The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute has an AmeriCorps program that currently serves communities in the Moscow and Southern Idaho areas as well as the greater Portland region. Through 30 partnerships with schools, community-based organizations and government agencies, PCEI addresses critical environmental and equity issues in the areas of healthy watersheds, energy and resource conservation, environmental education and outreach, as well as sustainable community development.
National and Community Service programs meet critical needs in areas such as education, public safety, health and the environment through partnerships with public agencies, non-profits, faith-based and other local organizations.
Welcome our 2017-2018 Members
Augie Gabrielli is an AmeriCorps service member at the Foothills Learning Center in Boise, ID. Augie is a lifelong Idahoan. He graduated high school from McCall Donnelly High School in the West-Central Mountains of Idaho and attend the University of Idaho for his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He has spent time working in the Boise School District and as an environmental educator at the McCall Outdoor Science School. Augie loves working with learners from diverse backgrounds and seeing how connecting with the natural world changes peoples’ lives. When not at the Foothills Learning Center, Augie is an avid skier, recreation enthusiast, and proponent of the great state of Idaho.
Sarah grew up in Vernal, Utah, where she became interested in nature. Much of her time was spent in the Uintah Mountains and other Rocky Mountain regions. Her broad array of experiences & education, working with people and dabbling with inclusive learning approaches, has helped her find her passion for engaging community in nature education. She is in process of completing her EMT certification, just to keep things interesting. This also allows her to more effectively respond to possible medical emergency when working with children out in nature. Her spare time is spent doing mountain man rendezvous, playing music, and making art. She is excited to inspire and shine light on the groups that visit the PCEI Nature Center.
A born and raised Idahoan, Mackenzie left for a few years to get her Zoology degree in Colorado but eventually found her way back again to the beautiful Gem State. With a background in conservation education and a passion for the environment she hopes to use her experience and knowledge to help communities enjoy and protect their natural spaces and to live healthy and environmentally friendly lives. She spends as much time in the sunshine as possible and enjoys hiking, running, yoga, and being around dogs.
Grant comes to us from the small town of Silverton, OR on the west coast. Growing up he was spoiled rotten with both the cascade mountain range and Oregon coast within a 2 hours drive. He attended Oregon State University where he received a B.S. in Bioengineering and spent a great deal of time volunteering with the sustainable energy club on campus. After college he was looking for ways to serve the community and environment and as destined by fate stumbled upon PCEI. In his spare time you’ll find him running on a trail, slack lining in a park, or improving his very modest culinary skills.
Ilana was born in Glasgow, Scotland but moved to Bangor, Maine at five years old where she grew up riding horses in the woods and exploring the stream behind her house. She attended the University of Maine and received her B.A. in psychology with a minor in equine studies. Upon completing her degree, Ilana spent close to a year backpacking through Europe and New Zealand before working a summer season at Yellowstone National Park. In her westward efforts, she is thrilled to be spending the year in Idaho and intends to hike, camp, and explore this beautiful area as much as possible. She will be serving as Education Assistant at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden and is very excited to share her love of the natural world with local students.
Rebecca is currently serving her second term as an Environmental Education Instructor with the Foothills Learning Center in Boise. Rebecca finds her inspiration for teaching from one of her idols: Ms. Frizzle. Rebecca was born in Seattle but moved to Idaho when she was two, and was able to grow-up in this great state. Numerous camping trips and educational drives with her family filled her early years where she was able to explore much that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. She returned to Washington for college where received her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. To avoid going insane from math homework, she would explore the Olympic Peninsula and Mt. Rainier area. She then went on to receive her Professional Science Master’s in Natural Resources & Environmental Science, tucked away in the rolling hills of the Palouse, at the University of Idaho. She enjoys swimming and reading books about aliens in her free time… The Truth is Out There.
