Michelle Miller, President
Michelle has been a Friends Board member for over nine years and “discovered” the Refuge, working at an information booth at the annual Bird Festival. She immediately fell in love with the place, the people and the vision that is the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. Michelle is a land use planner, working in the Community Planning section of Washington County’s Department of Land Use and Transportation for four years. Before that she worked for over nine years at City of Sherwood as a Senior Planner.
Originally from Dubuque, Iowa, Michelle has lived in Oregon for 25 years with her husband, Vincent, son Logan and two dogs. Michelle has Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa, a law degree from Willamette of University, College of Law and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University. Prior to her career in land use planning, Michelle was an advocate for abused and neglected children, representing children in need of assistance proceedings in Iowa and Oregon. She has NO science background but loves to learn about plants, birds and animals, and natural resource conservation and all the great work taking place at the Refuge.
Alan Christensen, Past President, Restoration Committee Chair
Alan is a retired wildlife biologist who has worked for Federal, State and non-profit conservation organizations for over 40 years. His work took him to most western States, several Canadian provinces, Far Eastern Russia, and Lebanon. He received his BS and MS degrees in wildlife science from Oregon State University, served in the US Navy, and then resided and worked predominantly in Montana, Idaho and Oregon, where he is retired and residing in Portland. He was lucky to work with big game, bears, forest raptors, neotropical songbirds and their habitat. He and his wife Judy enjoy hiking, gardening, floating rivers and camping.
Willem Stoeller, Treasurer
Willem has been working with non-profit organizations for over 25 years starting with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, followed by naturalist with Bay Net in Monterey, volunteer at the visitor center and naturalist at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, skipper for Sea Scouts of America and since January last year volunteer at our visitor center. He also spent 7 years on boards of different non-profit organizations. Recently Willem joined the Friends board as treasurer and immediately dived into the secrets of 503(c) (3) accounting, especially the fascinating reading of FASB #116.
Irene Vlach, Secretary
Irene has been involved with non-profits her whole life, starting with the University of Waterloo PERG board (Ontario, Canada). For 25 years she was an active member of the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club High Desert Committee. She served on the Columbia Group executive committee and earned several awards from the Club.
Irene was the grassroots organizer of the newly formed Oregon Conservation Network in 1995, and from 1995 to 2009 was program assistant for The Lazar Foundation. After moving temporarily back to her native Switzerland she returned to Portland to work for 2 years for The Intertwine Alliance as office manager.
Upon retirement in 2014, she started volunteering for the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. Her primary contribution to the Friends has been staffing the Visitor Center. She took the Naturalists’ training, spent a season doing an early morning kestrel nesting survey and helped collect and prepare for preservation plant specimens under the guidance of Ginny at the Wapato unit. In the spring of 2018 she joined the Membership Strategy Committee.
Bonnie Anderson, Chair Tualatin River Bird Festival
Bonnie has been a Friends Board member since 2008 and is Chair of the Annual Tualatin River Bird Festival and Native Plant Sale since 2010. The Tualatin Festival draws between 900-1300 visitors to the Refuge on a single day and is a free, family-friendly event. Bonnie's favorite part about being a Friends member is enjoying volunteering at the Refuge with her family and encouraging her children to find their role in nature conservation. Bonnie can be found most days on the Refuge, working on behalf of the Friends organization.
Dawn Carovano, Membership Coordinator
Cheryl Hart, President Emeritus, Store Chair
Cheryl has been working with nonprofit organizations for over 30 years serving in both staff and Board positions with various groups. She joined Friends when she moved to Portland in 2005 and has served on the Board since 2006. She is Chair of the Store Committee and serves on several other Friends Committees. She served as President of the Board from 2011- 2015.
Tom Hartz, President Emeritus, Environmental Education Committee Chair
Tom Hartz, PhD, is a retired scientist with 6 years university teaching experience and over 35 years in medical device and diagnostics research, development and product support. He has served for over 10 years on the boards of non-profits devoted to education and child development. He joined the Friends Board in 2014. Tom is a Volunteer Naturalist, the 2015 Youth Camp Committee Chair, and is a member of the Governance Committee, the Education Committee and the Photography Society. The Refuge fuels Tom's passions for sharing the wonders of nature with others, particularly with kids, and continuing to learn about wildlife and habitats with the Friends and FWS.
Keith Mays, President Emeritus
In addition to his service on the Board of Friends of TRNWR, Keith is also the current Mayor of Sherwood, Oregon. He was re-elected in March and November of 2018. He previously served four years as council president (2001-05) and eight years as mayor of Sherwood from 2005-13. Over the past 20-plus years, Mayor Mays has served as president of the Oregon Mayors Association, the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and the Willamette River Water Coalition. He has also served as a member of Metro’s MPAC and on several League of Oregon Cities committees (is currently their Treasurer).
Keith is a third generation Oregonian, a graduate of North Eugene H.S. and Linfield College, local trade sector business owner, and resident of Sherwood for more than 20 years. Mayor Mays is a Sherwood Rotarian and currently sits on boards and committees for several local and regional non-profit and government organizations advocating for and serving Sherwood families.
Sharon Miller, Store Business Manager
Sharon has been volunteering at the Refuge for over ten years, and has been on the Board since 2011. She is the Business Manager for the Nature’s Overlook retail store and, along with the FWS, supervises the Friends Interpretive Program Coordinator. She is retired from managing staff and programs for seniors and people with disabilities at the state and local level in Oregon and continues to volunteer as a personal advocate for seniors experiencing financial, health or legal issues. She serves on two other non-profit boards and is a Certified Master Recycler
After retirement, Phyllis became a "birder" and started volunteering at the Refuge as a Trail Rover. She has always enjoyed camping and hike, and now that she has grandchildren, she enjoys it even more. Phyllis began her professional life in social services and ended in the health and safety field. Many of her positions involved developing educational programs for adults, including state-wide conferences. Volunteering has always been a part of her life serving on several boards including as President of the Salem YMCA. She has also served on the Planning Commission for the City of Wilsonville. She became a Volunteer Naturalist in 2018. Phyllis enjoys volunteering at the Kid's Summer Camp, alternative Outdoor School, Bird festival and especially the creatures of the Night program.
Keith Palevsky is a resident of Forest Grove and a frequent visitor and fan of the Tualatin River Refuge. Keith's professional career spans 10 years with Intel Corporation, and more than 13 years combined in finance roles with Amkor Technology, FLIR Systems, and the Oregon State Bar. Keith works currently at Lam Research in Tualatin.
Tom Stibolt, IT Chair
Tom is a retired physician who has been involved with the refuge since before its creation. He and his wife Lisa donated the initial 12 acre parcel that made the refuge a reality. Since then, he has volunteered at Saturday work parties. He is the website editor and looks forward to more involvement with the Friends.