CEE Change Fellow Katie Russell hugging a donkey
  • Katie Russell (she/her)

    Communications Coordinator, Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition
  • CEE-Change Fellow
  • 2023
United States

Katie Russell works with Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition’s CoastWatch in the schools to help students learn about and care for the Oregon Coast.

About Katherine (Katie) Russell

Katie Russell has worked as the Communications Coordinator for Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition since July of 2022. The Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition was founded in 1971 to protect public access to Oregon’s beaches. It empowers citizens through education and conservation action to learn about, enjoy, and defend the Oregon coast. Katie earned her master's degree in environmental studies from the University of Oregon with a focus on education and nonprofit management. 

In addition to her work with Oregon Shores, she also serves as the board secretary of The National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpreters and sits on the board of The Elakha Alliance, which works for the restoration of Oregon's historic sea otter population. Before moving to Oregon, Katie graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Science and worked as a marine mammal trainer and zookeeper in Hawaii for almost ten years.

Katie’s Community Action Project (CAP)

Katie’s project aims to engage Oregon schools, particularly those in underserved coastal communities, in outdoor learning and community science on the Oregon Coast through an extension of the CoastWatch volunteer program. Presently, they offer a "CoastWatch in the Schools" (CWIS) program but do not have the staffing to standardize the program and create official, comprehensive materials to provide to schools.

The project goals include creating pre-trip, field trip, and post-trip lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students—a “menu” of additional activities or lessons—which will highlight connections to local groups and nonprofits actively working to protect the Oregon coast. This menu will allow teachers to customize their experience based on the coastal habitats they can access, increasing relevancy to students.

Katie plans to recruit more schools to participate in CWIS, help more teachers incorporate ocean and environmental literacy into their curriculum, and provide more opportunities for outdoor learning. This will help Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition achieve its vision of helping schools develop their own community science projects, increase students’ understanding of climate change and solutions, and cultivate hopeful, resilient, and active communities.