Thanks to the Ford Family Foundation’s support, Wallowa Resources has been able to add three new positions.
Jean Jancaitis is the new director of programs and watershed stewardship program manager. Larz Stewart is the new development director and Jessica Tomasini is the new communications coordinator.
“With the increased capacity, we’re committed to increasing our impact in Wallowa County, helping our community demonstrate the economic potential of land stewardship and supporting other counties and communities interested in a similar rural development trajectory,” said Wallowa Resources Executive Director Nils Christoffersen.
Jancaitis grew up moving all around the Southeast, living in Alabama, Florida and Virginia. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from The College of William and Mary in Virginia, she escaped to the West Coast for a master’s in environmental studies from the University of Oregon.
She has spent the majority of her career working for The Nature Conservancy in Oregon and California. Over more than 15 years as a botanist, ecologist and stewardship manager, she participated in restoring and managing thousands of acres of working landscapes.
Through this work, she developed strong collaborative relationships with private land owners on working farms, ranches and forest land. Most recently, Jancaitis was the natural resource specialist for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department based in Bend.
While there, she fell in love with northeastern Oregon and was inspired by Wallowa Resources.
“It’s exciting to be working with an organization that cares for both the land and the community,” she said.
After growing up in the neighboring Grande Ronde Valley, Stewart left to play intercollegiate basketball and start a career in the big city, but he always dreamed of returning to northeast Oregon and giving back to the place and people that helped craft his values and a strong sense of place.
After spending most of his career working in the metropolitan areas of Honolulu, Beijing and Portland, he’s excited to be back in the mountains and living in a vibrant rural community. He has extensive experience in program development, marketing and project management.
Most recently, Stewart was the assistant executive director of Adventures Without Limits, a nonprofit that served at-risk youth and people with disabilities in the greater Portland Metro area. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University, and has completed post-graduate coursework in sustainable forestry at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
His passion for connecting people to the natural resources that support them, outdoor education and bridging the urban and rural divide has brought him to Wallowa Resources. He is excited to be an advocate for the rural communities across the west that are doing great things for the land, water and their communities. His other interests include hiking, any water sport, jam sessions, languages and spending time with family. Stewart and his wife have two young boys.
After spending most of their lives living in southwest Washington, Tomasini and her husband were in search of a rural area in which to raise their family. It didn’t take much for them to fall in love with Wallowa County and all it had to offer.
They pulled up stakes and moved here a year ago with their three young children. Jessica has a background in photography and grant writing and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in information technology. She loves being able to share ideas creatively with visual elements.
She is excited for the opportunity to dive into all that Wallowa Resources does and communicate that with Wallowa County and beyond.
Jessica also has a personal interest in the county’s natural resources, specifically timber management. Her husband, Dustin, has his own business specializing in fuel reduction, logging and other forestry needs. With their children, they love to spend time hiking, hunting, fishing or enjoying the beautiful Wallowa Lake and they look forward to putting down roots here.
Wallowa Resources is a nonprofit with the mission to empower rural communities to create strong economies and healthy landscapes through land stewardship, education and job creation.
The office is at 401 NE First St. in Enterprise.