I’m excited to join the Marion Soil and Water Conservation District team as a conservation planner. I grew up here—in the beautiful Willamette Valley­—and appreciate the work that this organization is doing to protect and conserve our natural resources.

Horticulture has always been a family business; I grew up working summers on my uncles’ palm tree plantation, where we produced specimen palms for the landscaping industry on the lush slopes of Kauai’s North Shore. I studied biotechnology at Montana State University and graduated from Oregon State University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture. I have worked in many sectors of the plant world, from propagation at a legendary botanical garden, to nursery production in Japanese maples, ferns, and conifers, with a specialty in rock gardens and xeric plants. My work for the last decade has included wetlands restoration and riparian conservation, education and outreach for environmental sustainability, and management of Salem’s historic gardens.

In my spare time I run Illahe Rare Bulbs, a small specialty nursery that produces and ships rare flower bulbs to collectors and botanical gardens all over the world. My daughter Anya is headed off to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver this fall to study environmental science, and, as a father, I couldn’t be prouder. If there is time left over after all the work, I enjoy fishing off the Oregon coast in a classic mahogany and Douglas fir, beach-launched, Cape Kiwanda dory that I lovingly restored over the years.