Our Team

Veronica Vega, Vámonos Outside Program Specialist

Veronica Vega (she,/her) is a first generation Mexican-American and has always made her mami wonder why she is forever drawn to the woods and can’t sit still. She is a […]

Eduardo Romero, Vámonos Outside Program Specialist

My name is Eduardo Romero and I was born in Bend, Oregon. Unlike many other Latinx I was fortunate enough to get into the outdoors. I participate in most of the major […]

Molly Alles, NatureHoods Coordinator and Camp Chica Instructor

  Molly Alles (she/her) was born and raised among the mountains, forests, and rivers of Trinity County; schooled, trained, and refined as an educator among the Redwood forests and rugged […]

Wesley Heredia, Vámonos Outside Program Coordinator

Wesley Heredia (he, him) serves as the Vámonos Outside Program Coordinator.  Wes, an avid snowboarder and rock climber, was born in Los Angeles, California. He has been a field instructor […]

Katie Chipko, Executive Director

Katie Chipko (she, her) has been with the Children’s Forest of Central Oregon since 2012.  She holds a deep belief in the many positive benefits that time outdoors provides for […]

Board of Directors


Rae Alberg

Founder and Director, Bend Forest School


Rika Ayotte (Past President)

Executive Director, Deschutes Land Trust


Sue Boettner

Recreation Services Manager, Bend Park and Recreation District


Monica Bergmann

Regional Bilingual Support Specialist, High Desert ESD


Linda Bonotto

Retired School Teacher


Alex Enna (Ex officio)

Partnerships and Conservation Education Program Manager (detail), Deschutes National Fore


Gwen Jones (President)

Project Manager, Central Oregon Health Council


Joe O’Neill (Treasurer)

Commercial Credit Analyst, Columbia Bank


Anna Higgins (Ex officio)

Director of Innovation, High Desert Education Service District


Tory Kurtz

Rangeland Management Specialist, Ochoco National Forest


Lauren Williams (President Elect)

Communications Manager, The Environmental Center


Lesley Zavala

School Counselor, Caldera High School






Equity Committee:  Committee Job Description

Laura Handy (co-chair), Zavier Borja (co-chair), Kathya Avila Choquez, Priscilla Calleros, Karen Gentry, Becca Gilbert, Alyssa Grove, Amanda Jamison, Kecia Kubota, Kinsey Martin, Tyler McRae, Kileen Mitchell, Carolyn Nesbitt, Jill Nishball, Sasha Sulia, Sophia Anguilla, Karina Smith, Mary Bowker, Katie Chipko, Jacqueline Ruggieri, Amanda Odell


Program Committee:  Committee Job Description

Katie Chipko (chair), Alyssa Grove, Karen Gentry, Carolyn Nesbitt, Becca Gilbert, Kileen Mitchell, Jill Nishball, Jennifer Mickelson, Tyler McRae, Eric Denzler, Amanda Accamando, Amanda Odell, Jacqueline Ruggieri


Marketing Committee:  Committee Job Description

Lauren Williams (chair), Kassidy Kern, Amy Jensen, Becca Burda, Katie Chipko,Amanda Odell


Fundraising Committee:  Committee Job Description

Kolleen Miller (chair), Bruce Abernethy, Rika Ayotte, Dana Whitelaw, Lynnanne Hayes, Lauren Williams


Health Committee:  Committee Job Description

Tamarra Harris (chair), Dr. Rebecca Hicks, Dr. Leslie Rust, Dr. Kristi Nix, Gwen Jones, Sue Boettner, Rebekah Berry, Tory Kurtz, Nicole Lex, Anna Morris


Committees are open to community members.  Please contact [email protected] if you have an interest in joining a committee.





The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon welcomes students and participants of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, military or marital status, age, sensory, physical or mental disability to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students and participants of our programs.


Equal Employment Opportunity: The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, military, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, age, citizenship or any other basis prohibited by law in any of its policies or programs.