Board of Directors
La, CultureSeed Co-Founder, is an artist and teacher of many modalities including ceramics, transformational writing, and metapoetics. She is a dedicated student of yoga and meditation. In recent years she has studied Non-Violent Communication, Council Tech, Dynamic Governance, and other modalities to assist in community building. La brings spirit and community consciousness into all of our activities and assists in programming and working on special events for fundraising and community outreach.
Norm, CultureSeed Co-Founder, is an artist, designer, craftsman, and adventurer who is actively creating the Village at Atlan Center. Norm is inspired by his learning experiences at Haystack Mountain School, Pilchuck Glass School, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Evergreen State College to create opportunities for experiential education in the natural environment.
Originally from Southern California, Dez Ramirez has spent the last six and a half years in Portland, growing, learning and fostering a diverse community. Prior to coming to Columbia Land Trust in 2018, she spent four years at creative agency Wieden+Kennedy, where she launched the travel website for women of color, On She Goes. Dez also spent time working independently with a unique group of clients including Native American non-profit group Wisdom of the Elders, Travel Oregon, Travel Portland, Portland Monthly, Beloved Festival and Soul’d Out Music Festival. Committed to diversifying conservation and outdoor recreation in creative and authentic ways, Dez spends much of her time traveling around Oregon, building community, storytelling, and advocating for the voiceless. She integrates her love of nature, adventure, and outdoor experiences, with her deep desire to shift paradigms, deepen cultural resiliency, explore identity and inspire change. More of her work can be found at dezramirez.com
Nick “Nico” McCormick
Nico graduated from U of Portland with BS in Environmental Science and Forestry and took the position as Resident Steward of the LWSBR (Little White Salmon Biodiversity Reserve). Later he worked with the The Nature Conservancy as the Conservation Practitioner for the Big Creek Preserve on the Oregon Coast. Then came Guayusa, a hybrid for-profit // 501C3 organization called RUNA. Guayusa is the Ecuadorian cousin of yerba mate and is a shade grown native that RUNA set out to establish the worlds first, 100% indigenous grown supply chain, while simultaneously creating a market for this little known tea in the states. Feeling totally aligned with the market driven approach to impact, Nico jumped on board as the first sales person for the brand. After a 5 year run he made the jump to work with REBBL as the PNW Regional Manager. REBBL was co-founded by Not-For-Sale, which is dedicated to creating a world without human trafficking. 2.5% of their net revenue goes directly to NFS which will be nearly 1 million dollars this year. Nico feels this all relates to CultureSeed in his interest to interface between business and impact. Nico feels capitalism in so many ways, has been the source of our problems and yet has the potential to be the solution. Nico is excited by the opportunity to share what he’s learned and have impact in the watershed where his kids go to school.
Ubaldo works as a Community Organizer, conducting community outreach on clean water while promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity. Ubaldo has been an active member in the Latin community in the Columbia Gorge, participating in projects that promote awareness on issues that are relevant to Latinos in Oregon and Washington. In the last fifteen years, he has dedicated his free time to launch and participate in multiple projects benefiting the Latin community, including the local community radio station Radio Tierra. In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking, fishing, and hiking in the Columbia Gorge.
Liz’s interest in the impacts of food systems on the health and well-being of communities was first sparked by her participation and research in the Whitman College Fair Trade Club in 2005. After college, she spent several years working in outdoor education, youth development, and wilderness therapy. She has shared her passion for the outdoors with youth and young adults for almost a decade, as a zip line guide in Alaska, a wilderness therapy supervisor in Hawaii, a backpacking and life skills instructor in Wyoming, and a wilderness survival instructor in camps throughout Oregon. Through her work at a horticulture-based wilderness therapy program on the Big Island of Hawaii, she learned to farm, and the joys of teaching others to farm. Liz’s experience in wilderness therapy also led her to pursue mediation. She has served as a mediator in juvenile victim-offender cases, small claims courts, and community mediation cases. In spring 2015, she combined her background as a Politics major with her passion for seeking creative and collaborative solutions to conflicts by beginning work at Oregon Solutions. That fall, she began her Master’s degree in Public Administration, focusing on Natural Resources and Collaborative Governance. In August 2016, Liz joined the Gorge Grown team as the Gorge Food Security Coalition Program Manager.
Keala (Augustus Young), current Board Chair and CultureSeed Co-Founder, is a lifelong student of facilitation arts; a regenerative practitioner and whole system designer with a background as an eco-educator, bodyworker, yoga, dance, movement, and Heart Circle facilitator. His work as an evolutionary guide is an emerging synthesis of healing sessions, embodiment classes, and workshops integrating living systems coherence for individuals and communities. Keala is consciously committed to co-creating living & learning communities and has studied far and wide, gathering the seeds and skills to undertake the adventure of forming Atlan Center and CultureSeed as a model for the future now.
Doug Baker spent the majority of his career in higher education as a faculty member studying organizational dynamics and as a senior administrator. In his leadership roles he worked on community building, poverty reduction, early childhood education, and deaf and hard-of-hearing rights and policies.
Bill is a 30-year wildlife biologist currently employed as the Habitat Restoration Coordinator for the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council. Bill established the environmental education non-profit Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute based in Hood River and his ultimate goal for the Gorge is the creation of an overnight Environmental Education Center to serve both youth and families. Bill continues to serve as the Camp Director for Columbia Gorge Peace Village.
Nick has called the Columbia River Gorge home for close to twenty years. He is passionate about connecting people to the outdoors in mindful and meaningful ways. Nick directs Southall Environmental, a natural resource consulting firm, and is currently assisting the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership with project management of regional habitat restoration projects. Nick holds a BSc in Physical Geography (Leeds, UK), and a MSc in Integrated Environmental Studies (Southampton, UK). Nick lives in Hood River with his family.