Ben has a varied background which includes 12 years as an attorney, 16 years as a teacher of middle and high-school students, and over a decade as a volunteer with land trusts in California, Oregon, and Hawai`i. His teaching included Geology, Meteorology, Environmental Science, and Native Habitat Restoration classes, as well as uncountable field trips along the Maui and central California coastlines. He also taught Sustainability Science and Island Sustainability at the University of Hawai`i, Maui College.
“I’m excited at this opportunity to be intimately involved in the acquisition, protection, and restoration of lands and habitats along the northern Coast of Oregon. It has long been my goal to work for a land trust, especially to protect and restore riparian habitats. I see this as my dream job, working with a motivated and dedicated community, while applying my knowledge and skills to protect our forests, wetlands, and streams, as well as the myriad organisms that rely on them for survival.”
Ben likes to bike and hike, often with his camera in tow, and looks forward to exploring the lands and waterways in and around the Nehalem Bay region.
LNCT welcomes Shane Sjogren and his enthusiasm as the Trust’s Stewardship Lead. He feels fortunate to share the beauty of this area with the community. His appreciation for restoration of natural lands began in his youth with many voyages into Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Shane graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in Speech and Intercultural Communication.
Shane was a landscape designer before wanderlust led him to teach English in Taiwan for four years. Summer breaks were spent traveling to almost a dozen different countries. Upon his return, Shane loaded his motorcycle, surfboard and dog into his van to explore the West Coast. “I was awestruck at the colossal vegetation of the forests and the great pulse of the ocean”. He has been a resident here for nearly a decade. When not surfing, biking, or hiking Shane likes to forage for clay deposits to create ceramic pieces inspired by natural landscapes.
Community Garden COORDINATOR
Janice Soots started as our Garden Coordinator in February, 2022. Janice’s food gardening roots in the Three Villages area go deep. She has lived in Manzanita for over 35 years, growing food for her family, and organic basil for stores. She also studied gardening throughout Tillamook County during her 2 years of training through the OSU Master Gardener program. Janice also has been part of a 6-person Leadership Committee that collectively guides management of the Trust’s 1.2-acre Community Garden. Together this group lays out planting and maintenance plans for the Garden as a whole. Janice continues to work with the group, but has taken on broader administrative duties. We are pleased to have a long-time area resident, Master Gardener, and well-respected member of the Community Garden step into this important role.
education and outreach coordinator
Emily contributes diverse experience in program development, administration, and communication and has worked with nonprofits and education programs in the US, Costa Rica, Australia, and the Republic of Nauru. She holds degrees in Anthropology, and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development and grew up spending ample time in the area. Emily loves furthering LNCT’s role in connecting people to place through education and stewardship, sharing LNCT’s stories, and making connections to enrich educational programming centered around our shared natural resources.