Dig In Community was founded in 2016 by four former coworkers who were determined to continue the legacy of environmental education through wetland restoration in the Portland Metro area. Inspired by their time in the field with students and teachers, and by the writings of Robert Louv, author of  "Last Child in the Woods", they were able to grow Dig In with support from some amazing funders, a stellar Steering Committee, and a non-profit fiscal agent, Cascade Pacific, who offered us a home in the nick of time. 



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Steve Kennett, Director and Co-Founder

Steve has over 20 years of experience in community involvement, outreach and natural resources. He developed and led SOLVE’s Team Up for Watershed Health program for 16 years. His responsibilities include maintaining landowner and regional partnerships, site restoration plans, and offering community service-learning restoration opportunities. Prior to his work with Dig In, he worked at SOLVE and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).


Becca Strohm, Field Coordinator

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Xiola Beauchamp-Logan, Field Assistant

Xiola is an Environmental Science major at Portland Community College. She got her first taste of service work around christmas time when she was in 5th grade, and was touched by the joy of giving back. This experience instilled a lifelong passion for hands on advocacy which she hopes to pass on to the next generation. She works with De LaSalle High School and Rex Putnam Middle School to restore urban streams in the Clackamas Watershed. 

Natalie K. Williams, Program and Field Assistant

Natalie has been an environmental enthusiast since a very young age, starting with turning off faucets while others were brushing their teeth and hoarding used strips of tinfoil. She joined the Dig In Community over the summer and has enjoyed immersing herself in all aspects of the operations, as a program and field assistant. She graduated in the spring of 2016 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies, hoping to save the world. Natalie is passionate about our environment and is continually trying to learn ways to be a steward to the planet she loves so much. She enjoys playing roller derby, going to see live music, and dreams of having dragon wings. 


McLean Cannon, Field Assistant

McLean started with Dig In Community as a Field Assistant in March of 2017. He hails from Juneau, Alaska and credits the wild, outdoorsy spirit of his home state for his appreciation for nature and adventure. He graduated from the U of O in 2015, and after completing a year of service with Jesuit Volunteer Corps, in Cleveland, Ohio, a section hike of the Appalachian Trail, and a 3-month road trip around America, he landed in Portland to pursue a career in elementary education. Since moving to Portland, he has worked with Trackers, a wilderness survival, outdoor summer camp, and is currently employed as an after-school teacher at an elementary school, in addtion to his work with Dig In. He currently works with the German International School and West Linn High School.

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Emily Olsen, Field Assistant

Emily is an adventurous, friendly, outgoing Field Assistant with Dig in Community. She graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor's of Science in General Biology. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in teaching and environmental education in the near future. Her passions are conservation, science education, and going on adventures outside in nature. She loves to share her passions with Clackamas and Gladstone High Schools to help foster connections between the students and their community while restoring local critical habitats.  


After planting trees together for many years, the Dig In Community Founders came up with a plan to teach the next generation about riparian restoration.  A hard working group of community-minded environmentalists, our four founders, Steve Kennett, Karen Goldburg, Ember McCoy, and Nicole Poletto planted the seed for the Dig In Community you see today.


Karen Goldburg, Co-Founder

Karen is a former environmental educator and program coordinator in Portland, OR. She is currently away from the PNW as she works toward her Master's Degree in Behavior, Education, and Communication from the University of Michigan. She plans to return to the PNW after grad school to continue connecting communities to the natural environment and encouraging the next generation of environmental leaders.


Ember McCoy, Co-Founder

Ember is a former environmental educator in Portland, OR. She just finished her Master's in Environmental Justice at the University of Michigan and is passionate about increasing opportunities in the environmental field for students from traditionally under-represented backgrounds. She currently works as a project manager creating professional development and networking opportunities for diverse students in the Environmental Fellows Program and Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program.


Nicole Poletto, Co-Founder

Nicole has extensive experience as a program coordinator for an environmental education program engaging K-12 students in hands-on service learning opportunities. She recently received her Master's from the UC-Santa Barbara's Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and is passionate about getting youth outdoors and connected to nature. In addition to Dig In, Nicole also founded a non-profit for teens with Asperger's Syndrome and Branchout Games, Santa Barbara's first outdoor escape room.


Dig In Community's Steering Committee is a group of proactive, passionate, and committed environmental professionals in the Portland Metro area. They work hard to keep Dig In alive and growing through their support in financial management, event planning, social media support, and so much more! We are undoubtedly thankful for each and every one of them.


Galen Schmitt

Galen is a father, husband, and teacher in East Portland. He has his Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science and a Master's Degree in Teaching. Galen brings this teaching expertise, along with his experience as a long-time SOLVE Stream Team Captain, to the Dig In Steering Committee. Outside of teaching, Galen is a traveler, music appreciator, and gardener.



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Monica Gunderson

Monica is a program coordinator in Portland, OR, working with communities, businesses, and agencies across Oregon and SW Washington to implement volunteer litter pickup and natural area restoration projects. She loves to volunteer with youth at robotics classes in North Portland - Go Jefferson Democrats! When not in the office or classroom, Monica can be found exploring beautiful places by foot, ski, bicycle, or book. She is a big fan of learning about new ecosystems and enjoys a good time removing clematis


Sage Jensen

Sage is a biologist with over 20 years of experience conducting biological surveys and natural resource assessments throughout the Pacific Northwest. She started her own environmental consulting company in 2012, and works with public-sector clients to minimize effects to fish, wildlife and the environment.  She is a long-term volunteer instructor, holding introductory workshops in native plant identification throughout the year. In her free time, Sage volunteers with her certified therapy dog at schools and senior centers.


Maria Cahill

Maria earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. She's collaborated on interdisciplinary teams to implement sustainable water systems on development projects for almost 20 years.  Maria has trained professionals in the public and private sector throughout Western Oregon and beyond, providing technical resources and tools to help them meet water quality regulations.  Today, Maria serves as a Program Manager at Recode, an organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to water reuse and other sustainable building systems.


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Kirsten Tilleman

Kirsten is an environmental and safety/security transit planner by day and outdoor enthusiast by day and night. Her undergraduate degree in natural resources from Oregon State’s College of Forestry culminated in a thesis on the importance of early childhood experiences in the outdoors—a passion she transfers to her support of Dig In. Kirsten holds a Master’s in Environmental Science and Management and in her free time enjoys ceramics, anything active, and exploring the natural wonders of Oregon and beyond.