About Friends of the Owyhee
Our Mission & Values
Friends of the Owyhee exists to promote conservation advocacy, stewardship, and responsible recreation in the Owyhee region. We work collaboratively with conservation and recreation groups, landowners, ranchers, Indigenous Tribes and Nations, sportsmen and women, and government agencies to help ensure the Owyhee’s unique ecological, cultural, and recreational resources are protected for future generations to experience and enjoy.
Tim's roots run deep in Malheur County. Born in Nyssa, Oregon and going to school K-12 in Adrian, Tim has seen the landscape from many perspectives. He first learned from and came to appreciate the Owyhee’s wildness as a child. He then felt a need to protect this region, and did just that as a rangeland firefighter. Now, as the Executive Director of Friends of the Owyhee, he is enthusiastic about introducing people from near and far to the beautiful Owyhee he has loved his whole life.
Tim started Friends of the Owyhee during his tenure as a Correctional Officer for the Oregon Department of Corrections at SRCI in Malheur County, and transitioned to the full-time Executive Director in January 2019. Tim also participates in the Southeastern Oregon Recreation Advisory Council (SEORAC) and serves on other community-based committees as well.
Tim is most at home around a campfire or driving a desert road. In his free time, he enjoys rummaging through local historical archives, exploring historical sites, and any researching anything related to the Owyhee. Tim cares deeply about seeing the Owyhee cared for future generations. As he likes to say, “it's not about the moment, it's about the future.”
Programs Director, M.Sc. Geological Science
Sammy has been teaching Earth systems science, leading educational field trips, and adventuring outdoors for most of his adult life. Born near the San Bernardino mountains of California, he grew up on a cattle ranch in western South Dakota, which helped forge his deep appreciation of land stewardship and resources. Inspired by the conservation of Earth’s resources, he studied geology at the University of Oregon where he occasionally instructs summer geology field courses. He is an instructor at Treasure Valley Community College and an exceptionally active citizen of the Four Rivers and Owyhee communities. A permaculturalist at heart, Sammy and his family of five tend a rambunctious garden, steward wild places, and have a love of mysticism and storytelling.
Sammy directs the OwYHEE Program (Outdoors with Youth: Hands-on Earth Education) as well as FOTO’s educational pamphlet series and volunteer events.
Board of Directors
Becky has a life-long passion for conservation. The mere mention of native plant restoration, trash clean-up, or wandering about in the heat removing invasive species puts her boots on. She has spent her career as a product and service designer and user experience researcher with a focus on executive and team leadership, organizational strategy, and accessibility. Becky’s love of the Owyhee started with a hike many years ago. Now she spends every moment she can in this amazing landscape! Her most memorable Owyhee experience was backpacking a section of the Oregon Desert Trail, from Lake Owyhee to Leslie Gulch. Her other memorable experiences include flat tires, battling with scotch thistle in Succor Creek, waiting out rain for days under a juniper, holding a tent down with all her might, harvesting native seed for post-fire planting projects, the hum of forbs filled with pollinators, dozens of “let’s just go around this next bend” hikes, and seeing the Friends of the Owyhee grow in its mission and impact.
Kelly owns and operates Idaho Accounting Services, LLC, and has spent her accounting career helping small businesses and non-profits with their accounting, information systems, budgeting, and planning needs. She is excited to bring this expertise to FOTO. Kelly has spent her life enjoying the outdoors and highly values conservation. She has lived in Boise since 2009 and explores the Owyhee as much as she can in her free time. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, camping, hot springs, paddling, snowshoeing, skiing, and gardening with her 6 chickens and cat.
Rhett grew up getting lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains of upstate South Carolina. A former attorney, he's been engaged in the Oregon conservation community for more than 20 years, now working for Forth, a transportation electrification non-profit in Portland, Oregon. Rhett enjoys backpacking and paddling with his wife and daughter around western Oregon, but fell head over heels for the Owyhee Canyonlands on a 2015 visit to southeastern Oregon. He's excited to bring his legal and conservation experience to FOTO’s efforts to protect one of the most special places on the planet.
Growing up in Brazil led Erik to a passion for surfing and exploring the long Brazilian coastline. With a B.S. in Agronomy and an M.A. in Biology, he returned to Brazil for his graduate research and focused on plant ecology in the Brazilian scrub forest. He has served as a research assistant at the Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station in Ontario, OR since 1990, primarily focusing on irrigation and nitrogen management to reduce nitrogen and water use in local crops including seed production of native forbs. Erik enjoys hiking, biking, and backpacking. He has been captivated by the wonders of the Owyhee region since becoming involved with FOTO. He is happy to be part of an organization that promotes the conservation of public lands.
A lifelong Oregonian, Corie is a collaborative leader and change maker who is passionate about helping create a healthy and just world where people and nature thrive. With a background in environmental science, business, and communications, Corie has over twenty years experience in conservation-focused grassroots organizing and engagement, partnership and community building, political advocacy, public lands policy, communications, and multi-faceted campaign management. Growing up in rural Oregon has given her a unique, balanced perspective on the many complex issues related to natural resource and public lands management. Corie also loves good beer, good books, and spending time with her twin daughters, husband, family, and friends exploring the rugged beauty of Oregon. She joined Friends of the Owyhee's board in 2021.
A retired lawyer and long-time resident of eastern Oregon, Larry knows the truly great outdoors when he sees it. After growing up in the Midwest and the East, he eventually moved west for law school at University of Oregon, where he spent as much time as he could in the outdoors, hiking and backpacking in the mountains of Oregon and Idaho. He credits Friends of the Owyhee with expanding his horizons to include the vast Owyhee Canyonlands beyond the frequented Leslie Gulch, Succor Creek, and Lake Owyhee. His goal as a FOTO board member is to instill that same appreciation in others, especially those who live in the area but who haven’t experienced sightseeing, hiking, and camping in the vast, rugged Owyhee.
Siri fell in love with the desert in 1972 on her way to start school at Oregon State University. While living on the west side of Oregon, she was always looking for reasons to get to the east side of Oregon. In her younger days, she spent summers doing ornithology field work in eastern Oregon. In 1997, her main career as a nurse midwife brought her to Ontario. After retiring in 2013, she began a second career collecting native seed for the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies. Many hours were spent in the Owyhee and she honed her botanical skills. A trip to Anderson Crossing in 2021 introduced her to Friends of the Owyhee, and she became an avid member with so much admiration for the organization's goals and accomplishments. Siri is a lifelong hiker and backpacker and loves birding, gardening, and quilting. She is the proud mother of four grown children.
Lauren Wallace (she/her) is originally from eastern Kentucky and a lifelong lover of the outdoors. She grew up surrounded by colorful woods and abundant wildlife, and was deeply thankful to find the same on moving to her current home of southwest Colorado. She spends most of her work days reading and writing about America's public lands as Associate Grants and Donor Communications Director at the Conservation Lands Foundation—her dream job! In her free time, she enjoys learning to climb, road-tripping with her partner Josh, and reading mysteries with her eleven-year-old orange cat (who always guesses the twist at the end).
Lauren has an undergraduate degree in music and communications. She has held various administrative and creative roles, her most recent being with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. She loves to build meaningful connections and has a passion for equitable access. These values drew her to both a career in conservation and Friends of the Owyhee. She is grateful and thrilled to serve as a new board member and to be a part of FOTO's strong and meaningful work for public lands!