Catherine Alexander/Executive Director

Catherine grew up in Western Oregon where she spent her childhood exploring the forests surrounding her family’s farmstead and drawing the native plants and animals. After studying fine art and art history at the University of Oregon and Portland State University, she worked for an art dealer in New York for eleven years.  Following that, she Relocated to Sarasota, Florida, to direct an art gallery and pen art criticism for the Sarasota bureau of the New York Times Syndicate.

At the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, her childhood love of nature illustration was rekindled. Catherine studied and illustrated tropical and subtropical orchids under the tutelage of renowned botanical illustrator Olivia Marie Braida-Chuisano, after which she returned to Oregon to reconnect with the ecological beauty of the Northwest.

In addition to her professional roles, Catherine participates in several regional art exhibitions each year. Her work is currently on exhibit with other natural science illustrators at the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center as part of Tidal Waters: The Art of Scientific Illustration.

She teaches botanical illustration workshops for youth and adults, leads hikes, nature tours and other outings on behalf of the David Douglas Society, and is the parent of Drew, a recent Reed College graduate and budding computer programmer with a talent for magical thinking. Catherine resides in Scio, Oregon, where she can hear the waters of Thomas Creek from her studio window.

email: /phone: 503-302-4645


Kourtney Linebaugh /Development and Communications Coordinator

Kourtney is our Development and Communications Coordinator. She facilitates Straub’s communication, donor management and marketing projects.

Kourtney’s professional focus is to propel forward environmental stewardship with her skill set in writing and communication.  She has worked with the Oregon Governor’s Office assisting the Natural Resources and Public Safety office. Additionally, she was Marketing Coordinator for NORPAC Foods, and held an internship with Alima Pure as a Contributing Writer. Passionate about nature and connecting with the community, she has volunteered with SOLVE and is currently a member on the City of Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Kourtney holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in writing from Western Oregon University, graduating summa cum laude. In her free time, Kourtney loves to bike and hike around parks with her husband and labradoodle. She can also be found checking out too many books at the local library.

email: /phone: 503-779-5227

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Antonia Decker/Outreach and Engagement Coordinator

Antonia was raised in Salem, Oregon by a family of educators. Since an early age, she was instilled with an eagerness to learn from and connect to her surrounding diverse communities and natural environments. Antonia brought this sense of commitment and service to Seattle, Washington, where she graduated summa cum laude from Seattle University with a BA in Communication Studies and Spanish.

During her undergraduate career, Antonia set up strong ties to organizations working to make change in the greater Seattle area. She spent two years working for an AmeriCorps early education program, preparing preschool children from an under-resourced community for academic success. In addition, given her Mexican background and Spanish fluency, Antonia became involved with two organizations committed to connecting Seattle’s Latino/a community with educational and employment opportunities. Given her passion for holistic health and wellness practices, Antonia also taught yoga classes to university students, faculty, staff and alumni during the final two years of her undergraduate studies.

Antonia is excited to be back in her hometown of Salem, to continue forming connections and fostering positive change within her local community. As the Straub Environmental Center’s new Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, she will help coordinate the Latino Engagement Team, lead DEI trainings for our staff, board and advisors, and help our organization reach out to new and existing stakeholders in innovative ways.

email: /phone: 503-779-5227


Katie Gaveres/Intern

Katie Gavares is a senior earth and environmental science major at Willamette University. Her passion for environmental protection and education stems from a love of playing outdoors. Katie grew up backpacking, rock climbing and simply enjoying sunshine in Southern California. Throughout high school and college she has worked in different programs getting youth, mainly young women, into the outdoors. With first hand experience interacting with nature, Katie believes in nature’s power to instill confidence and skills that will carry through to all aspects of life.

Katie has enjoyed facilitating outdoor leadership trainings and outdoor trips for kids that grew up in metropolitan areas with limited access to nature. In college she continued to introduce new communities to the outdoors through her position as Leadership Coordinator at the Willamette Outdoor Program where she taught and managed outdoor trip leaders. Katie is very excited to combine her experience and excitement in the outdoors and passion for education at Straub Environmental Center.

email: /phone: 503-779-5227