Staff

Evan Banzhaf

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

Summer Student Conservation Program Manager

Evan climbed aboard ORF in 2012 excited to help inspire students with the value of our natural world. Evan began cultivating her knowledge and abilities at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2007, as her passion for nature intersected with her yearning to teach kids about the wonders of nature. She holds a BA in Environmental Geography from the University of Cincinnati. When in a new place she loves to explore the uniqueness of its natural environment, from flora and fauna, to landscape and soil. Evan loves passing the time outdoors, especially hiking and birding.

Chase Bodkin

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

Chase has been with ORF since spring 2014. He graduated with a Natural Resources and Conservation Management BS degree from the University of Kentucky. Chase splits his time between ORF and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. He is a bit jealous of the students coming to River Explorers, and wishes he could have had a similar field trip experience when he was growing up. Still, it hasn't stopped him from getting excited to see what critter is uncovered from the most recently flipped rock.    

Ray Bowers

River Explorer Educator - Columbus

Ray is a retired science teacher of 32 years with Columbus Public Schools. He earned a Bsc in education, and a Msc in zoology from OSU. Most of his masters course work was at the OSU Stone Lab on Lake Erie researching the ecology of bivalves in the Sandusky, Huron, and Vermilion Rivers of Northern Ohio. Ray loves to create education curriculum, having developed inquiry based curriculum for Columbus Public Schools, the Asombro Institute (Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park), Las Cruces, New Mexico, the New Mexico State University Biology Dept, and Leasburg Dam State Park, New Mexico.            

Suki Christy

River Explorer Educator - Columbus

 

Hannah Clements

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Hannah received BS degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Cincinnati. She is interested in learning more about how people interact with their environment and has a special interest in plant biology. She has studied tropical plants through study abroad trips to the neotropical forests of Southern Mexico and through horticultural work at the Krohn Conservatory. She is excited to begin educating others about the local environment while spending time outdoors to help share the importance of protecting our natural resources.

Richard M. Cogen

Executive Director

Rich is responsible for the overall direction of ORF, including supervising an amazing staff. In addition to working with ORF trustees to strengthen the organization's financial health, program offerings, and fundraising opportunities, he is the event director for ORF's signature event, the Cincinnati Coffee Festival. Rich also heads up ORF's restoration and advocacy efforts. In his spare time, Rich hiking, biking, playing guitar, and spending time with his wife and two children.

A co-founder of Ohio River Foundation, Mr. Cogen was formerly an assistant city solicitor with the City of Cincinnati, specializing in environmental law. Prior to arriving in Cincinnati, Rich worked in NYC in the corporate world handling professional liability cases. He also served as pro-bono counsel for NYC Audubon Society and Transportation Alternatives. Academically, Rich received his J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, his Masters in Environmental Law (LLM) from Pace University, and B.S. in biology from the State University of New York at Albany.

Lisa Daris

River Explorer Lead Educator - Columbus

Lisa grew up on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in KentOhio, and hasn't strayed far from a river throughout her adult life. She serves on the board for FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy) and chairs the Columbus Outdoor Pursuits Boating Program. Additionally, she has her own seasonal kayaking company, Olentangy Paddle. Lisa is an urban environmental optimist who believes a balance between the needs of a human populace and the needs of healthy environmental resources are achievable. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University.

Lauren Gjessing

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Mary Henkener

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

After 31 years of corporate professional life, Mary shifted focus and earned a Horticulture Certificate from University of Cincinnati. Her roots are in small farming communities in northwestern Ohio where she sailed on Lake St Mary’s for many years. She earned a B.S. in Consumer Services from Ohio State University. When Mary is not working for ORF, she finds time to volunteer for the Civic Garden Center of Cincinnati and pursues her life-long interests in our evolving environment and how we can change to interact with it sustainably.  

 

Sara Luse

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

Social Engagement Manager

Sara is a multi-year veteran who joined ORF in 2010.  Her passion for nature and the outdoors began as a child and she has always felt a connection to water.  She received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Northern Kentucky University where her focus was in aquatic biology.  Sara is passionate about teaching our youth about the importance of conserving our environment as well as showing them how much fun it can be to explore the outdoors!  She is mostly involved with leading our River Explorer field trips, but also helps to plan and organize events we have throughout the year such as our annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival.  When she is not working for ORF, you will most likely find her spending time with her family and enjoying the mom-life. 

Beth Martinson

Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper

Stephanie McCabe

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Stephanie joined the ORF team in 2019. She grew up in the southwest corner of Ohio, and you could always find her climbing trees, digging in the mud, and exploring local creeks. Stephanie turned her passion of exploring nature into a career of education, first receiving her BS in Middle Childhood Education with content specializations in Science and Math from Miami University (OH). She splits her time between ORF and other local organizations.

Sarah Meadows

Education Programs Coordinator

Restoration Program - Projects Manager

Growing up in the Cincinnati area with parents who were both involved in the park system, Sarah spent much of her childhood in and around nature. She continued to pursue her interest in natural science, graduating from Northern Kentucky University with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. During her college career, she spent an incredible semester abroad studying marine biology in the Galápagos, Ecuador. Since joining ORF in 2012, Sarah has become a skilled educator for ORF and leads the invasive species removal projects of the Restoration Program. She is passionate about conserving our environment and sharing her knowledge of the natural world with others. For fun, she enjoys hiking, traveling, playing the violin, and running.

Bernie Moller

Senior Educator/Chief Scientist

Restoration Program - Projects Specialist

Bernie started with ORF in 2008 and is one of our more seasoned educators. In addition to working as part of the River Explorer Team, he also was the Crew Leader for ORF's first Youth Conservation Team program in 2011. Bernie also can be found in the field sampling, testing, planting, and other activities at our restoration project sites. He is an avid canoeist paddling streams, rivers, and creeks in the Ohio River Watershed -- and around the country!  He has a Masters in Limnology and a Bachelors of Science from the University of Cincinnati.  

Emily Romain

River Explorer Educator - Columbus

Nicole Tabit

River Explorer Educator - Columbus

Jessica Tegge

Restoration Program - Projects Specialist

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Jessica found her way to ORF’s River Explorer Program through her love of teaching about (and in) the wondrous outdoors. One of her favorite things to do is study how people interact with their natural world, especially with the one thing that connects us all: water. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University in 2018 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in biology. When not working with ORF, Jessica can be found outdoors either in a garden, or a kayak.

Erin Wolfe

River Explorer Educator - Columbus

Erin has been educating others about the natural world for a few years now, and is excited to teach students about local ecology in her favorite setting; streams and rivers. Her love of nature began while exploring Highbanks Metro Park with her family and on field trips as a kid. She has worked in several capacities for various organizations and received a BS in Environmental Studies with a minor in geology from University of Cincinnati in 2015.

Amy Wong

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati