Dominick DellaSala, PhD., President and Chief Scientist

DominickDellaSalaDr. Dominick A. DellaSala is President and Chief Scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon and President of the Society for Conservation Biology, North America Section. View his CV.

Dominick is an internationally renowned author of over 150 technical papers, including the award winning “Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World.” Dominick has given plenary and keynote talks ranging from academic conferences to the United Nations (Earth Summit II). He has appeared in National Geographic, Science Digest, Science Magazine, Time Magazine, Audubon Magazine, National Wildlife Magazine, High Country News, Terrain Magazine, NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Jim Lehrer News Hour, CNN, MSNBC, “Living on Earth (NPR),” and several PBS wildlife documentaries. He has testified in congressional hearings in defense of the Endangered Species Act, roadless area conservation, national monument designations, forest protections, and climate change among others. For his efforts to help foster national roadless area conservation and support designation of new national monuments, he received conservation leadership awards from the World Wildlife Fund in 2000 and 2004, the Wilburforce Foundation in 2006, and was twice nominated for conservation awards for his work as a whistleblower while on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service spotted owl recovery team. His rainforest book received an academic excellence award in 2012 from Choice magazine, one of the nation's premier book review journals. Dominick co-founded the Geos Institute in July 2006. He is motivated by leaving a living planet for his daughter and all those to follow.

Tonya Graham, MA, Executive Director


In addition to overseeing all strategic planning, operations, and fund-raising at Geos Institute, Tonya Graham has taken a lead role in developing the ClimateWise® initiative and consulting services.

The ClimateWise planning framework helps community leaders understand likely future conditions and consider how to invest their resources in reducing the impacts. The process encourages local leaders to implement a “whole community approach” that integrates the needs of human and natural communities, while creating co-benefits across sectors. Tonya served as the Fundraising Chair for the 2013 National Adaptation Forum. In 2012 she co-organized the Practitioners Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation: Integrated Strategies for Human and Natural Communities with the Kresge Foundation.

Tonya holds a B.S. in Biophysical Environmental Studies from Northland College and a M.A. in Community Development from Goddard College. Tonya serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon.

Marni Koopman, PhD, Climate Change Scientist

MarniKoopmanMarni takes a lead role in developing and executing ClimateWise® projects to help local communities and federal land managers prepare for a changing climate. She brings communities the science they need to make informed decisions and walks them through a process that results in climate change strategies that are integrated across both natural and human communities.  Marni has also worked on developing climate-informed conservation blueprints for the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion and the Colorado Plateau.  Marni joined the Geos Institute's staff after completing postdoctoral research with the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station. That research investigated the effects of climate change on wildlife and wildlife habitat by working with a team to model climate stress and assess the level of state planning for climate change in the State Wildlife Action Plans. Marni has expertise in climate change effects on wildlife, ornithology, metapopulation ecology, conservation genetics, and invasive species.  Marni holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a M.S. in Wildland Resource Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Wyoming.

Brian Barr, MS, Aquatic Habitat Restoration Project Manager

Brian Barr 2014 loBrian Barr is an aquatic ecologist with over 16 years of experience on trout and salmon restoration in the Pacific and intermountain west. He holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Miami University and a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife science from Virginia Tech. Over the past nine years, Brian has focused his attention on improving fish passage conditions in the Rogue and Klamath Rivers of southern Oregon and northern California, restoring river, floodplain, and streambank conditions,  and assessing the effects of livestock grazing on creeks and springs in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Recently, he has turned his attention to the emerging impacts of climate change, how those impacts are likely to affect communities and natural resources, and what we can do to prepare ourselves and the resources we depend upon to withstand these effects. In his off time, Brian fishes, watches his daughter ride horses, and bites his fingernails during Virginia Tech football games.

Julie Norman, MA, Program Coordinator

JulieNormanJulie has been engaged in many different roles with nonprofit organizations in Southwest Oregon for the last 27 years. She served as a panelist at President Clinton's 1993 Forest Conference and was named Conservationist of the Year by Oregon Wild (1992) and Environmental Hero by the Wilderness Society (1998). In her current position at the the Geos Institute, Julie supports the development, conservation, and communication programs in a variety of capacities. She holds an M.A. degree from the University of Texas in Computer Science and Educational Psychology.

Jessica Leonard, BA, GISP, Spatial Analysis Program Manager

JessicaLeonardJessica directs our Spatial Analysis Program, with an emphasis on preparing local climate change projections for communities and agencies planning for climate change. She has developed custom python scripts to facilitate the conversion of raw climate data into aesthetically pleasing and educational projection maps. She has a wide range of GIS and cartographic experience at the municipal, planning, and scientific levels. Jessica also assists with the mapping needs of the rest of the programs at the Geos Institute, such as integrating spatial datasets to map forests with high carbon stores, mapping fish habitat and passage impediments to aid aquatic biologists and land managers with restoration efforts, assessing land owners and pollutants within drinking water surface water source areas, and various other program needs as they arise. She is a Certified GIS Professional (GISP) from the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI), holds a B.A. in Geography from Augustana College in Illinois and a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Portland State University.

John Stahmer, BA, Finance Director

JohnStahmerJohn brings to the Geos Institute 25 years of experience working for non-profit organizations in a variety of administrative and financial positions. He has served on the staff of other conservation and cultural heritage organizations and was instrumental in the formation of Rogue Environmental Inc., a group of supporters that provides office space to the Geos Institute at very reasonable rates. His broad range of administrative and accounting skills, along with his commitment to making the world a better place, make him a perfect complement to the rest of the staff. John received a B.A. in Political Science from Hanover College in Indiana, and furthered his post-graduate studies in accounting and non-profit administration at Southern Oregon University.

Chad Leister, BA, MEM, Gulf Coast ClimateWise Manager

Chad Leister 2014Chad Leister serves as President of Leister Consulting Company and is helping the Geos Institute assist Gulf of Mexico communities with local analysis of climate impacts and resilience planning. Mr. Leister has worked with the Mission-Aransas Reserve (Texas )and Weeks Bay Foundation (Alabama) in collaboration with regional experts. Chad is a member of the Gulf Climate Community of Practice, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership Communications Committee, and Gulf of Mexico Alliance Resilience Team. Since 2008 he has hosted numerous climate and resilience workshops in the Gulf region. Mr. Leister holds a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy / Economics and a M.E.M. (Master of Engineering Management) in Coastal Environmental Management / Economics and Environmental Policy from Duke University.

Cindy Deacon Williams, MS, Senior Fellow

A fisheries biologist by training, Cindy currently facilitates ClimateWise®, workshops to help communities prepare for a changing climate. She also assists the Geos Institute in writing articles for publications in scientific journals. She has over 25 years of experience as a policy analyst and field biologist working with conservation organizations, governmental agencies, and the California legislature. Cindy helped write natural resource laws in California and Washington, D.C. to protect endangered species, water resources, and wetlands, and assisted the Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service in development of regional federal land management plans for the Pacific Northwest and Columbia River Basin. She is the co-author of an essay to be published in the upcoming book Moral Ground. Cindy holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Oregon State University and a M.S. in Biological Sciences from California State University at Sacramento.