Staff and Volunteers


Ryan Collay

Volunteer Board of Directors

Ryan Collay has over thirty years as a STEM educator, including three years as an Elementary Science Specialist in the North Bend School district and 21 years at Oregon State University’s Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program. As the SMILE program director, his team developed an award-winning “STEM Ecosystem”; while fostering a professional educator’s “Community of Practice.” During his tenure the program served over 7000 under served youth, and more than 400 teachers in seventeen rural communities. He retired and is consulting in program design through his program frameworks and evaluation based on programs, practices and outcomes. Ryan is the Board President for WREN, an executive team-member of the Rivers to Ridges Partnership, part of the Environmental Education Network through the Lane STEM Hub, and is the Owner of “Education by Design.”

John Garrett

Volunteer Board of Directors

John has been volunteering as an educator for WREN since Spring of 2016 and also serves on WREN’s board of directors, but his passion for and commitment to educating youth began long before that. After graduating from Park College in Missouri with a double major in Chemistry and Math, he went on to Harvard University to earn his Master of Arts in Teaching and then to University of Oregon for post-graduate work. After teaching kids for 46 years, it’s no surprise that John has sharp eye for finding things in nature that kids enjoy, like raccoon bones and hummingbirds, and the insight to tie those things into the larger picture of why wetlands are important. In his free time, John enjoys sharing outdoor activities with his wife like flat-water kayaking, bird-watching, cooking, bicycling, photography, and music.

Bob Petit

Volunteer Board of Directors

Bob is a retired hospital administrator and native Oregonian. After spending close to 4-years in the Air Force, he attended school for Sociology and Hospital Administration. He then proceeded to work 12-years in Hospital Administration in the states of Virginia and Maine before bringing his skills abroad to Brazil through Project Hope, a global health and humanitarian relief organization. After living and working abroad for five years, he moved to the northwestern United States to continue his administrative career. Bob now enjoys spending his time capturing wildlife through photography. He is actively involved with the Emerald Photographic Society in Eugene, where he has served in numerous roles and position, including Club President. 

Eric Nill

Volunteer Board of Directors

Eric Nill is native to Eugene, Oregon  where he developed a lifelong passion for the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest.  Starting with frequent family outings to the Oregon coast and the Cascades of Central Oregon, his interests were further cultivated in the South Eugene High Ecology Club.  Also, while at Pomona College, he volunteered in environmental and refugee causes.  While doing graduate studies he served in the U of O Survival Center arranging whale watching, forest walks, and other events.  Eric has been serving on the WREN board for 10 years and works in the field of solar energy and sustainable industries where he claims to be the green-sheep of his family.

Eric Royer

Volunteer Board of Directors

Eric Royer joined WREN’s board of directors in the summer of 2020. He was born and raised in Eugene, a graduate of Churchill High School, and has lived next door to the West Eugene Wetlands since spring of 2016. He is married with two school-aged children who love to take walks, hunt for frogs, and view the variety of birds of the wetlands. He spends most of his free time with his family by going trail hiking, tent camping, lake swimming, and other outdoor activities every year. He has been an insurance agent with the same company since 2005 and has many years of experience teaching children as a volunteer.

Laura Maloney

Education Director

Laura grew up in northern Illinois where she spent her time exploring the wetlands and oak savannahs of her backyard. She graduated from Augustana College with a B.A. in World Religion and Art and from George Williams College with a M.S. in Environmental Education and Parks Administration. From there she moved around the country leading environmental education programs for youth in the states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. She has worked as a professional Interpretive Naturalist for over 15 years and moved to Oregon after living in Amsterdam, one of the greenest cities in Europe and, coincidently, an urban wetland! Laura is passionate about using nature as a tool for learning and enthusiastic about sharing her love of the outdoors with people of all ages. When she is not working, she spends her time practicing kundalini yoga and Ayurveda, painting, dancing, hiking, and gardening.

Ellen Thompson

Program Coordinator

Ellen grew up in Arcata, California surrounded by redwood trees and close to the Pacific Ocean. She stayed in the area for college, attending Humboldt State University. Ellen received her B.S. in Environmental Resources Engineering and B.A. in Studio Art in Spring 2020. After graduating, she moved to Eugene and found an AmeriCorps internship with WREN. Ellen began working at WREN as their Environmental Education Specialist and has since been offered the Program Coordinator position during Laura’s maternity leave. Ellen’s hobbies include surfing, mushroom foraging, hiking, and exploring. She is looking forward to fall and seeing all the big leaf maples turn color.