Board & Staff

Board Members

Julie holds degrees from the University of Texas in Mathematics (B.A. 1970) and Computer Science & Educational Psychology (M.A. 1974). In 1976, after a brief stint as a systems programmer at IBM, Julie moved to Josephine County to work as a river guide on the Wild Rogue River. In 1983 she began a 30-year career in forest and river conservation, working for three Rogue Valley nonprofits: Headwaters, Siskiyou Regional Education Project, and Geos Institute. Her roles included public outreach, media relations, event coordination, and fundraising. She was awarded the Conservationist of the Year Award from Oregon Wild (1992) and the Environmental Hero Award from the Wilderness Society (1998). Julie is now retired in Ashland and still running rivers for fun. We are lucky to welcome her to our team.

Jerry Allen moved to Oregon from California in 2014 and bought a small farm in Selma along Deer Creek. He and his partner farm fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs and chickens using regenerative agriculture methods, as well as making fermented foods. Jerry has a bachelors degree in Anthropology, a Masters in Public Health and an investment and financial planning certificate, all from UC Berkeley and a masters in Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies. He is a California licensed LMFT trauma therapist since 1991. He retired from a 24 year career supervising social workers for Human Services in Sonoma County, where he was also for 9 years a publicly elected pension trustee and board chair for 3 years. Jerry now volunteers for environmental organizations and conducts children’s educational programs in schools and libraries via songs, puppet folktales and playing guitar, banjo and accordion. He believes educating children about the environment should be fun and entertaining. He also volunteers as Vice-President of the Cave Junction Farmers Market and as a support volunteer with the Illinois Valley Fire District, where he holds an Oregon Emergency Medical Responder license.
Vicki hails from the Hudson Valley area of NY. She is the recently retired Superintendent of the Caves National Monument and holds an A.S. degree in Biology from Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, a B.S. degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, with a major in forest biology, and an M.S. from University of WI in Green Bay. She is passionate about public land and has worked for the National Park Service for most of her career including:
Theodore Roosevelt NP in North Dakota
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island NM 
Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River (PA/NY)
Craters of the Moon NM in Idaho
Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska
We are pleased to have her on our board to utilize her incredible public service record and management skills.
Aaron was raised in Ashland and now works in the technology industry as a software engineer, specializing in virtual reality, LIDAR, and artificial intelligence. He is chief technology officer of a small startup company in Boston, MA. He is Board President of the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland. His other great love is music and playing violin. Aaron recently produced an hour-long nature documentary called “Klamath,” including his cinematography, drone work, editing, and narration. Through technology, music, and film, he seeks to “share glimpses of our world from perspectives we couldn’t reach before.”

Aaron grew up backpacking in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, and over time he began to understand the region’s biological significance on a global scale. “SFI is one of my favorite organizations in S. Oregon and N. California, because of its approach to educating both children and adults about this place that is very special to me.”

Phoebe grew up in Ashland Oregon after her family moved from the Illinois Valley, where they lived for 20 years. Her parents, Dr. Jim Shames and Heidi Parker, helped found the Takilma Peoples’ Clinic (now the Siskiyou Community Health Center). Growing up in the Klamath Siskiyou Ecoregion sparked Phoebe‘s love for the outdoors, and she is now getting her doctorate in environmental science, policy, and management at UC Berkeley. For her dissertation research, she returned to Josephine County in order to do conservation-relevant research and give back to her community.


Christine is an east coast transplant who has lived in the Grants Pass area since 2016. Since receiving her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from UNC Chapel Hill, Christine has worked in a variety of landscapes and roles centered around experiencing, sharing, and protecting the outdoors. These roles have included wilderness trek leader, environmental educator, Outdoor School coordinator, and park ranger on the Rogue River. Outside of work, Christine enjoys west coast swing dancing, dabbling in new art mediums, horseback riding, and nerding out over plants. She is very excited to be joining an already amazing team piloting SFI!

Brandi Patterson is a locally grown Oregonian, she loves to get out and experience the outdoors and ride her quad. She is often found in the far reaches of the backcountry taking beautiful photographs. She is a mother and an organizer of all things SFI.

We are so thrilled to have Brandi on our dream team!

Our beloved Caretaker of over a decade, Lillie retired and moved from Virginia in 2009 to fill the position of Security Caretaker at Siskiyou Field Institute. She has a diverse background in hospitality and customer service, psychology and criminal law, and motivational training and education. She is devoted to providing an exciting welcoming experience to lovers of our natural world here at SFI.