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District Staff and Associates

Crosson in 1980 with calf, Crosson in 2013 with yellow lab
Crosson in 1980 with calf, Crosson in 2013 with yellow lab

Holly Crosson

Executive Director

541-231-2522 (work cell)
541-753-7208 ext. 201 (office direct line)
Holly Crosson joined Benton SWCD as the new District Manager in January 2013. She is an aquatic ecologist, botanist, and educator with more than 25 years of experience in natural resource planning/management, sustainable agricultural practice, and community outreach related to conservation and stewardship on public and private lands. While working for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Water Quality Division, Holly oversaw the state’s Aquatic Invasive Species Management Program and led aquatic and riparian habitat restoration projects in collaboration with landowners, watershed councils, and other local, state, and federal partners. In 2002 she moved west and began working at the University of California, Davis, in several capacities, including with the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, UC Sea Grant Extension, and the UC Davis Arboretum and Botanical Garden. While at UC Davis she initiated and led many programs and collaborative partnerships, from drafting the State Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan and developing Best Practices with the aquarium, aquaculture, and horticulture industries, to designing educational exhibits, developing outreach materials, and implementing watershed/habitat protection training programs for master gardeners, irrigation districts, natural resource professionals, and others. Prior to moving to Corvallis in the spring of 2012, Holly spent five years living and working on a 145-acre organic farm in the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. Holly is thrilled to be working with BSWCD staff, Directors, and partners to ensure healthy watersheds and a strong natural resources legacy in Benton County.

Michael Ahr

Natural Resources Conservation Program Manager

541-231-2615 (work cell)
541-753-7208 ext. 202 (office direct line)
Michael joined Benton SWCD in April 2021 and will oversee conservation programs as well as coordinate the Willamette Mainstem Cooperative and the Invasive Species Program. Before coming to Benton SWCD, he worked as the Forest Conservationist at West Multnomah SWCD for 11 years assisting woodland owners in developing and implementing management plans for their properties. Forest restoration projects included thinning, habitat enhancements such as native pollinator work, invasive species control, and erosion prevention.
Michael also worked for two years in Olympia, Washington as the Outreach Specialist in the Small Forest Landowner Office at the Washington Department of Natural Resources. While at DNR, he also worked with the Natural Areas Program to identify and eradicate invasive species, survey prairie habitats to collect seed from native habitats for sensitive butterflies and assisted with an Oregon white oak release project. He has also worked on streamside restoration projects with the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District and presented education programs with the Tillamook State Forest.
He has a B.S. in Natural Resources & Wildlife Management from Ohio State University and a M.S. in Forest Resources at Oregon State University with a focus on Natural Resources Education & Extension and a minor in Adult Education. Michael grew up in Colorado and Ohio and enjoys visiting the mountains and Oregon Coast with his wife and 2 boys.

Donna in the 80s and with daughter and bird
Donna in the 80s and with daughter and bird

Donna Schmitz

Resource Conservationist II

541-753-7208 ext. 203 (office direct line)
Donna has over 30 years of experience in natural resource management.  In her current position, Donna provides natural resource technical assistance to Benton County landowners who seek solutions to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and wildlife habitat and assists them in finding funding sources to help pay for conservation work. Prior to her work with the Benton SWCD, she was Project Manager of a large watershed scale research project conducted through the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, monitoring the effects of agricultural nutrient and pest management practices on water quality in Iowa.  Past projects included conducting hydrologic analysis of storm water and developing storm water storage and soil erosion control plans for proposed urban development.  With the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Donna evaluated highly erodible land and developed conservation plans for federal farm program participants. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, South America teaching agro-forestry concepts at an agricultural school. She has a B.S. in Forest Management.

Teresa as a baby and an adult
Teresa as a baby and an adult

Teresa Matteson

Resource Conservationist I

541-753-7208 ext. 204 (office direct line)
With a passion for decomposition, Teresa has practiced composting at home and shared methods with her community for about a quarter century. Collaboration with local and state-wide partners provides many opportunities for Teresa to explore soil health. Teresa’s Soil Quality Project encourages farmers to make management decisions that improve soil function, reduce production inputs and protect the environment. She participates at many community events from Forest Camp to OSU’s Non-profit Career Fair.

Heath as a child wearing overalls climbing and as an adult taking soil samples
Heath as a child wearing overalls climbing and as an adult taking soil samples

Heath Keirstead

Communications and Community Engagement Manager

541-753-7208 ext. 205 (office direct line)
With a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont and an M.S. in Soil Science from Oregon State University, Heath is able to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for the natural world with interested Benton County residents. Heath has worked for Benton SWCD since 2006, and received the Employee of the Year Award from Oregon Conservation Education & Assistance Network (OCEAN) in 2014. Heath loves being a part of the team at Benton SWCD. Some of her favorite projects include Salmon Watch, Bee Buddies, and creating informative publications. Check out our Rural Living Handbook, the Water Weed Guide, our 2014-15 Annual Report focused on the Willamette River, 2015-16 Annual Report focused on pollinators, and the Benton SWCD Strategic Plan brochure.

Linda as a toddler and adult with dogs
Linda as a toddler and adult with dogs

Linda Lovett

Operations Manager

541-753-7208 ext. 200 (office direct line)
Linda joined Benton SWCD as Operations Manager in October 2019. She is a native of Seattle and daughter of a fourth-generation Oregonian but lived in the Midwest (Illinois) and on the east coast (Virginia) for 30 years. She used her exile to earn degrees in English (B.A.), International Relations (M.A.), and Library Science (M.S.). In 2000 Linda was reintroduced to her natural Pacific Northwest habitat when she moved to Corvallis to work for Hewlett-Packard. Participation in the HP Sustainability Network and research on topics such as product stewardship and corporate social responsibility sparked her passion for sustainability work, and she began pursuing yet another degree—a Master’s in Sustainable Business from Presidio University. In 2006, Linda become the City of Corvallis’s first sustainability officer and in 2007 represented the City as a founding member of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. Linda continues to be involved in local climate action, including serving on the City of Corvallis Climate Action Advisory Board.

Amy as a child and adult
Amy as a child and adult

Amy Kaiser

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Benton/Linn District Conservationist

Amy Kaiser has worked for NRCS since 2006 and began her career in Montana after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management from the University of Tennessee. She has worked in Oregon since 2014 and transferred to the Tangent NRCS Field Office from the Klamath Falls Service Center in 2018. While in the High Plains of Montana, and the High Desert Basin of Oregon, she worked with multiple partners on many projects including soil health, water quantity and quality, forest health and resilience, plant and animal habitat, and riparian management. She is looking forward to working in the Willamette Basin and learning more about the Grass Seed Capital of the World.

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