Hailing from good ole Missouri, Charlie and his wife Laurel moved to Moscow, Idaho for his PCEI AmeriCorps Restoration Technician position. Charlie graduated from Greenville University, Illinois in Biology with theology minor, enjoys the outdoors through hiking, rock climbing, hunting, and learning about plants of all sorts. Laurel and Charlie contra dance, he forcedly poses for her candid-yet-overtly artsy photographs, and they most enjoy designing their future homestead. Charlie makes a mean pizza when time allows, is a pseudo-soccer player, travels with the Mrs. whenever possible.
Tess grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and has degrees in business and biology from Saint Mary’s College in Indiana. She has a Master’s Degree from the University of Idaho in Bioregional Planning and Community Design. Her thesis work explored community resiliency to flood damage through flood mitigation strategies. Between college and graduate school, Tess worked with birds of prey in South Dakota and spent a semester at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia exploring a myriad of conservation practices as well as developing a long-term teaching tool about insect biodiversity. She is looking forward to her new role as Assistant Wildlife Educator at the MK Nature Center. In her free time, she loves hiking, camping, kayaking, and exploring Idaho with her husband, daughter, and dogs.
Josie grew up in Spokane, WA with a family rooted in the Inland Northwest, near lakes and mountains, in the soil of the Palouse and with Pine Trees. In 2016 she completed a B.S. in Environmental Science with a focus on water and aquatic ecology at the University of Idaho. Inspired by salmon, the ecology of rivers and time living in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, she hopes to connect people with the world around them. Josie is excited to have the opportunity to explore Idaho and the Columbia River Watershed in a kayak, on foot and skis while she works in Valley County. Check out Josie’s blog here.
Alex Rheault is the 2017-2018 Boise Urban Garden School PCEI Americorps Member. She is originally from Fargo, North Dakota and moved to the west to attend the University of Idaho. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science from UI, Alex joined the Peace Corps and served as an Environmental Education Volunteer in Nicaragua for two years. Once she returned, Alex became a Master’s of Education student at the McCall Outdoor Science School. When Alex is not in the classroom or the garden, she enjoys hiking and exploring Idaho.
Nathan spent the first 18 years of his life in Salt Lake City, Utah and moved to Nampa, Idaho in 2013 to attend Northwest Nazarene University. He graduated in May of 2017 with a double major in biology and education and is serving this year at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge as an Environmental Educator. Nathan has always had a passion for animals, and first began to explore the field of biology during his high school years as a summer educational volunteer at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. Nathan loves being a teacher and working with people and spent a semester as a 10th grade biology teacher at Skyview High School as part of his education degree. He has worked on a research team studying the Idaho giant salamander in northern Idaho and loves traveling around the U.S. and around the world to experience new environments and diverse cultures. Nathan hopes to learn Spanish someday and to further explore whatever opportunities may come his way in the realms of biology and education!
Rhian spent most of her life in Florida, with her younger years spent living in California and Hawaii. Having grown up near the coast her entire life, she is excited to explore the unique beauty of Idaho while she serves as an Environmental Educator at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Nampa. She graduated with a B.S in Coastal Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of North Florida where she studied sharks and rays and assisted with research on corals and sea turtles. Her experience working as a Camp Counselor and an Education Park Ranger has allowed her to follow her passion for the environment through the education of future conservationists. She hopes to continue down this path and eventually land a job as an Interpretive Park Ranger for the National Park Service and spend time working in various parks throughout Alaska and the rest of the country. In her free time she enjoys hiking, backpacking, kayaking and generally just exploring nature. Check out her blog here.
Nic grew up in the small town of Clayton, Idaho and moved to Boise, Idaho in 2012 after multiple expeditions to Antarctica as a field assistant. After deciding to go back to school, he received his B.S. in Biology from Boise State University in May of 2017. As an undergraduate, Nic worked as a research assistant in Dr. Jesse Barber’s Lab where he studied pallid bat behavior. It was working in the lab as well as participating in the McNair Scholars Program that he became interested in working on conservation/restoration projects as well as ecological field work. In his spare time, Nic enjoys playing guitar, backpacking the Idaho backcountry, and looking for bats!
