Advisory Board Members


Celeste Searles-Mazzacano - Celeste is a scientist, educator, and naturalist with a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Minnesota.  She has two decades of experience in education, research, and conservation, specializing in insects and other invertebrates in aquatic systems. She works with governmental and non-profit organizations, natural resource agencies, and educators from Saskatchewan, Canada to Tabasco, México. Celeste designed Willamette Riverkeeper’s assessments of freshwater mussels at Norwood Island and in Eugene.

Torey Wakeland - Torey is an Aquatic Biologist with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s Natural Resources Department. He is an expert on fish of the Willamette Basin as well as Pacific Lamprey. He has years of field experience working to track and recover native fish. Torey is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde.


Mike Houck - After heading up the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s Community Research Center and teaching biology at Oregon Episcopal School, Mike found his life-long calling as an advocate for urban greenspace protection in 1982 when he launched the Urban Naturalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland. In 1999 Mike founded the Urban Greenspaces Institute to continue his work at the local and regional scale to ensure the integration of nature into the urban fabric.

Since 1982, Mike has actively pushed for the creation of a metropolitan wildlife refuge system. Such advocacy helped launch Metro’s Metropolitan Greenspaces Program (now Parks and Nature). He continues to work for the expansion of the Portland-Vancouver region’s system of parks, trails and natural areas — the Intertwine.

He is an advocate for integrating the natural and built environments through the protection of natural green infrastructure and creation of built green infrastructure. Mike also works locally and regionally to ensure the city and region adopt policies that mitigate and adapt to climate change. Mike has been recognized locally, regionally and internationally for his work.


Barbara May - Barbara May came to Oregon in 1976, having earned the Ph.D. from the University of Utah. She was a professor of Spanish Literature at the UO for over 30 years.  She directed many study abroad programs in Central and South America as well as Spain.

Growing up in inner city Denver, in the so-called barrio, she didn't have much of a connection to the natural world.  But after 3 years in Colorado's high country at a small state college she knew that nature was something she wanted to dedicate at least part of her life to.  Coming to Oregon and eventually working with Willamette Riverkeeper sealed the deal!

She has been a whitewater canoeist for over 30 years and a certified whitewater rafting guide for 16 as well as a bilingual/bicultural liaison in Costa Rica, directing educational adventure trips for over 20 years.