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.  

Ana-Cristina Gonzalez (aka “Black Bear”) 
Bilingual Education Director

Has lived in the beautiful, geographically diverse area of the Columbia River Gorge for entire life. As a fifth grader in 2008, Ana got the chance to experience the SECRETS program at her elementary school in The Dalles. Now, she is working towards completing her Bachelor of Arts from Oregon State University in Cultural Anthropology and Psychology. She is looking forward to combining her love for the outdoors and providing learning opportunities to the youth while building connections and a sense of belonging in nature.

Board of Directors

William Weiler, aka “Grizzly” (Lyle, WA) Bill created the Institute 25 years ago with local educator Martha Hall.  Bill hoped to create a program that would not only create a sense of wonder and place, but also allow for greater amounts of time spent in the classroom and outdoors versus a one-time visit.

Bill and his family have lived in Lyle for 30 years.  Weiler is a wildlife biologist and loves to giver presentations about Columbia Gorge wildlife.


Dan Harkenrider (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.

Rosie Thomas-Wiley, Secretary  (Parkdale, OR)

Suzanne Wright, (Hood River, OR)

Nick Jacob, aka “Nighthawk” President (BZ Corners, WA)

Nick is originally from Michigan and grew up with great outdoor education both in school and at summer camp.  He is active outdoors in his whitewater raft, canoe, biking and hiking.  He is also an active hunter, fisher and gatherer of wild foods. Nick is passionate about educating folks about the world around them and helping them find their passion outside.

Catherine Loke, aka “Otter” Vice President (White Salmon, WA) 

Catherine is originally from North Carolina and fell in love with the PNW when she attended the University of Oregon. She is an avid outdoors woman and spends a great deal of time kayaking and rafting the beautiful rivers in the NW and beyond. Now, she enjoys sharing her passion for outdoor adventure and exploration with her young son and through the programs offered with GEO.

Jan Thomas, Treasurer (White Salmon, WA)

Kris Schaedel (Bingen, WA)

Adrienne Acosta, aka “Sage” (Cascade Locks, OR)

Adrienne is originally from New England and always knew she belonged “out west.” She went to college in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and fell in love with outdoor recreation. She chose the  Columbia River Gorge as her home because of all the year round recreational activities.  As an educator and outdoor enthusiast she sees the impact experiential learning has on students. She believes in equity and opening doors to creating opportunity for all children. She enjoys rafting, skiing, biking, rugby,  and sustainably fishing the local waterways.