Executive Director (360) 882-0936 ext. 221
Gala began working at Columbia Springs in January of 2007. She is responsible for the development, administration, and implementation of educational programming, policies, and goals. Gala oversees the day to day business and administrative operations of Columbia Springs. Her duties also include promoting public understanding of and support for Columbia Springs through community building and the development of external relations. Gala is a native of the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Bellevue, Washington. She later earned a B.A in Liberal Arts from the Evergreen State College in Olympia and a Master in Education from Western Washington University in Bellingham. She is a certified teacher with experience teaching in the classroom and in outdoor settings. Following graduate school Gala spent 2+ years in Niger, West Africa, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer. Prior to coming to Columbia Springs Gala spent 13 years working for the US Forest Service at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. While there she served multiple roles within both the public service and recreation programs from Environmental Education Coordinator to the Chief of Interpretation. When not working Gala enjoys playing soccer, venturing out into the woods to hike, x-country ski, or pick mushrooms, wine tasting, reading, and hanging out with her husband Dave and her dog Henry.
(360) 882-0936 ext. 223
Catherine Rich is our Business Manager. She manages our accounting systems, our human resources, and facilities. She comes from a long term accounting and operations manager role in a diverse marine property management environment on Hayden Island. Catherine is a long time Vancouver resident. She has invested in her community by serving on a variety of boards, including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, YWCA of Clark County, Women in Action, Columbia River Mental Health Services, and the Council for the Homeless. She is a graduate of Leadership Clark County. Catherine is passionate about good health, real food, and sustainable earth practices. She enjoys time with family and friends, and being outdoors. Books, music, and red wine are musts. “I love life and I don’t want to waste one minute of it!”
Volunteer & Special Events Coordinator
(360) 882-0936 ext. 230
Carissa Thomas joined the Columbia Springs staff in July 2013. As the Events and Volunteer Coordinator, she’ll be working hard to insure the success of our annual events, and to continue to build our burgeoning service learning and volunteer program. Carissa will also provide support for much of Columbia Springs’ online presence. Carissa is a Portland native, yet has lived in several states including Washington DC where she managed year round programs at a start up charter school. She has a strong background in managing youth development programs for nonprofits, with a focus on experiential education and service learning. Carissa also completed two years of AmeriCorps which included blazing the last three miles of the Wildwood trail in Forest Park and starting a youth volunteer program for Hands On Portland. She most recently comes to us from the Humane Society for Southwest Washington where she was the Education and Outreach Coordinator. She loves traveling, cooking, laughing, continuing to learn how to play golf and hanging with her little rescue dog Poochini.
Sustainability Programs Director
(360) 882-0936 ext. 224
Jo Anne Dolan joined the Columbia Springs staff as Sustainability Programs Director in April 2008. Jo Anne provides leadership for the Master Composter/Recycler Program in Clark County. She engages community members in learning about ways to steward our natural resources – through workshops, community outreach, and social media. Prior to joining the Columbia Springs team she worked as Director of Outreach and Education for the Clackamas River Basin Council, engaging community members and volunteers in educational and stewardship activities to support watershed health. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, Jo Anne managed visitor services and interpretive and environmental education programs for the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center in the Eastern Sierra of California. Her natural resource background includes work as a wilderness ranger, field biologist and botanist, interpretive specialist, and outdoor science instructor. Jo Anne received a BA in Zoology and Natural History from the University of Montana. In her spare time she enjoys nurturing wildlife habitat in her backyard, dancing to the music of SW Louisiana, listening to thrush song, writing, and turning the pages of books.
Fish Hatchery Specialist 3 (360) 882-0936 ext. 227
Brian Harvard joined the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1991 at the Washougal Salmon Hatchery. He later joined the Vancouver Trout Hatchery in 1995 where he was promoted and now serves as Fish Hatchery Specialist 3. Brian is charged with management and oversight of fish production, grounds maintenance and hatchery facilities at Columbia Springs. Brian works with the Vancouver Trout Hatchery team in ensuring the fish production is accomplished on schedule and in compliance with state standards. In addition, Brian implements the annual operating budget of the Hatchery and ensures budgetary compliance. Brian received an Associate’s Degree in Fishing and Fisheries Sciences and Management from Bellingham Technical College. In Brian’s free time he enjoys fishing and spending time with his family.
Fish Hatchery Specialist 2 (360) 882-0936 ext. 227
Gary Millhollin joined the Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1988 where he worked for the Bonneville Hatchery in Oregon. He later joined the Vancouver Trout Hatchery team in 1998 where he currently serves as Fish Hatchery Specialist 2. Gary is charged with assisting with the hatchery operations. He maintains the hatching troughs and the incubation rooms – setting up the fish rearing units, caring for the eggs and young fish, and keeping things ship-shape. Gary also works to ensure the round ponds and raceways are clean and healthy for fish rearing. In addition to his hatchery work, Gary keeps the grounds and facilities at Columbia Springs looking spiffy. Gary received an Associate’s Degree in Fisheries Technology from Mt. Hood Community College in 1990. In Gary’s free time he enjoys fishing, hunting, mushrooming, and gardening.
Salmon in the Classroom Program Coordinator
(360) 882-0936 ext. 228
Amanda joined Columbia Springs as the Salmon in the Classroom (SITC) Program Coordinator in June of 2013. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife created the program in 1991 to provide students with an opportunity to learn about salmon through hands-on science. Amanda manages over 50 aquarium tanks in schools across Clark County that rear over 12,000 Coho salmon each year. The SITC Program works in partnership with and is funded by Clark Public Utilities.
Amanda grew up in the green mountains of Vermont and acquired her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and creative writing at Ithaca College. She began her adventures in ecology and environmental education when she traveled with a science-based program to South Africa, where it became clear that learning and working outside would become her life’s passion. Since, she has worked at a variety of community and government agencies dedicated to educating adults and youth about such topics as sustainable farming, ecological patterns, and conservation. Her passion for environmental education has taken her from coast to coast, working to inspire stewardship and getting children outside. When not exploring slugs with kids or watching the Great Blue Herons at Columbia Springs, Amanda enjoys working in her garden, conquering mountains, and reading under trees.
(360) 882-0936 ext. 226
Jennifer James is really excited to join the Columbia Springs community as the new Education Director! As a self-professed lifelong learner, she feels deeply committed to cultivating others’ curiosity about and desire for connection to the natural world. Prior to arriving at Columbia Springs, Jennifer spent several years as a passionate educator of youth and adults in many aspects of environmental education. Her teaching experience has included, but is not limited to, organic farming and gardening, forest ecology, sustainability issues, social justice, plant propagation, ethno-botany, and nutrition education.
For the past 5 years, Jennifer worked as Education Program Manager at Sauvie Island Center (SIC), a non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth about the importance of food, farming and the land. She feels that the Columbia Springs Education Director position presents her with a fantastic opportunity to use her enthusiasm for environmental education, her naturalist skills, and her program management knowledge in a very tangible way. Jennifer is excited about cultivating this important environmental education program that provides opportunities for so many young people to connect to nature!