Staff bios

Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project (BMBP) is a volunteer based organization. Volunteers are the backbone of our small environmental non-profit organization. Every year, dozens of our volunteers help field check timber sales and grazing allotments across four National Forests in eastern Oregon. They also help with comment writing, research, and other work. If you are interested in volunteering, please see our “get involved” page and contact us.

BMBP has a paid staff of two; their bios are below. You can contact Karen Coulter, our Director at 541-385-9167 and Paula Hood, our Co-Director at 510-715-6238.

Karen Coulter, Director of Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project:

Karen co-founded the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project with Asante Riverwind in 1IMG_0381991. Karen has been fighting to defend and restore forests on public lands in eastern Oregon ever since then. In the early days of the Project, she field checked timber sales on horseback. Karen spent over 14 years living off-grid with her family and their livestock in rural eastern Oregon. Their teepee home and most of their belongings were lost during a wildfire. Karen now lives in a more fire resistant straw bale cabin on the eastside.

Karen has 26 years of experience doing public lands advocacy as the Director of Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project. She has been surveying timber sales every summer since the project’s inception. Karen has long-term and first-hand familiarity with the ecology of the region, as well as extensive understanding of land management issues. Karen is an extremely effective and passionate voice for forests. She asserts that: “human and ecological issues are indivisible. Humans are rapidly destroying the planet—the forests, the oceans, species biodiversity, and the global climate. We must deal with social and political inequality and injustice in order to stop ecological devastation.”

Karen is a long-time activist, and has dedicated her life to environmental and social justice causes. Her past work includes international negotiations on acid rain and ozone depletion for Greenpeace International, and campaigning to stop the Reagan era MX missile plans with the American Friends Service Committee. She has also been part of the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, which was formed by an alliance of environmentalists and labor union organizers. She was a principal activist of the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy, and did research, writing, and speaking about the history of the rise of corporate power in the U.S. and lessons from past activists’ struggles. Her principles for protection of the wild are based on Deep Ecology and Biocentrism. She has a master’s of English from Reed College.

“I’ve always found peace, wonder, and teachings in the wild. Without the wild we are lost spiritually. My message is this: Follow your passion to bring about change.”—Karen 

Paula Hood, Co-Director of Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project:

Paula has spent over a decade working on behalf of forests and wildlands in Oregon. She volunteered with Bark (a monitoring group for Mt. Hood National forest) to defend forests on public lands through activist organization, public outreach, leading hikes, and field surveying. Paula bio

In 2015, Paula received her master’s degree in environmental science from Portland State University, with a focus on streams in forested ecosystems. Her thesis research investigated the effects of forest thinning on stream sediment loading and macroinvertebrate assemblages in the Clackamas River Basin in Mt. Hood National Forest,Oregon.

Before moving to Oregon, Paula lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She spent ten years working at independent natural foods co-ops and worker-owned collectives that focused on whole foods, sustainable farming, social justice, environmental causes, and the arts. Paula has also spent time in southern Oregon, Oakland, Europe, and Central and South America.

Paula grew up in Louisiana, where she caught crawfish with her bare hands (and let them go), was stalked by venomous snakes, swam in muddy lakes, and generally loved the swamps and woodlands. Her childhood in Louisiana inspired a deep-seated love of the wilds that continues to shape her life today. Paula’s grandparents were cattle ranchers and coconut farmers in Ecuador, and her mother grew up on a self-sufficient and isolated farm with no electricity. Her family’s experiences were instrumental in influencing her work ethic and her relationship with nature.