WeedWise Program Manager
Sam has been the manager of the WeedWise program since its inception in 2009. He is an ecologist specializing in invasive species management. As program manager, Sam oversees the operations and continued development of the WeedWise Program. He also provides technical assistance to local landowners and to the Clackamas SWCD planning staff.
Born and raised in rural eastern Oregon, Sam learned the importance of responsible land management at a young age. Weed management was an important part of his rural upbringing.
Sam attended Oregon State University and earned an Honors Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science. He later received a Master’s of Science, in Ecology from the University of California, Davis after specializing in invasive species ecology and management.
Over the course of his career, Sam has worked on a variety of ecological issues, including Willamette Valley prairie restoration, rare plant conservation, production forestry, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, water quality, population modeling, as well as invasive species management.
While serving as WeedWise program manager, Sam has been very active in Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMA) in Oregon and serves a leadership role for the 4-County CWMA and the Columbia Gorge CWMA. Sam also serves on the Board for the Pacific Northwest Invasive Plants Council, and on the Advisory Committee for the Oregon Invasive Species Council.
Sam lives in Oregon City with his wife and two sons. He enjoys gardening and spending quality time with his family.
Jeff Lesh is a WeedWise Specialist employed with WeedWise program since 2011. He works on weed survey and control throughout the county and also provides technical assistance to public and private land managers on invasive plant issues. In addition to his fieldwork, Jeff develops and maintains the WeedWise program’s spatial and non-spatial computer databases and mobile data collection solutions and also performs GIS analysis and cartography services for the program. Jeff is currently the chair of the Mapping & Data Subcommittee at the 4-County Cooperative Weed Management Area.
Jeff received a Bachelor’s of Arts from Lewis & Clark College in 2004 with majors in Computer Science/Mathematics and Religious Studies. He pursued a career in software engineering at a large software development company prior to transitioning to work in ecology. He has been working on invasive plant issues in Clackamas County and the region since 2008 in various capacities, including as an AmeriCorps volunteer, at the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District, as a volunteer with the Tsunami Crew, with an ecological restoration contractor, and at the WeedWise program. Jeff was a board member of the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council from its inception in 2009 until 2012 developing its first website and supporting is early growth as an important voice and actor on conservation issues in its watersheds.
Jeff was raised in the wilds of Southeast Alaska as well as in Kansas City, Kansas. Southeast Alaska had a profound impact on Jeff where his family operates a full-service inn, restaurant, and small farm focused on vegetables and cut flowers supplying the inn and restaurant. He also harvested wild food frequently in waters, forests, and wetlands largely absent of invasive species, giving him a keen sense of the degree to which these plants have altered some ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest.
Jeff lives with his family in Portland and enjoys renovating his home, growing too many pepper plants in his garden, and harvesting wild foods and playing in our region’s beautiful forests and waters.
Lindsey Karr joined the WeedWise program in 2016. She works on controlling, surveying, and mapping invasive species; conducting outreach to landowners; and also collaborates with many of our partners to carry out the management plan for the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP).
Lindsey has worked with a variety of natural resource organizations in the Portland metro area, including a year-long internship with the City of Portland controlling invasive plants; a winter with the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District maintaining natural areas; and summers with the US Forest Service as a ranger, the Mount St. Helens Institute as a guide, and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement as a plant ecologist. She has also conducted plant surveys on Mount St. Helens and Mt. Adams and in timber harvest areas across Oregon and Washington. Before joining our team, she spent the summer controlling invasive plants at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, where she worked with volunteers and often got around in kayaks or ATVs.
Lindsey grew up in Washington with a thirst for adventure and exploration that was closely tied to a love for nature. She earned her Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Seattle Pacific University, and then taught high school for 9 years, including one year of teaching English in Kathmandu, Nepal. While still working as a teacher, she began guiding outdoor trips in 2005. Her love for the outdoors, desire to protect natural resources, and fascination with plants lead her to pursue a Master’s in Environmental Management from Portland State University, which she completed in 2014. For her thesis, she studied the spread of non-native plants at Mount St. Helens.
Lindsey lives in Portland and loves growing vegetables, cooking tasty food, taking photos of wildflowers, and exploring forests and mountains.
WeedWise Specialist/ CWMA Coordinator
Courtney Gattuso is the newest member of the WeedWise program, joining the team in October 2018. She works on surveying and controlling invasive species in the Sandy River Basin while conducting education and outreach efforts to local landowners. Aside from her role in weed control projects, Courtney also serves as the 4-County and Columbia Gorge Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) Coordinator, where she organizes meetings and events to help spread the word on the importance of invasive plant management.
Courtney developed a passion for ecological restoration during her year-long internship with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in Marin County, California, where she was able to watch whales and lead volunteer groups simultaneously. After a long road trip through the Pacific Northwest, she packed her bags and shortly found her new home in Oregon. She worked as a restoration contractor for Mosaic Ecology, where she learned the local flora and the importance of working collaboratively in a team dynamic. She has also worked seasonal positions with Clean Water Services and Metro, further pursuing her passion for natural resource conservation.
Courtney grew up on a ranch with her family in southern California, where she spent her childhood riding horses and observing wildlife in her backyard. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resource Management and Conservation, as well as a Bachelor’s of Arts in Geography.
Courtney lives in Portland and enjoys film photography, attending local concerts, and camping with friends and her pup, Juniper.