Evan Banzhaf

River Explorer Lead Educator - Cincinnati

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 staff. In addition to working with ORF trustees to strengthen the organization's financial health, program offerings, and fundraising opportunties, 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. 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.

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.

Hannah Irvine

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati

Hannah Irvine earned her bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from Earlham College in 2016. She is currently studying at Xavier University, seeking a Masters of education with a focus on Montessori education. She loves being outdoors and working with students. ORF is the perfect place for her! When she is not studying for classes or working for ORF, Hannah spends time with her horse, Rerun, and tends to her vegetable gardens. 

Kira King

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

Kira has been working with animals since 2012, 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

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. Sarah 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

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.  

Amy Wong

River Explorer Educator - Cincinnati