The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute has an AmeriCorps program that currently serves communities all over the state of Idaho 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 2018-2019 Members
Originally from Connecticut I graduated from high school in 2011 from an amazing FFA program for aquaculture and natural resources. After getting an associates degree I found SUNY Cobleskill, in New York and decided to start my Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture. After graduating I headed to Durham, North Carolina to work at a summer camp. I then headed to West Virginia to serve my first AmeriCorps term as the Monongahela National Forest’s Watershed Outreach Technician (I got to teach tons of kids how to snorkel, best year ever). That position is what made me think that I wanted to actually be an educator, not a fisheries biologist. I met my boyfriend in New York at school and he moved out to Idaho to be a fisheries technician right after graduation. He loved it out there so I thought why not, let’s move again and try out Idaho. So we had an amazing adventure moving me out here visiting Badlands NP, Wind Cave NP, Yellowstone NP, and Grand Tetons NP. Now I have started my newest adventure, being an educator for the Boise Urban Garden School! (P.s. I know nothing about gardening, I am so excited to learn something new and continue to grow as an educator.) Here is Robin’s blog.
Descended from veg, tree, and houseplant farmers, Kim too is a plant person. She loves the forest and is an experienced landscaper, caregiver, and educator. Most interesting and hope-giving to her is the connection of plants and people as practiced through horticultural therapy and permaculture.
Growing up on the beautiful Oregon Coast, Kristen’s love of the outdoors grew out of family outings, school programs about nature and science, and curiosity-driven exploration of forests and beaches. During college, her eyes were opened to the vast possibilities of what engagement with the environment could mean in terms of a career. She discovered a field which combines her passions for protecting natural spaces and improving human lives. Upon finishing her undergraduate degree, Kristen has moved out of the rainforests of Oregon in search of new opportunities and a deeper understanding of the desert and mountains of this region. Hiking and camping with her beagle is her favorite way to spend free time, and Idaho has no lack of beautiful and remote places to do so! Kristen wishes to build a career spreading knowledge and love of the outdoors, as her ultimate driving force is a desire to increase environmental stewardship and reignite deep connections between people and the land. She believes direct engagement is the only way to improve environmental and human health outcomes in any significant way, and is excited to help connect people with nature at the Foothills Learning Center in Boise for the next year. Here’s her blog.
Drawn to central Idaho for graduate school with the University of Idaho’s McCall Outdoor Science School, Ashlee found the west to be the perfect place to live and continue her career in Environmental Education. She has worked with students for over a decade through coaching, tutoring, traditional classrooms, outdoor education, and counseling. Her professional background includes a B.S. in Biology which led to an internship as a zookeeper and many months of studying small mammals. She also received a M.S. in Natural Resources in 2015 with a Environmental Education certificate. Ashlee wanted to continue working outside with students so she traveled to different states learning new curriculum, observing different team-builidng styles, and gaining professional development in different areas of leadership, diversity, inclusion, and social-emotional learning. After spending some time teaching at The Outdoor School in Texas hill country and a few seasons of instructing for Naturebridge in Yosemite National Park, Ashlee found herself drawn back to central Idaho! Here she is able to work a job she loves and gets to play in one of the best natural playgrounds in the world! When she is not teaching kids in the great outdoors, Ashlee can be found reading a good book, hiking to an alpine lake, playing a pick-up game of basketball, eating way too much popcorn, or creating a scrapbook from a recent adventure! Cheers! Check out her instagram!
A student of Fisheries Science at the University of Vermont found my way to Idaho following my desires to observe, collect, count, and study fish populations while spending as much time as possible outdoors. I explored the grandeur of the Idaho’s mountains and rivers as a technician for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. As I explored I became more deeply connected to this place and its local ecology. I was born and raised in New England. I have a deep personal connection to the outside world and to wild places. In 2018, I graduated from a Masters Program that focused on Environmental Education and Science Communication. I completed my masters work at the the University of Idaho field campus: the McCall Outdoor Science School. For my final project I created an implemented education curriculum for white water river guides on the Salmon River. Currently I am serving as an AmeriCorps member and am focused on community outreach and after school programming that is rooted in environmental education. Here’s her blog!
