Native Fish Society is thrilled to share that Liz Perkin has joined the team as the NFS Northern Oregon Regional Coordinator! We are excited that Liz brings her passion for the region and her extensive science background to our work advocating for wild fish, free-flowing rivers, and thriving local communities. As the Northern Oregon Regional Coordinator, Liz will focus on supporting and guiding the volunteer River Stewards of the region and addressing the challenges facing the fish and rivers of the northern Oregon Coast, Willamette, Deschutes, and John Day watersheds.
A message from Liz Perkin, NFS Northern Oregon Regional Coordinator:
I grew up fishing, swimming, and playing in the upper Molalla River in northern Oregon. Family outings along the Nestucca, Willamette, Deschutes, Crooked Rivers spurred an early fascination with wild, native salmonids and the habitats that support them.
That early fascination became a professional calling, and I wrote my senior Biology thesis at Reed College on the relationship between salmon and aquatic insects in the Sandy and Clackamas River basins. During my Masters at the University of Washington, I studied riparian tree growth along the Queets River and developed an appreciation for the interaction between large wood and the development and maintenance of both instream and riparian habitat. I then took a big leap and moved to Berlin, Germany where I lived for four years while conducting my doctoral research on how artificial light at night affects river and riparian ecosystems.
In 2013, I became a postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where I studied cutthroat trout behavior and science communication. I then joined the biology faculty at Willamette University as a visiting professor and later moved to Maryland as a visiting professor of environmental studies at McDaniel College. As a professor, I was dedicated to inspiring students to observe their natural world and appreciate the hidden beauty of freshwater ecosystems. In 2019, I moved to Calgary, Alberta, where I worked as an environmental consultant. During this time, I conducted environmental impact assessments of proposed coal mines, environmental monitoring of existing coal mines, and also aided in remediation efforts after environmental disasters.
I’m so excited to be heading back to my homewaters with all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the years. Some of the things I’m looking forward to most are seeing a pair of Chinook spawning in the Sandy, hearing the sound of a nighthawk roaring through the sky along the John Day, and smelling the unique aroma of juniper and sagebrush early in the morning along the Deschutes. But the thing I am most excited about is joining the team at the Native Fish Society as the Northern Oregon Regional Coordinator, fighting for wild, native fish and their habitats. One of the reasons I joined the Native Fish Society team is their commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in fisheries conservation. As the Northern Oregon Regional Coordinator, I look forward to working with people from all backgrounds and supporting and amplifying the work done by underrepresented folks in fisheries conservation.
When I’m not working for Oregon’s wild, native fish, I enjoy hiking (someday I’ll get my knee fixed and be back to trail running!), cross-country skiing, fishing, horseback riding, painting, and writing children’s stories about nature. I look forward to seeing you on the river!