Staff and Board


Drew Eastman (aka “Steelhead”)
Executive Director


Drew has been committed to natural resources conservation and engaged with youth development since 2001. Drew deepened his passion for environmental sciences and education while completing a semester with the National Outdoor Leadership School in 2002. After receiving a Bachelors of Science in outdoor education Drew served a one year term with an Americorps team conducting outdoor experiential education programs at the Cispus Learning Center in Randle, WA where he was also recognized and awarded by the Washington Service Corps for excellence in service. In 2008 Drew moved to the Columbia Gorge following his dream to pursue daily outdoor recreation. Drew was hired as a conservation educator with the Ecology Institute at the end of 2011. In the spring of 2013 Drew became CGEI’s executive director and led the organization through a strategic planning process. Drew’s passion for outdoor education is contagious and his personality is inviting. While not kayaking down rivers you can find Drew coaching Hood River’s Wrestling Club as well as skiing on Mt. Hood or windsurfing in the Columbia. Drew is also a member of several organizations working to protect natural resources.  



Anna Wagner (aka “River Otter”)
Program and Development Assistant

Anna is originally from Northern California, and was drawn to the Columbia River Gorge because of it’s abundant whitewater and outdoor recreation. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly, SLO) in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Outdoor Education and Sustainable Tourism. She is excited to be educating the youth with the Gorge Ecology Institute!

Liz von Ruden (aka “Huckleberry”)
Conservation Educator/JVCNorthwest/Americorps Volunteer

Liz is a JV/AmeriCorps volunteer from Bainbridge Island, Washington. She just graduated from University of San Diego where she studied Biology and researched aquatic macro-invertebrates. She’s happy to be back in the Northwest and exploring the Columbia Gorge through running, hiking, and biking. Liz used to be a mentor coach for a 4th and 5th grade girls running program and is excited to be serving that age group again with SECRETS! As a Conservation Educator, Liz hopes she can share her love and appreciation for nature with students around the Gorge. She believes that every child deserves the chance to develop a sense of wonder, belonging, and care for our common home through access to the outdoors.


Board of Directors

William Weiler, aka “Grizzly” President (Lyle, WA) works for the Hood River County Parks and Recreation Department. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the Gifford Pinchot Task Force and prior to that as a Habitat Biologist and as the Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Specialist for the Lower Klickitat River Sub-basin, the Yakima Basin, and the Jewett Creek sub-basin. Weiler led the initial curriculum development for the SECRETS science education program in 1996-97 and has served on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Earth Education for more than ten years.

Dan Harkenrider Treasurer (Underwood, WA) last served as the Manager of the US Forest Service’s Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.  Dan has worked for the State of Indiana and the Bureau of Land Management doing soil surveys, and as a soil scientist/watershed specialist, forester and forest manager in the States of Oregon and Washington. Dan was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, attended Purdue University and earned a degree in Forestry and Soil Science. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1978 and has been a National Scenic Area resident since 2000.

Beth Flake Secretary (Hood River, Oregon) obtained a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas and enjoyed a 25 year career at 3M in manufacturing and new product development.  Since college, she has volunteered with organizations focusing on  science and environmental education.  Currently a SECRETS classroom volunteer, she is having fun studying the natural world with the smartest 5th graders in the Gorge.

Dan Richardson, aka “Coyote” (The Dalles, OR) first learned of CGEI’s work with students by happy chance, through a partnership at a stream restoration project. He recognized the value and promise of bringing kids outside for part of their education. Later, his own daughter had the privilege of participating in the SECRETS program. During this time Dan volunteered, loved the connections he saw children making, and was very pleased to join the board upon invitation. He is thankful to be involved with CGEI as a partner, a parent, and a volunteer. He hopes to provide even a small amount of help in bringing SECRETS and other CGEI programs to new generations of Columbia Gorge Kids.

Kelly Beard, aka “Packrat” (Hood River, OR) attended Outdoor Science School as a sixth-grade student in the 1970s. Later on, he volunteered as an Outdoor School Counselor during each of his high school years. Eventually, he became an ODS Resource Instructor, which led him toward a career in public education. Kelly is the current principal at May Street Elementary School in Hood River.

Rosie Thomas-Wiley (Parkdale, OR)

Nick Jacob (BZ Corners, WA)