Network Board & Staff

Our Network board and staff members include respected leaders in river health, sustainability, Tribal sovereignty, environmental justice and youth leadership development. 

 

Network Staff

 

Director of Network Coordination

Tana Atchley Culbertson

Tana Atchley Culbertson

Tana joined the Network after nearly two decades working in youth education and career development in higher education and Tribal settings. In these roles, she used a multicultural lens to develop programs that served diverse youth more effectively. She also forged strong connections with Northwest Tribes, educational institutions, nonprofits and communities. 

Tana has a journalism degree from the University of Oregon and pursued graduate studies in college student services and administration at the Oregon State University College of Education. She serves on the board of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and the University of Oregon Alumni Association. She also volunteers with the Oregon Community Foundation and is a former member of the Oregon Indian Education Association’s executive board. 

An enrolled citizen of the Klamath Tribes who is of Modoc, Paiute and Karuk descent, Tana’s personal and cultural connections to rivers run deep. Growing up along the Sprague River in Southern Oregon, witnessing the effects of the degradation in her home watershed motivated Tana to dedicate herself to addressing the environmental harm that afflicts our watersheds and the people who depend upon them. 

Tana enjoys connecting to the Willamette River by kayaking, dragon boating, and hiking along its banks with her husband and two young children. 

 

 

Board Members

 

Clinton Begley, co-chair

Clinton Begley

Clinton is Executive Director of the Long Tom Watershed Council, where he helps local communities in the Upper Willamette Basin work toward clean water and healthy habitats. An avid whitewater paddler and third generation family farm owner, Clinton’s personal connection to water runs deep. His professional work has focused on the intersection of human experiences with nature and their influence on stewardship values and behaviors. Clinton views community based conservation organizations foremost as cultural organizations that translate the values of their communities into action on the ground. He views humans and nature as mutually dependent, not separate entities. The river journal he has kept since 2004 records the details of his trips on 116 different rivers across the country. The first on that list is North River; which runs through Clinton’s family farm in Northeast Missouri. His home river, the North River is as special to him as any of the rivers he has spent time getting to know since. What Clinton loves most about rivers are the connections we make with them can be as meaningful as those we have with our human families.

 

Nabin Dhimal

Nabin Dhimal

Nabin brings a long history of mentorship and advocacy for social and environmental justice to his role as program coordinator with Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO). Nabin’s experience as a refugee has fueled a passion for dismantling systemic injustices against immigrants, refugees, and communities of color. He has been involved in environmental justice work since his teen years, first as an advocate for GroundWork Portland and later as a Community Youth Ambassador for the City of Portland, where he helped integrate new immigrants to the Portland parks system. Fluent in Nepali, Hindi, and English, Nabin is an advocate and a mentor for ESL students in Portland Public Schools (PPS) and first-generation college students at Portland State University, where he earned a masters degree in Leadership for Sustainability Education. He was instrumental in organizing the PPS Youth Leadership Council to increase access to leadership opportunities for historically underrepresented students. He believes creating a healthy river system requires holistic leadership that engages and elevate marginalized and disenfranchised communities.

 

Queta Gonzalez

Queta Gonzalez

Queta is the Director of the Center for Diversity & the Environment, where she trains and collaborates with nonprofits, corporations, small businesses and governments to advance diversity, equity and inclusion within the conservation field. A lifelong river lover, Queta’s past professional experiences include managing a rafting company in the Grand Canyon and working in wilderness-based education. In her role as an equity facilitator and coach, she leads with compassion and a deep belief that we are stronger together. Queta also serves on the Governor’s Task Force on the Outdoors and on the Roadmap to the Outdoors advisory group. She lives in Portland with her partner and two cats, though the cats think they should be listed first.

Queta finds deep meaning in the Loren Eiseley quote, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

 

Michael Pope, treasurer

Michael Pope

Michael is the former Director of Greenbelt Land Trust,  a regional conservation organization based in the mid-Willamette Valley. Before joining Greenbelt, Michael worked for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as the agency’s Wildlife Mitigation Coordinator and Oregon Conservation Strategy Coordinator. He holds a BA in History from the University of North Carolina and a BS, MS, and Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University and was a research assistant and faculty research associate at the university from 1989 to 2004. Michael has extensive experience volunteering on local, regional and national boards and committees, including the Marys River Watershed Council board, the Oregon Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts board and the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Before embarking on a conservation career, Michael spent more than a decade as a professional boat builder in Maine, Maryland, Washington, and Alaska. He believes the key to achieving a healthy river lies in creating a diverse, passionate and committed coalition that advocates and acts for its future.  Rivers are a large part of Michael’s history. He was born in Salzburg, a river city along the Salzach River at the edge of the northern Alps in Austria. For the past 32 years he has lived a few blocks from the Willamette River in Corvallis with his wife, Becca who is a professional potter. One of his favorite pastimes is to float down the Willamette in his kayak on a summer evening observing kingfishers, osprey, bald eagles, and towering cottonwoods along the riverbank.

 

Gabe Sheoships, co-chair

Gabe Sheoships

Gabe is the Executive Director of the Friends of Tryon Creek, where he leads efforts focused on community building, environmental stewardship and protection of the natural world. Gabe is Cayuse and Walla Walla from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Gabe has spent his
life along the travel corridors and pathways of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, following traditional migratory routes of his ancestors. Gabe has dedicated his life’s work to protecting Indigenous First Foods, encouraging healthy ecosystems and empowering people to act as stewards of the land and water. In the Portland metropolitan area, Gabe has roots and relationships with Black, Indigenous, Immigrant and Refugee communities that date back to the 1980s. Through these relationships Gabe has built and advocated for change and continued support to meet community needs that have shifted and grown in his 20 years of work.

Gabe serves as the Board President for the Tributaries Network and is a board member of the Center for Diversity and the Environment and Freshwaters Illustrated, both nonprofit organizations. As Adjunct Professor at Portland State University, Gabe instructs students in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program, Environmental Science and Management, and University Studies departments. Gabe has an MSc in Fisheries Biology from Oregon State University. Family, fatherhood, and friendship are what Gabe holds most important in this world.