Evan Banzhaf

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

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.            

Cayla Brakers

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

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.

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.  

Chelsea Hothem

River Explorer Educator - Columbus

Chelsea grew up in Cincinnati along the Little Miami River and now resides in Columbus along the Scioto River. She earned a degree in Evolution & Ecology from Ohio State and join the River Explorers team in 2018. She is passionate about nature education and all things aquatic, she keeps 8 different freshwater aquariums with dozens of fish. When she is not working for ORF, she is educating tropical fish keepers, caring for animals, and presenting nature programs for other organizations.


Kira King

Education Programs Coordinator - Rivers Explorers (Greater Cincinnati) and Mussels in The Classroom (Greater Cincinnati, Columbus, and Lexington)

Kira has been working with ORF 2014, and loves incorporating her love of nature with education when leading River Explorer and the Mussels in the Classroom programs. In the past, she has worked with Raptor Inc. rehab center, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Newport Aquarium, and Wolf Creek Habitat. She received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Xavier University, and a master’s degree in Zoology from Miami University.


Jamie Lankenau

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Jamie earned an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from Northern Michigan University. She is a southern California native who has made the Ohio River Valley a home away from home attending graduate school, studying permaculture in her urban neighborhood of Price Hill and enjoys most of all teaching in her favorite office (outdoors!) with ORF's River Explorer Program since Spring 2017. 

Sara Luse

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

Events Coordinator

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. While she attended NKU, she traveled to Belize to help her professor collect data on population sizes of spiny lobster and queen conch and has also traveled to Ecuador where she collected water samples from volcanic lakes to see what types of organisms were present in the water. Sara is passionate about teaching 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 involved with leading our river explorer field trips, and helps organize ORF events. When she is not working for ORF, you will find her spending time with her family and raising her two sons.

Beth Martinson

Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper

Sarah Meadows

Restoration Program-Project Manager

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

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

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.

Amy Wong

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati