Joanne Lazo, Executive Director
Joanne Lazo joined the Sauvie Island Center staff in March of 2011 as Marketing Manager and was promoted to Executive Director in July of 2018. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest where her first job was picking strawberries on the small farms that dotted the hills west of Salem.
After graduating from the University of Oregon and spending several post-college years working in advertising in New York City, the beauty and bounty of Oregon called her home. Recently, Joanne served as Marketing Director for the Portland Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, where she developed and administered the school’s corporate giving program.
Joanne has always been committed to community service, volunteering with the Volunteer Action Committee of Eugene while in college. In New York she spent time tutoring kids at a homeless shelter near her apartment. When she returned to Oregon, Joanne gave her time to a variety of education-based non-profit organizations. Working with the Sauvie Island Center allows Joanne to merge her two passions: commitment to community and a love of fresh, local food.
Aliesje King, Program Director
Aliesje comes to SIC with 10 years of garden education and garden program development backing her journey. She holds a Masters of Arts in Education in Ecological and Agricultural education as well as a graduate certificate in field teaching. Most recently she oversaw the garden programs of OSU’s Healthy Youth Program, which included teaching a highschool course on agriculture, cooking and food justice.
Before she shifted to garden education she was in outdoor education and spent a year as middle and high school science teacher; she realized she needed open spaces and found her way to Portland’s thriving learning garden hub. She was the founding director of Portland Earth Art & Agriculture Project, which in 2018 joined forces with Grow Portland. During her time with Earth Art Ag she designed and led garden and ecology summer camps in Portland for 7 summers. She has spent several seasons as a farmers’ market manager, and sold her own produce through CSA’s and community markets. She is a seed saver, plant-based cook, food justice advocate, and is committed to bringing a strong voice for equity and inclusion into her work spaces.
Jules Montes, Grow Lunch Garden Coordinator
Jules Montes moved to Portland 9 years ago from North Carolina. Following her passion for health and wellness she became a certified yoga teacher, completed an organic farming apprenticeship through OSU Extension, and completed a BS in Community Health Education with a minor in Graphic Design. Since 2014 she has worked with the Sauvie Island Center in multiple roles including lead educator, summer camp counselor, managing the Grow Lunch Garden, volunteer coordinator, and promoting community engagement.
Jules brings enthusiasm for connecting children and communities to land stewardship and to organic produce. Her favorite thing about working with the Sauvie Island Center is seeing kids’ excitement when they taste fresh vegetables straight from the Grow Lunch Garden!
When she’s not on the farm, Jules enjoys yoga, backpacking, rock climbing, digital and film photography, and playing the ukulele.
Emma Guida, Program Coordinator
Emma Guida joined Sauvie Island Center just in time for summer camp in 2018, and had so much fun that she stuck around for more. After graduating from Barnard College in New York City, Emma moved to rural Oregon in the fall of 2016 as an Americorps service member. Following her year with Americorps (which involved organizing a four day city-wide celebration for the August 2017 Solar Eclipse), Emma volunteered and traveled in Central Mexico for several months.
Emma moved to Portland in early 2018, in hopes of finding work that allowed her to pursue her passion for sustainable, equitable food systems and for working with children. Sauvie Island Center proved to be just the place. As the Program Coordinator, Emma has done a little of everything with SIC: teaching, organizing and booking classroom visits and field trips, developing curriculum, volunteer recruitment, marketing and communications and more.
Board of Directors
Lesley Rush – Board Chair
Teresa Roether – Board Secretary
Rainbow Wong – Treasurer
Members at Large
Advisory Board Members
Shari Raider – Farmer/Founder
Cory Schreiber – Founder
The Sauvie Island Center is thriving thanks to the hard work of our talented and dedicated volunteers!
Each season we profile a few of our outstanding volunteers in our Volunteer Spotlight.
Are you passionate about gardening, nature, or working outdoors with children? If so, consider volunteering with Sauvie Island Center! Volunteers lead small groups of elementary school students through interactive, hands-on, farm-based lessons on plant life cycles, soil science, pollination, and more. Learn about volunteer opportunities here.