programs Manager

Laken has recently joined our team to provide kindergarten through 12th grade conservation education at land sites across the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests. She fell in love with the outdoors as a young girl exploring the deserts and forests of the west coast, allowed to follow her curiosities freely. That sense of curiosity and adventure draws in her students; whether she’s teaching about the water cycle, our local volcanoes, or showing kids how to walk with snowshoes on. When Laken isn’t working, you’ll be able to spot her in her preferred habitat: backpacking, kayaking, and climbing with a corgi at her side.

Sarah Edwards - Outreach Coordinator

Sarah joined the Discover Your Forest team in the summer of 2023 as part of a shared outreach coordinator position with Deschutes Collaborative Forest and Deschutes Trails coalition and she has been cranking away at outreach for us ever since! Sarah coordinates our social media, newsletters, community outreach, events and more. Before coming to Discover Your Forest Sarah was a bike travel guide and cycling trip designer for many years, a counselor for a wilderness therapy program in Utah and most recently doing events and community outreach for a bike shop in Bend. Sarah holds degrees in Environmental Science and Anthropology from the University of Arizona and has a passion for the natural world and the interpersonal connections it creates. When she's not creating outreach materials and opportunities for us, she can be found coaching youth mountain bike programs, leading women's group mountain bike rides, running local trails, riding her bike, skiing or doing pretty much anything that gets her outside.

Christin Shapiro - Forest Stewards Coordinator

Christin Shapiro is the newest team member with Discover Your Forest. She is developing and coordinating our new volunteer opportunity, the Forest Stewards. The focus of the Forest Stewards program is to engage visitors in the forest, to make them feel welcome and provide opportunities for education on topics such as forest stewardship, alternative recreation opportunities and our fire dependent ecosystem. She comes to us with years of experience working with volunteers and program development. Growing up in Bend, Oregon and spending most of her time in the forest she believes as a community we can be the best forest stewards. You will often find her at one of the cascade lakes with her family and dogs.

Looking to join our team?

We do not have any current openings available.

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