Lindsay grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She loves all things cheese, but she moved to Idaho to experience life in the mountains. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Spanish. Lindsay will be serving as the PCEI AmeriCorps Program Associate at the Environmental Resource Center in Ketchum, Idaho. In this position she will be helping connect the people of the Wood River Valley to nature through education. Lindsay has always had a love for nature and is excited to have the opportunity to get people in the community, young and old, interested in our natural world as well! Her most vivid childhood memories are fishing with her dad, spending time at the lake and going on walks through the woods with her family, and berry picking with her grandma, and she wants to help the youth in the valley make those kinds of memories too. In her free time, Lindsay loves to travel, read, hike, cross-country ski, and spend time with family and friends. She is most happy when she gets to spend time with her dogs, or any dog for that matter! See Lindsay’s blog here.
Having been born in France, raised in the Netherlands (where my family originated from), and graduated in Texas, I am very fortunate to say I have spent much of my life traveling. Growing up indifferent places has allowed me to foster a love of new countries, unique cultures, and intense wanderlust. Recently during an AmeriCorps training, I was asked why I do what I do. Not the surface level motivations of money or to pursue better job opportunities, but the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning and drives my passion. Its a hard question to answer, but finally I realized for me I want to protect the future. I want to protect the future of my children and their children, the future of the planet and all it’s inhabitants, now and forever.Having traveled my whole life, I know the environment is the key towards doing that, as the environment is what connects us all, across the globe and in the past, present, and future. After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin in May of 2018 with a degree in Sustainability, I moved to Nampa, Idaho to work for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in pursuit of my dream of a career in environmentalism. I am thrilled to work as the new AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, and look forward to the vast opportunities it brings with it!
I grew up in Puyallup, Washington, directly in between the foothills of Mt. Rainier and the big city of Seattle. My experiences as a child shaped who I’ve become today; a lover of nature with a desire to surround myself with diverse groups of people. I took my passion for my environment along with me to Washington State University and obtained a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and conservation sciences, and forestry. After my time at WSU, I felt so connected to the natural world that I wanted to learn more about how I could create experiences for others to find their own connections within their environment. So, I took these curiosities along with me over the Idaho border, and obtained my Master of Natural Resource Sciences in environmental education and science communication through the University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School. Today, I am taking my passions and turning them into realities with the help of Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Nampa, Idaho. I am beyond excited to get the opportunity to create experiences for others to explore their environment as an environmental educator, and AmeriCorps member here at the refuge! Check out her activities here on her blog.
Being raised in the Sonoran desert I grew up surrounded by cacti, beautiful skies, and a large close-knit family. My siblings and I spent our time out in the sun, exploring the bizarre desert environment, and cultivating a curiosity for the unique world around me. This along with role models such as Bill Nye, Steve Irwin, and Neil Degrasse Tyson helped to foster a love of science and nature that quickly grew into a fierce passion. I pursued an education in wildlife and biology in hopes that I too could make learning a fun exciting experience and help people love the creepier and less understood parts of nature.While most of my family stayed down in the desert I migrated up north with my fiance to Idaho the year after we both graduated from NAU. With my degree in biology I have participated in research involving bat populations, along with a stint in training education animals at private zoos down in Texas, and spent much of my time assisting in education programs through museums and nature reserves. Now a full-time resident in Idaho I’ve been exploring the new found world of snow and the green wilderness of the state since then! Which is what led me to the Deer Flat Refuge.After volunteering the last few years with the SEEDS and DWJ programs I’m excited to work on expanding and adding to the wonderful outreach programs that the refuge provides. Check out her blog here.
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 recently completed 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. Visit her blog here.
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 in her second AmeriCorps termas 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.
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.