Samara Group
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About

Collaborative. Creative. Scientific. 

History

Leslie and Jalene met at Portland State University studying environmental science and shared a passion for connecting habitat for wildlife.  They identified the need for holistic scientific projects that serve our diverse community and clearly communicate the need for science in our daily lives. 

 

 

 
 

Directors

 
 

DIRECTOR

Jalene Littlejohn

Jalene Littlejohn is a CEO with Samara Group, leading the firm’s community partnerships and collaborative project coordination.  Littlejohn specializes in team management, partnership coordination, strategic planning, and dynamic group facilitation—all centered on environmental stewardship, sense of place, environmental justice and connecting wildlife habitat.  Littlejohn founded Samara Group to enhance environmental projects through a combination of rigorous science, inclusive partnerships, and effective communications.  It is here where she excels and thrives.  Current projects include coordination of the Oregon Invasive Species Council and West Willamette Restoration Partnership in Portland, among a number of volunteer initiatives such as founding a neighborhood nonprofit to promote community-building and environmental justice in an underserved community.

Jalene Littlejohn lives in Hillsboro, OR with her family of four.

Education

PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY
M.E.M. Environmental Management, 2012

PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY
B.S., Environmental Science and Resources, 2007

 
 

 

DIRECTOR

Leslie Bliss-Ketchum

Leslie Bliss-Ketchum is a wildlife ecologist who has been actively monitoring and researching the impacts of the built environment on habitat connectivity, assessing the success of mitigation efforts and developing connectivity assessments. She provides rigorous scientific results, recognizing that environmental issues are complex and require effective communication. Leslie is currently completing her Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Portland State University where her research has focused primarily on issues of urban wildlife and roads as barriers to wildlife movement.  She is excited to be continuing this work on a variety of scales, from region to neighborhood, to statewide and beyond. She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology and graduated Cum Laude from PSU in 2007.

Leslie is a Past-President of the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society, current board member of the Urban Wildlife Working Group and former Conservation Affairs Representative for the Northwest Section of The Wildlife Society. She is currently co-principal investigator of the Metro Habitat Connectivity Project in Portland Oregon and was the principal investigator for the first phase of the Lava Butte wildlife crossings monitoring project on US HWY 97. She is also an adjunct faculty at Portland State University teaching courses in field methods in wildlife science and road ecology.

Leslie applies enthusiasm, prudence and eagerness all of her work as an ecologist and adapts her approach to every client's particular needs and parameters.  

Education

PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY
Ph.D., School of the Environment, expected completion 2017

PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY
B.S., Environmental Science, 2007

 
 

 
 

Staff

 
 
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STAFF

Robyn Draheim

Invasive Species Biologist - Robin Draheim brings more than 15 years of experience with aquatic invasive species to Samara Group. With a background in invasive species ecology as well as natural resource management and policy, Robyn's work experience spans surveys for and identification of aquatic invaders, the development of outreach and awareness tools for the general public, and collaboration on state and national species management plan development and implementation. Although classically trained in marine biology, Robyn has long since expanded her love of all things wet and muddy to include freshwater habitats.

Education

University of Washington
M.M.A. Marine Resource Management, 1999

Virginia Institute of Marine Science
M.S. Marine Biology, Estuarine Ecology

University of California at Lost Angeles
B.S. Biology, Marine Biology, 1994


STAFF

Sandra Jacobson

Wildlife Biologist/Transportation Ecologist - Sandra brings her expertise from a 36-year career as a Wildlife Biologist for the USDA Forest Service. Most recently, she worked for the Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, California, and has worked on several National Forests at different levels. For the last two decades, she has served as the US Forest Service’s national and international subject matter expert for transportation ecology, assisting public land managers in identifying and mitigating impacts to wildlife from highways on over two dozen public land units. Through the research branch of the Forest Service, she facilitated research on highway projects and has authored several publications on transportation ecology topics. Through her experience assisting federal, state and local entities in planning and implementing wildlife-friendly highway projects, she has developed effective in-person and online training for natural resource and transportation professionals in the US and abroad. In her spare time, Sandra has other interests besides reducing roadkill. They include Argentine tango dancing, learning Spanish, and birding. She’s also certified as a personal trainer and nutrition coach, and a licensed private pilot.

Education

Humboldt State University
M.S. Natural Resources / Wildlife

Humboldt State University
B.A. Zoology


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STAFF

Adriana Escobedo-Land

Project Associate—Adriana is an Oregon-raised Project Associate on the Samara Group team. She is a skilled project manager with experience in grassroots nonprofit development, horticultural research, and outdoor education. As a detail-oriented organizer who is passionate about science communication, she employs data visualization, mapping, and a collaborative approach to create well-rounded, and informative products. She has a wonderful disposition that makes her easy to approach and a joy to be around, and her unshakeable work ethic makes her a powerful asset in any project. Through her work with Samara Group and in numerous volunteer engagements, Adriana ensures that everyone has access to safe and healthy environments. Off-the-clock you will find Adriana partaking in Portland’s food scene or going on a hike.

Education

REED COLLEGE
B.A. Environmental Studies–Biology, 2015


Staff

Marie Hepner

Project Associate—Marie brings a wide skillset to the Samara team, including research and technical writing, stakeholder tracking, accounting, and grant tracking. Highly focused and inquisitive, Marie is skilled at asking useful questions and tackles complexity with ease. Some of the projects that Marie has worked on include the Urban Biodiversity Inventory Framework, Oregon Invasive Species Council, West Willamette Restoration Partnership, and Oregon's Readiness and Response Plan for Emerald Ash Borer.

In her free time, Marie enjoys gardening, rockhounding, and camping.

Education

PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY
B.S. Environmental Sciences, 2016

 


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Staff

Kailey Fry

Project Associate— Kailey brings her background in industrial scientific photography and collaborative design to help facilitate clear and valuable communication between creatives, scientists, clients, the public and administrators. With skill in visual thinking, systems thinking and the blending of science and art, she creates engaging materials and experiences across multiple fields and disciplines. She can show you a systems map representation of a wide range of problems and and explain crystallographic photography in the same conversation.

When not at work, Kailey enjoys wet plate photography, and advocating for patients with Type 1 Diabetes and other endocrine disease.

Education

PACIFIC NORTHWEST COLLEGE OF ARTS
M.F.A Collaborative Design, 2015

BROOKS INSTITUTE
B.A. Professional Photography - Industrial/Scientific, 2011