Ben spent the majority of his childhood in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but has called several places home moving between National Parks for his parents’ careers. He recently graduated from Western Washington University with a B.S. in Environmental Science, which he hopes to put to good use to solve some of the many challenges our society now faces. After graduating Ben spent the summer working for the Forest Service researching the effects of wild fire on pollinators in California. His position with AmeriCorps is the Garden Project Coordinator at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden in Ketchum, Idaho. He is looking forward to getting his hands dirty with the irrigation and landscaping projects. Ben thinks it will be interesting to see the full swing of seasons in such a beautiful place. When not working Ben enjoys spending time communing with nature through hiking, skiing, camping, and more. He hopes to one day run his own business and retire to a little farm with some alpacas and a couple goats.
2016-2017 AmeriCorps members
Delaney recently moved to the Palouse from Seattle in order to farm after graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. With roots in Denver, CO & New York City, NY she hopes to feel at home in Moscow, ID. Serving in her first AmeriCorps year as an Environmental Educator at the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) has provided the opportunity for her to do what she loves! Exploring both human & non-human ecology, as well as giving her a chance to spark this exploration in others! She enjoys cooking with vegetable from the garden, reading library books, drinking lots of coffee, & making art with her friends!
Marie was born in Peoria, Illinois, but grew up north of Seattle in Woodinville, Washington. She has always loved being outside in the woods and would make “study areas” with her family in the greenbelt behind their house to study the changes brought on by animals and the seasons. She loves being outdoors and sharing her passion for nature with an enthusiastic audience. Marie has a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in Wildlife Ecology and is finishing her master’s degree in Environmental Science from University of Idaho. She has an extensive background with wildlife work including working with fawns and pygmy rabbits at WSU. Her experience with wildlife has led her to conclude that birds can only fly because they believe in themselves more than any other animal. Marie speaks French and is learning Hungarian. In her free time, she enjoys reading, swimming, traveling, and British television.
Mia is currently serving a third AmeriCorps term, this time as the Environmental Educator on the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge (for the 2nd time!) From the mountains of New Mexico (and the shores of the Monterey Bay in California before that, earning a bachelor’s in astrophysics), Idaho is a big change! Mia is thrilled to get to share a passion for science and a love of the outdoors with students and the community, to learn as a teacher. On days off, Mia enjoys hiking, reading, stargazing, and the occasional attempt at computer programming. Please visit Mia’s blog here.
Brian is serving his second term as an Idaho AmeriCorps member. His first term was at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center in Boise and now he is at the MK Nature Center in Boise. Brian loves teaching outdoors and recently completed the outdoor education program at the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS). He was born and raised in the Redwoods of northern California and moved to Boise in 1991. His education includes degrees in biology and geosciences from Boise State and a master’s in Natural Resources from University of Idaho (December 2016). He loves being outside and loves teaching, and is looking forward to working with others around Idaho to improve our community. You can follow his adventures from this year and last on his EcoCation blog at http://ecocation.blogspot.com/
Kenny grew up in southeastern Idaho and made his way to Moscow in 2011 to start college at the University of Idaho. He received his B.S. Degree in Geography with an emphasis in Geographic Information Systems in 2016. Following his graduation, Kenny spent the first half of summer backpacking all throughout Idaho and Washington, a time in which his interest in environmental stewardship took root. He fell in love with the rolling hills of the Palouse during his time in college and could not be happier to return to Moscow as an AmeriCorps Restoration Technician for PCEI. In his free time, Kenny enjoys hiking, backpacking, golfing, working out, watching Quentin Tarantino films, reading, and obsessing over his favorite football team the San Francisco 49ers. Go Niners!
