The Walama Restoration Project (WRP) is a community organized non-profit, founded in 2001, dedicated to environmental stewardship and biological diversity through education and habitat restoration.
WRP’s functions are two-fold: 1) To promote the conservation and protection of our natural resources and biological diversity by maintaining and restoring threatened ecosystems in critical watersheds. 2) To implement experiential programs that address local ecosystem awareness and habitat rehabilitation for local youth and community members.
We have cleared over 30 acres of English Ivy and Armenian blackberry throughout city parks and have facilitated oak savanna restoration with the Nature Conservancy in the foothills of the Western Cascades. In addition to our work as restoration contractors, WRP has collaborated with the City of Eugene, the City of Eugene Stream Team Program, and two school districts on habitat-specific school projects including riparian restoration along the Willamette River, seed collection projects in upland and wetland habitats, and Oregon oak education in Lane County. We also collaborate with other non-profits and local watershed groups such as Friends of Hendricks Park and the McKenzie Watershed Council to facilitate programs ranging from seed collection and propagation workshops; to riparian enhancement along salmon-spawning creeks; to established in-the-field educational curriculums for two school districts.
Yotokko Kilpatrick is the founder and previous Operations Director of WRP. He has designed, implemented and coordinated crews for numerous stewardship projects in the Willamette Valley and in the Central Cascades since 2001. He was the site planner for riparian projects including three Lost Creek re-vegetation projects in Dexter, Oregon, designed protocols for work on over 60 acres in sensitive areas, and has trained over forty employees to identify key native and invasive plant species in our area. Prior to founding WRP, he was a technician and fundraiser from 1998 to 2001 for Lomakatsi Restoration, a non-profit organization based in Ashland, Oregon. There, he performed invasive removal, fuels reduction, tree thinning, and planting services on over 400 acres of private land in over five watersheds throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion.
Nicole Smedegaard- Education Coordinator
Nicole is from rural southern Oregon and has been working as the Education Coordinator for Walama Restoration Project in Eugene since 2010. Nicole developed FSH into a multi-year program to serve schools consistently yet also provide flexibility to accommodate teacher’s schedules and ever changing state standards in science and standardized testing. The curriculum developed by Nicole utilizes hands on activities to cover all the basics of the plant life cycle, pollinators and habitats of the Willamette Valley. Propagating native prairie species with the students and hosting field trips of 30- 60 students at a time takes a considerable amount of safety awareness, outdoor instruction skills (often in inclement weather) and of course patience. Nicole maintains current Wilderness First Responder certifications and utilizes group management skills built as an Outdoor Recreation instructor for the City of Eugene’s after school programs to facilitate getting kids outside in a safe and productive manner. With a B.A. in English from the University of Oregon, Nicole is currently fulfilling grant writer duties for Walama Restoration in addition to running FSH, maintaining tens of thousands of healthy wildflower starts at the nursery and working alongside the crew to prep sites for planting.
Alicia works hard to keep the office running smoothly!
Alley Engelbrecht – Volunteer Coordinator
My passion for botany came early on in life, spending my younger years in the family garden and my new adult years in the old growth forests. That passion continued through my education by taking as many plant oriented courses as I could and teaching my knowledge to peers.
Kris Elsbree, Crew Leader
Kris Elsbree, WRP’s crew leader, hails from upstate New York. In his early days, Kris worked to create and maintain George V Vanderbilt Park. Chris attended Lane Community College and was President of the Lane Community College Learning Garden. Working with Walama since 2008, Kris excels in the leadership skills and field knowledge necessary to guide the crew.
Taylor Zeigler, Mike Clark, Alley Englebrecht and Eric Mullen. These folks are the true backbone of our organization (although their backs may not always feel that great after work).
WRP Field Technician
BA in Anthropology, Appalachian State, North Carolina
Taylor Zeigler has worked with WRP on restoration projects since 2004. Originally from the Southeast, Taylor moved to the Willamette Valley in 2000 to study and practice organic gardening at Aprovecho Research Center in Cottage Grove. He brings to the field a pro-plant attitude and many skills related to permaculture. A few of his horticultural interests and endeavors include promoting and propagating Paw paws, persimmons and mulberries, conducting general tree care, and developing gardens for native seed grow-out. Taylor is an enthusiastic seed saver and has taught numerous local classes on the subject.
Jesse McAlpine, Board Secretary
M.S. in Biology, Project Manager, Environmental Consultant
Jesse was a long time Walama field crew member who joined the board of directors after completing his graduate work studying neotropical orchid pollination strategies and fungal interaction. He currently does part time botany consulting and full time farm work on his property.
Nicole Smedegaard, Board Member
WRP Education Coordinator, BA in English and Art, University of Oregon
Nicole started as WRP’s Education Coordinator in Fall 2010. A native to Oregon, Nicole grew up in Rogue River, and graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelors degree in English and Art. She also works as a recreational instructor for the City of Eugene Outdoor Program and guides for OARS over summer breaks. Nicole works closely with several local schools facilitating WRP’s From-Seed-to-Habitat-Program.
Neil Langlois, Board Treasurer
Accounting, University of Oregon
Neil knows that helping people and assuming a “pay it forward” perspective yields endless dividends, and he enjoys it too! Neil is continually looking for opportunities to continue helping others. His current position as an accountant at Kernutt Stokes, LLP allows him to to help individuals and businesses meet their regulatory and organizational goals. Neil heads up Walama’s yearly budget committee, bringing professionalism and know how to the table.
Environmental Sciences, University of Oregon
Krystal has worked previously for Walama Restoration Project recruiting and managing volunteers for non-chemical pollinator habitat restoration work parties. She currently works with Beyond Toxics managing the Save Oregon’s Bees campaign to create state policy changes that will provide pollinator protections, ensuring their survival -and ours.
Mike has worked previously as a field technician for WRP, he now owns and runs Klink Cycles and enjoys gardening with native plants.
Walama is very grateful to the businesses and foundations that provide funding to support our work. Their gracious support keeps restoration and education programs running.