Charissa is an educator with a love for creating dynamic hands-on educational experiences for youth of all ages. Equipped with a passion for cultural and stakeholder engagement, Charissa is a talented community liaison capable of bringing together diverse perspectives on how we relate to our environment. Charissa has designed and implemented lesson plans grounded in approved state science standards that also speak to the curiosity and energy of youth. She relocates here from Florida, where she was a 3rd Grade Teacher for a Title 1 school in Orange County. Prior to her time as an elementary school teacher, Charissa educated children in Manatee County’s nature preserves, all while improving K-12 student performance in science and the environment! Originally from Suriname, South America, she studied culture’s influence on conservation and helped design better community conservation programs, working with both urban populations as well as Indigenous communities.

 Those who know Charissa stress how she understands people with different worldviews, particularly non-Western, and can thrive in multiple cultural contexts. She has been a youth leader for the Ecological Society of America and created staff trainings on group dynamics, leadership, and diversity. Charissa has worked from the tropics of Suriname to the frigid climate of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is keen to dive into the natural beauty of the Tualatin watershed here in Oregon!

 She holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from New College of Florida. Charissa represents TRK’s mission at many organizations within the Portland Metro and Washington County areas. She is a member of the Youth Mentoring Collaborative and sits on their Planning Committee. She also sits on the board of the Environmental Education Association of Oregon (EEAO) and the Advisory Committee for Outdoor School for All. To help improve and transform TRK’s curricula, Charissa participates in the Portland Metro STEM Hub Partnership (PMSP). Lastly, she is a member of the 2017 Unite Oregon’s Pan-Immigrant Leadership and Organizing Training (PILOT) Program. PILOT is geared at training participants how to create and maintain long-term relationships between diverse immigrant and refugee communities in Portland while helping those same communities build capacity for change.

Contact Charissa with questions or ideas about field trips and educational or volunteer opportunities.