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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Our Staff

Meet the Stewardship Coordinators!

PP&R City Nature Stewardship coordinators are eager to help you connect with your local natural areas. Contact us today to find out how you can get involved.

Susan Hawes

Photo of Susan HawesSusan works with partner organizations and volunteers in the Johnson Creek Watershed in southeast Portland. Susan has a bachelor's degree in Cultural Ecology from Linfield College, performed botany surveys in the Pacific Northwest for more than ten field seasons, and has managed volunteers for land management-oriented non-profits and government entities since 2000. Susan also volunteered for AmeriCorps for two years in the Portland-Vancouver area and became familiar with many of Portland's natural areas during that time. Growing up in the woods of the Pacific Northwest cultivated her love of everything outdoors, and she is inspired to share this with fellow Portlanders. She likes to garden, fiddle, hike, backpack, botanize, give massages (she's a state-licensed massage therapist), and play with her cats, Scout and Middie.

You can reach Susan at 503-823-6131 or

Mary Verrilli

Photo of Mary VerriliiMary works in parks on the west side of the Willamette River. She has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from Keene State College and has been engaging youth in environmental education and restoration projects in Oregon with non-profits since 2007. She has been working closely with the PP&R No Ivy League program since 2008 and currently manages this program. Mary enjoys connecting and educating youth and volunteers of all ages to Portland's natural areas while seeing ecological transformations occur in our parks. In her free time, Mary enjoys gardening, backpacking, canoeing, cooking, and listening to live music.

You can reach Mary at 503-823-9423 or 

Emily Lytle

Emily is an AmeriCorps member serving with Portland Parks & Recreation's City Nature Department as the Stewardship Equity Coordinator. She has a bachelor's degree in Global Studies and Sociology from UC Santa Barbara.

Originally from the Bay Area of California, this is Emily's second year in AmeriCorps last year serving on the East Coast in a food access program. Emily enjoys working directly with communities and creating opportunities for people of all ages to connect to the environment. For fun, Emily is an avid gardener, hiker, yogi and loves to cook.

You can reach Emily at 503-278-1341 or 

Yoko Silk

Yoko works in parks and natural areas in the Columbia Slough watershed in North and Northeast Portland. She has over 14 years of youth work and outdoor education experience, including time as an environmental educator, a backpacking instructor and raft guide, and as a caseworker at a crisis shelter for homeless and runaway teens. Yoko has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon. In 2010, Yoko joined the Parks family as the lead teacher for the Jr GRUNT program with the Environmental Education department. Yoko is passionate about connecting people to nature and is committed to serving under-represented communities and creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in nature in meaningful and impactful ways. In her free time, Yoko enjoys going on outdoor adventures, playing cello, juggling and rock-climbing.

 You can reach Yoko at 503-278-1341 or 




Isabel LaCourse

Helping people connect with the world around them and reap the benefits of nature-based education has been Isabel's passion and life's work for over 16 years. Isabel has played roles in diverse formal and informal educational settings, including experience as the Garden Educator at Sabin School in NE Portland, a Para-Educator working with students with special needs, and as a trainer for Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue. For the past three years she has been working as Tualatin Riverkeepers' Environmental Education Coordinator. Isabel began her career as a volunteer with Portland Public Schools Title VII Indian Education Program, where she helped kindergarten through fifth graders connect with Native culture through land and plant-based learning. The common thread of her work is to give students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds the opportunity discover the value of nature through hands-on experiences. Isabel is excited to be working with Parks to create opportunities for diverse and underrepresented communities to engage in watershed health.

You can reach Isabel at 503-729-0318 or