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Marcella Henkels has been a resident of Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District 2 since 1988. She enjoys living on acreage of mixed pasture and oak savannah north of Corvallis. After moving to the property, her family bought the resident cows and had a small cow-calf operation which lasted 20 years. More recently, the farm animals are smaller and more diverse, with a variety of market lambs, meat and egg-laying chickens, turkeys, and goats. She also grows a large vegetable garden. Her family was involved with Benton County 4-H for 10 years, where her son raised market lambs and dairy goats.
Marcella is a retired plant pathologist with a 30 year research career (23 years at the Corvallis USDA Horticultural Crops Research Unit) working mostly on the mechanisms of biological-control of soil-borne pathogens. She has a BS in Botany from Utah State University and an MS degree in Plant Pathology from Colorado State University. She currently creates ceramic art which often reflects themes of agriculture and nature. She enjoys canoeing, birding, exploring the local surrounds, and wild mushroom foraging.
Jerry’s formal education is in Architecture and Urban Planning. He worked as an Urban Planner at both the city and county level before becoming a principal partner in a planning consulting firm based in San Francisco, CA. He preferred working in the public sector, so he left the private sector and went to work for the City of Salinas, CA.
For the first 15 years at the City, he worked as a Senior Planner, Assistant Community Development Director, and Community Development Director. He then changed careers and became the Information Technology Manager for the City. For the next 17 years, he directed the computer and telephone operations and developed the City’s GIS system, retiring in July 2004.
During his working career in the Salinas Valley, he and his wife, Judith, owned and ran a cow/calf cattle operation. Their interest in landscaping with native plants brought many new species of birds to their ranch. Before selling their ranch and relocating to Corvallis in August 2006, they had recorded 90 species of birds on the ranch. In addition to birding, his other areas of interest are carpentry and woodworking.
Jerry served for four years on the board of directors of the Audubon Society of Corvallis. He worked on the interpretive trail and the revitalization of the Hesthavn Barn, now being used as ASC’s educational facility.
He started as a Chintimini Wildlife Center volunteer in November 2006, was elected to the board in March 2008, and was elected President in July 2009. He also serves as Chintimini’s site manager.
Jerry has worked on the annual Native Plant Sale for the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District for several years and was elected as a District Director in November 2012.
We’re currently searching for a Board Zone Director to represent southwest Benton County! Learn more and apply here: Board Director Elections
Kerry Hastings and her husband, Mike, moved to Oregon from Indianapolis, Indiana in 2017 to settle on a small vineyard and woodland west of Alpine, situated in the Upper Muddy Creek Watershed. As a Purdue (Indiana) master gardener Kerry developed an interest in native plant species that support biodiversity; an interest that continues with the move to Benton County. In particular, she is motivated to protect the old Oregon white oaks on their property and work to restore the oak savannah and woodland. Her mission is to eliminate invasive weeds: Himalayan Blackberry beware!
Originating from the United Kingdom, Kerry’s education in agricultural chemistry and soil science led to a career she describes as “a corporate research and teaching sandwich” which included eight years in R&D investigating the fate of xenobiotic chemicals in soil, air and water; a decade teaching 11th and 12th grade chemistry in the UK and Indianapolis, then a return to the agricultural chemical industry with seven years in regulatory management, rounding out her career as a human health risk assessor, modeling human exposure to agricultural chemicals.
Always a country person at heart Kerry is thrilled to be immersed in nature once again. An avid hiker and outdoorswoman she regards her adopted state of Oregon as her forever home. In addition to advocating for environmental conservation she has volunteered for the Alpine Community Center at the Monroe Resale Store for the past four years and was a committee member for the Monroe Farmers Market in 2019. A keen stained glass artist she was one of the founding members of the Monroe Arts Association.
Nate has lived in Benton County since 2013, and has been a gardener since 2009. He and his wife, Yadira Ruiz, operate Sunbow Produce, an organic fruit and vegetable farm on the outskirts of Philomath and Corvallis. Along with a livelihood, he gets daily instruction in natural dynamics, horticulture, local ecology, landscape design, business and resource management, personal limitations, and the mighty power of cooperation. He’s devoted to improving the health of the soils he stewards and wants to ensure future farmers and gardeners also have opportunities to thrive. He’s a member of the Marys River Grange, the Dry Farming Collaborative, a volunteer with Ten Rivers Food web, and an advocate for true food security, for everybody, for the long haul.
Eliza holds a BS in molecular biology and a PhD in microbiology. After years of working and volunteering at different farms, Eliza found the perfect spot to found Lilliputopia in Monroe, OR. This “tiny eco-farm,” which is named after the famous little people in Gulliver’s Travels, was created to serve as a model for sustainability and local community building. Her primary interests include dry farming and natural building, and she hunts for wild mushrooms when she has free time.
Associate Director since 1995. BS in natural science and a M.S. in environmental soil science. Rana is an avid naturalist and outdoors adventurer. Supports Corvallis Chapter of the Audubon Society through volunteering for conservation projects/issues. Assists Natural Resources Conservation Service with archaeological and natural resource projects. Involved with the City of Corvallis Development issues as a concerned citizen.
Henry grew up on the banks of the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Science. Since moving to Corvallis, he has enjoyed spending time along the Willamette and the many other water bodies that crisscross Benton County. He is currently a graduate student at Oregon State University in the Water Resources Policy and Management program, where his research focuses on the rights of nature and the development of collaborative governance structures. Henry is a Student Associate representing the North American Youth Parliament for Water.