Samara Group


Collaborative. Creative. Scientific. 



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. 



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Jalene Littlejohn

Jalene Littlejohn is an ecologist leading the firm’s community partnerships and collaborative projects. Jalene specializes in team management, partnership coordination, strategic planning, group facilitation and science communications centered around environmental stewardship, invasive species, sense of place, environmental justice and wildlife habitat. She has extensive experience working within complex project environments and enjoys the challenge of connecting interagency and community-based teams.

Currently, Jalene is the Lead Coordinator for the Oregon Invasive Species Council and supports a number of other invasive species and conservation initiatives in the region. She currently serves as the Strategic Communications Chair for the Society for Ecological Restoration Northwest Chapter and is the former Chair of Green Lents, a community building non-profit she founded in 2009. Jalene lives in Hillsboro with her family of four. In her free time you can find Jalene chasing after two active little ones, getting her hands dirty in the garden, enjoying dance classes or learning new music.


M.E.M. Environmental Management, 2012

B.S., Environmental Science and Resources, 2007




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.  


Ph.D., School of the Environment, expected completion 2017

B.S., Environmental Science, 2007




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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.


B.A. Environmental Studies–Biology, 2015



Olivia Guethling

Project Lead/Art Direction & Communication - Olivia is Project Lead at Samara Group focusing on Art Direction. She specializes in Communications,  Marketing, and Storytelling. Her work threads the power of human experience throughout the lifespan of a project from concept to design and the user experience. Her expertise adds authenticity, visionary concepts and empathy to the projects she works with. Throughout her career, her work has focused on complex problem solving, engaging stakeholder groups and interdisciplinary collaboration. She focuses on helping companies and organizations align their branding with their mission. 

She worked as creative director, event producer, art performer, and designed and authored several books. Olivia also held a leading role in several award-winning and internationally recognized productions in Germany, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Israel, and was the lead graphic artist for award winning real estate developments. 

Outside of work Olivia is fascinated by hand lettering and book design and is an enthusiastic adventurer, traveler, yogi, and boxer.


M.F.A Collaborative Design

B.A. Visual Communication Design 



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.


B.S. Environmental Sciences, 2016



Katelyn Hale

Project Assistant—Katelyn brings to Samara over 8 years experience as an educator, facilitator, and illustrator. She holds a Master of Science from Portland State University in Leadership for Sustainability Education, where she developed unique educational trainings and materials that weave together ecological literacy and social justice practice. Her work in popular education, ecological literacy, and social justice theory equip her with a unique perspective and skill set in Samara’s communication and design teams. Katelyn values the integrity of both the solution to a problem, and the process to create it, and believes there are no failures when you learn big lessons. An adaptable and driven polymath, her wide variety of program management experience includes 2 years managing a 2.5 acre organic farm, 3 years coordinating a teen-driven community development program, and over 8 years facilitating countless meetings and workshops building the movement for sustainable and just food systems.

In her free time, Katelyn loves backpacking in wilderness areas, barbecuing for her friends, and building shadow puppets.


M.S., Educational Leadership & Policy, Leadership for Sustainability Education, 2015

Lewis & Clark College
B.A., Anthropology/Sociology & Hispanic Studies, 2009

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Project Specialist

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.



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



Project Specialist

James Holley

Jim has performed wildlife field surveys in Northwest Oregon since 2009. He has led native turtle surveys in basins around the Portland Metro area for 7 years, while teaching hundreds of volunteers how to identify and gather valuable data on turtle habitats and population. His strong leadership, commitment to high quality data, and actionable recommendations make him an irreplaceable member to any team.


Postbacculaureate Coursework in Biology, 2017

Postbacculaureate Coursework in Biology, Botany and Chemistry, 2010

B.A. Anthropology, 1999

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Project Specialist

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.


Humboldt State University
M.S. Natural Resources / Wildlife

Humboldt State University
B.A. Zoology



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AirView Cinematography

AirView Cinematography is a video production company specializing in aerial video and photography.  AirView was founded to service a larger video production company’s need for high quality aerial imagery.  This put us on the forefront of what can be done with the use of drones. We are helping those who are helping save the planet. 

Instagram: @airviewcinematography

Twitter: @AirViewCinema


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Garden Ecology

Garden Ecology is dedicated to enhancing abundance and resilience through increased ecological wellness and sense of place. Providing design, consulting, and maintenance services for both private and public projects.

Instagram: garden_ecology

Facebook: Garden Ecology

Twitter: @AprilJamison1


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Northwest Avian Resources

Northwest Avian Resources provides regional avian consulting services and research  to government and private organizations. We offer exceptional capabilities in avian field surveys, population studies, monitoring techniques, conservation plans, and science reviews. NWAR assists agencies and groups with avian conservation projects that produce measurable benefits to avian populations and their habitats.