Growing up riding the subway in New York City, Kyle found himself eager to explore the West. Since then, he has graduated with a B.S. in Geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and most recently lived in Idaho Falls. He is an avid backpacker, weather enthusiast and lover of nature. Now a resident of Albion, Washington, he is excited to get to work with PCEI helping young people experience and appreciate the values of nature, wilderness and the environment. He hopes to learn about the Northwest with his girlfriend Olivia and their two dogs Simba and Nala.
Dirk is an Idaho native who grew up in the small town of Idaho City. Upon graduating high school, he attended Montana Tech where he played basketball and earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Organismal Biology. For the next couple winters Dirk worked at a ski hill outside of Phillipsburg, MT as a ski and snowboard instructor as well as a rental technician. It was on the ski hill where he found his passion for working with kids. In 2013 he took his passion further by attending the graduate program at the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) where he earned a graduate teaching certificate in Environmental Education as well as a M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho. Dirk then moved back to his hometown to give back to his community by acting as the assistant high school girls’ basketball coach, Parks & Rec. Board member and Idaho Center for Outdoor Education team member. His free time is usually filled with camping, hiking, hunting and fishing. Dirk will be serving his first AmeriCorps term at the Boise Urban Garden School (BUGS).
Melissa was born in San Diego, CA, but was raised on a small hobby farm in Emmett, ID. She decided to leave her trusty pack goats with her family after she fell in love with the coastal redwoods and received a track and field scholarship to Humboldt State University. During her final semester through the HSU Wildlife program, she conducted behavioral research on captive Caribbean Flamingos at the WWT in Slimbridge, England. Since then, her nomadic life as a wildlife field technician has taken flight, and her avian jobs have taken her to North Dakota, Arizona, Montana, and Puerto Rico. Melissa is excited that her adventures have returned her back to Idaho, and looks forward to meeting locals involved with conservation projects at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge.”
Rose is a small town girl from Arkansas. Having had the great fortune of growing up in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, she spent most of her childhood hiking, caving, kayaking, and exploring the great outdoors! In an effort to continue to learn more about the beauty and biology of the natural world she loved, she attained Bachelors’ degrees in Biology and English from the University of Arkansas. She has previously worked on environmental studies involving migratory bird species, stream ecology, and macroinvertebrates. She has also volunteered her time to be involved in oral history interviews, historical record preservation, and environmental restoration. Most recently she was employed as a naturalist in Stanley, ID, the heart of the spectacular Sawtooth Mountains! In her free time, she enjoys scuba diving, playing nerdy games, and being outside.
Nick was born in Fort Wayne, IN and lived for short stints in Indianapolis, IN and Tampa, FL. He received his B.S. Degree in Environmental Management from Indiana University. A diehard Chicago Cubs fan, Nick was ecstatic when they won the World Series at the end of the 2016 MLB season. Conversational in Spanish and Turkish, with interests in hiking, camping, gardening and all things outdoorsy, Nick is just like every other sensible individual living in the Northwest. Eclectic and weird. He will be working as a Natural Resource Technician with the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District through his term of service as an AmeriCorps. Nick is enthusiastic to do his part to help preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Palouse for future generations of humans and wildlife alike.
Rebecca was born in Seattle but moved to Idaho when she was two, and was able to grow-up in this great state. Numerous camping trips and educational drives with her family filled her early years where she was able to explore much that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. She returned to Washington where received her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. To avoid going insane from math homework, she would explore the Olympic Peninsula and Mt. Rainier area. She then went on to receive her Professional Science Master’s in Natural Resources & Environmental Science, tucked away in the rolling hills of the Palouse, at the University of Idaho. She enjoys swimming and reading books about aliens in her free time… The Truth is Out There. Rebecca currently serves with the Foothills Learning Center, teaching Environmental Education in Boise and hopes she can embody one of her heroes: Ms. Frizzle.
I grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, just 20 miles south of Green Bay (Go, Pack, Go!). I earned my B.S. from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in Biology with an emphasis on Ecology, along with a secondary major in Spanish. During this time, I worked as a Student Academic Apprentice, Academic Skills Center Tutor, and Undergraduate Researcher. I was also a McNair Scholar.
I went to graduate school at Oklahoma State University and earned my M.S. in Zoology. I researched the evolutionary ecology of a group of extremophile fish in Mexico, were I did my field research. I was four years into my PhD program, when I decided that research was not my passion, and to focus on science education. At the time, I was teaching Evolution, Animal Biology, and Introductory Biology.
In 2015 my husband, Blake, and I moved to the Treasure Valley, ID. Blake grew up in Boise, so I was very familiar with the area, and was particularly excited to have access to all the outdoor recreation Idaho’s public lands have to offer. I began working as an Instructor for the College of Western Idaho. I teach two courses – one with a general biology (everything from DNA to Ecology) to non-major students, and the other a cellular biology type course for majors. It was during my revisions of my non-majors course that I realized I had strong passion for environmental education.
In February, 2017, I began a position with AmeriCorps as an Environmental Educator at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. My focus is on developing an environmental education partnership with the Caldwell School District’s 4th grade classes. I also help run various other environmental education programs previously instated by the refuge. I believe this position will help broaden my experience in education, specifically outside of academia.
In 2017, I also officially joined Soroptimist International of Boise, a women’s education and advocacy group. Women’s education and rights have been long-standing passions of mine, and I felt I needed an outlet to express this specific facet of my personality, along with making some like-minded friends. I am excited to contribute to the work of this important group.
I also enjoy spending time with my family and dogs. We like going on adventures, whether they be to new cities or new landscapes. Camping and fishing seem to be our latest adventures. I also like to read, learn about history, watch drama, garden, cook, embroider, and various other “homestead” type activities such as canning, and practicing shooting my rifle. My long term goal is to one day have a hobby farm somewhere in rural Idaho.
Katherine joined the Boise Urban Garden School in March 2017 as an AmeriCorps member from the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with an emphasis in Human rights from the University of Washington in 2013 and has a passion for food security, youth development, and immigrant rights. Prior to joining BUGS, she completed an AmeriCorps term at the YMCA of Greater Seattle and hiked the Pacific Crest Trail.
Joseph Snapp is from Blackfoot, ID and came to the University of Idaho to study fish and wildlife. He is serving his first term as an AmeriCorps member helping with the restoration of Tammany Cr. located in Hells Gate State Park. He hopes his work will provide an opportunity for children to learn how to appreciate the environment by learning in a living classroom. On his free time he enjoys hiking and fishing. He hopes to explore the wilderness that is Idaho and make life a little simpler.
I grew up in Sonoma, California, amongst the vineyards and close to the coast. My family fostered a love of exploring the outdoors in me through countless roadtrips and camping trips. In 2014, I moved up to Boise to attend Boise State University where I am pursuing a BA in Environmental Studies with minors in NonProfit Management and Sustainability. I will be completing my schooling this summer and then hope to find a job with the Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service. Ideally, I will find a career in land and wild mustang management.
Through my experiences as a volunteer and intern, I have discovered that I have a passion for working with youth and spreading environmental education. Some of my other passions include horseback riding, hiking, camping, and baking. Since moving to Boise, I have fallen in love with the area because of the wonderful community atmosphere and the abundance of nearby outdoor activities like Bogus Basin and Lucky Peak.
As an Idaho native, Madi has always been inspired by beautiful surroundings in a state full of hidden gems. Madi just graduated high school as an avid athlete in both volleyball and basketball, as well as with highest honors. She is excited to continue her education at the University of Idaho this fall studying biological environmental science. She loves to hike, paddle board, run, eat popcorn, and go on road trips. Madi is always up for an adventure and is excited to serve with AmeriCorps and Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute to help inform and educate people about the environment and all it has to offer.