Portland Parks & Recreation's 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 - Johnson Creek Watershed
Parks and natural areas in inner SE and outer SE Portland
Susan 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.
Mary Verrilli - Westside watersheds
Parks and natural areas in SW and NW Portland
Mary 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.
Yoko Silk - Columbia Slough Watershed
Parks and natural areas in N and NE Portland
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.
David Grandfield - Willamette River Watershed
Parks and natural areas close to the Willamette River
David joined Portland Parks & Recreation in the summer of 2015 as a Seasonal Maintenance Worker for the East Side Natural Area Stewardship and Regional Trails Programs. In the summer of 2015, he was the Tree Crew Leader for PP&R’s Youth Conservation Crew. After completing the YCC season he joined Urban Forestry’s Outreach and Education team to draft YCC reports and create work plans for future YCC crews. In 2017, he accepted a limited term appointment as a horticulturist with horticulture services. For 14 months, David managed the maintenance and design of the “Mall Pot” flower and perennial planters downtown along the TriMet MAX line, as well as Union Train Station.
Since joining PP&R, David has been inspired by our equity and inclusion goals. He hopes to continue to be a mentor for youth in our Environmental Education programs. David holds an associate’s degree in Botany from Lane Community College in Eugene, as well as a horticulture degree from Oregon State University in Corvallis. His long term professional aspirations are to continue connecting marginalized groups to nature, urban ecology, food production systems, and land stewardship. He spends his free time sewing clothes, performing with a vogue-style dance team, and competing in Portland’s queer ballroom scene.
Emily Lytle - Westside Watersheds
Community Service Aide II
Emily is a Community Aide in the Stewardship Program. She helps coordinate the No Ivy League and other West Portland stewardship activities. Emily previously served as an AmeriCorps member within the program as the Stewardship Equity Coordinator. She has a bachelor's degree in Global Studies and Sociology from UC Santa Barbara.
Emily is originally from the Bay Area of California. She served two years in AmeriCorps, one with Portland Parks and one on the East Coast in a food access program. Emily enjoys working directly with communities, creating opportunities for people of all ages to connect to nature. For fun, Emily is an avid gardener, hiker, painter and loves to cook.