Evan Banzhaf

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

Volunteer Coordinator

Evan climbed aboard ORF 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 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.                                                       

Richard M. Cogen

Executive Director

Rich is responsible for the overall direction of ORF, including supervising an amazing group of talented educators.  In addition to working with ORF trustees to strengthen the organization's financial health, program offerings, and fundraising opportunties, he finds time to join the education staff in the field presenting River Explorer to students around the tri-state.  In his spare time Rich also heads up ORF's restoration and advocacy efforts.

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.

Allison Cone

River Explorer Coordinator and Lead Educator - Cincinnati

Social Media Manager

Allison came to the Ohio River Foundation in 2010 with a special interest in Environmental Education. Her previous experiences traveling to Argentina and Namibia as well as working with the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center in Peninsula, Ohio has impacted how she views the world today. Now back in her native Cincinnati, Allison would like to educate others to build a sustainable future. Allison received her BA in International Studies at the University of Dayton and holds an Environmental Education certificate from the Environmental Education Council of Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing broomball.

Lisa Daris

River Explorer 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. Additonally, 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.

Gabe Haidle

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Gabe joined Ohio River Foundation in 2009 and has an associates degree in Environmental Engineering from Cincinnati State. Gabe is very passionate about conservation, restoration, and education pertaining to our most precious natural resourcewater.

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.  

Ashley Hurt

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Ashley joined ORF with an interest in our land's parks and resources. She has developed a special interest in introducing children to the outdoors and the environment. Ashley received a B.S. in Biological Sciences studying organismal biology at Northern Kentucky University. She has done DNA research at NKU and traveled to Belize to study the geology and ecology of the coral reef. In the future, Ashley plans to work as a national park naturalist.

Sarah Jackson

River Explorer Coordinator and Lead Educator - Columbus

Sarah's interest in outdoor/evnironmental education was sparked when she saw the profound impact of taking at-risk youth into nature while working with a Foster Care Agency in McArthur, OH in 2004. Sarah holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Ohio University and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Washington. Prior to coming to ORF, she worked as an Educator at IslandWood (Bainbridge Island, WA), the Director of Environmental Education (Boys & Girls Clubs of King County) and the Lead Educator for Franklin Park Conservatory (Columbus, OH). Sarah is very excited to be a leader of ORF in Columbus!

Jenny Kane

Membership and Volunteer Engagement Associate

River Explorer Educator

Sara Luse

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

Social Engagement Coordinator

A multi-year River Explorer educator veteran, Sara has rejoined the ORF staff after a brief California break! She graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science, Degree in Biology and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Marine Biology at the University of Cincinnati.

Beth Martinson

Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper

Bernie Moller

Senior Educator

Chief Scientist

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 canoist, often leading EcoPods as a part of ORF's Great Ohio River Paddle, as well as 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.. 

Courtney Roush

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Restoration Program Associate

Courtney joined ORF in spring 2016 after graduating from  Northern Kentucky with a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and Environmental Science. Along with her studies, she also played on the Women's Basketball team at NKU. She has done research on crayfish in local streams, studied tropical fish in Belize, and studied local water quality. She loves spending time outdoors hiking and enjoys yoga, scuba diving, and traveling. 


Kira Stegman

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Kira has been working with animals since 2012, and loves incorporating her love of nature with education during River Explorer programs. In the past, she has worked with Raptor Inc. rehab center, the Cincinnati Zoo, and Wolf Creek Habitat. She currently volunteers at the Newport Aquarium when she isn’t working with Ohio River Foundation.  She received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Xavier University, and a master’s degree in Zoology from Miami University.


Program Volunteers

Grace Hertlein

University of Cincinnati, DAAP

Graphic Design Consultant

River Explorer Docents

Mike Miller

Emeritus Professor of Aquatic Biology, University of Cincinnati

Miriam Kannan

Emeritus Professor of Aquatic Microbiology, Northern Kentucky University