Greater Applegate Community Development Corporation (GACDC) is now doing business as A Greater Applegate, with a broader focus on the community engagement work GACDC initiated from fall 2016 to summer 2017 through the Applegate Economic Vitality Roadmap in collaboration with Rural Development Initiatives.  This aligns with the original vision for GACDC more than two decades ago. The Applegate Roadmap successfully engaged over 200 people from the entire Applegate Valley watershed. Initiatives launched based on community input from the Applegate Roadmap included building a community website, applegateconnect.org, and encouraging AGA to take on more of a community capacity-building role.

The Applegate Valley is defined by the Applegate River, which flows from its headwaters in the Siskiyou Mountains of Jackson County to its confluence with the Rogue River in Josephine County. The river has numerous tributary streams, including Little Applegate River, China Gulch Creek, Forest Creek, Humbug Creek, Sterling Creek, Thompson Creek, Williams Creek, and others. Neighborhoods along each of these tributaries are both distinct and part of the larger Applegate Valley community.

BOARD MEMBERS

Cathy Rodgers, Chair

After nearly 40 years with IBM as vice president, global engagements, Cathy returned to the Applegate Valley, where she has had property on the Applegate River for almost 30 years. She has been recognized as Woman of the Year in California for her work in disaster preparedness, featured in the New York Times for her role with minority suppliers, and has worked with the US State Department on women, youth, education, and entrepreneurism around the world. Cathy has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and is the first mother-daughter team to run a half marathon on all seven continents. She is co-founder of Rooted in Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental conservation and sustainable development. She currently serves on the board of the Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council and the Applegater Newsmagazine. Cathy holds a master’s degree in hazard management and community service, an MBA,  and is currently completing her PhD in environmental policy.

Paul Tipton, Vice Chair

Paul Tipton has lived in the Applegate Valley over 45 years and has worked locally doing forestry work, farming, vineyard management, construction, and custom woodworking. Since retiring he has volunteered with the SMART reading program for 10 years, helped distribute food for ACCESS, judged senior projects at South Medford High School for 20 years, was president of the Applegate Community Grange for four years, and is a long-time board member and current president of the McKee Bridge Historical Society. He has many years of past involvement in environmental activism with positive results, and has grant writing and nonprofit organization knowledge and experience thanks to the nonprofit leadership conferences sponsored by the Oregon Community Foundation and The Ford Family Foundation. His ongoing desire through life is to help benefit the community and, as a poet and veteran, to seek peace and equality for all.

Sonya Prislac, Treasurer

A native of Massachusetts, Sonya has spent most of her time in the sunny Applegate Valley.  Having lived in Ruch for the majority of her upbringing, she had the pleasure of going on many hikes in the valley and discovering just what makes this area so desirable.  She continued her studies at Southern Oregon University with a focus in Music Education and Performance and brought her knowledge to the Portland Metro area.  While residing in Washington County, she established a thriving business helping students young and old become enthralled with their musical abilities.  Concurrently, she was also immersed in the Accounting world and had the benefit of being employed as a bookkeeper with some of the biggest companies in the region.  She recently returned to Jackson County and enjoys having her three kids attend ROCS, knowing they will get to experience all that this incredible Valley has to offer!

Alison Hensley Sexauer, Secretary

Born and raised in the high country of the Angeles National Forest, to a family that owned and operated 8 campgrounds and a small ski resort, Kratka Ridge. In 2000, she moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB where she graduated with a BA in Global Studies and Spanish Literature.  From there Alison found herself in the midst of global travels and Farmers Markets, where she spent the next decade-plus of her life managing markets for Peacock Family Farms and Roots Organic Farms. In 2010 she Co-founded the Santa Barbara SOL Food Festival, with a mission to inspire, empower and promote local food and farming transformation.  In 2012 she co-founded Lucidity Festival as the Food and Sustainability Director of the LLC.

All in all, she has spent the last 15 years developing a passion for creating sustainable food culture through education, inspirational events and talks, and empowering herself and others to live into the change they see is possible.  She believes that food is the universal common denominator and a powerful agent of change. She is committed to creating, supporting, and growing businesses and community endeavors whose mission is towards creating a more sensible, regenerative, and just human and non-human presence on the planet.

Alison and her husband Tim moved to the Applegate Valley at the end of 2016 and she has thoroughly enjoyed working with and meeting a new region of food-lovin’ folk and tasting the bounty that Rogue Valley has to offer.

Janis Mohr-Tipton, Board Member and Park Enhancement Program Chair

Janis grew up in rural northern Oregon as a fourth generation member of her farming family near Helvetia. After she graduated from Oregon State in both forestry and nutrition/dietetics in 1975, she moved to southern Oregon and entered into US Forest Service work at Star Ranger Station. There she met her future husband and, after a few years in forest work, they began raising their family (three children). She also began volunteering in the local community and hasn’t stopped. In 1979, she first volunteered with, and then worked for, the Jackson County Libraries, and still does early literacy storytimes for 0 – 3 year olds at Ruch and Central Point Libraries. Janis has volunteered with Friends of the Ruch Library for many years; is a SMART coordinator and reader at Ruch School; annually serves as a community judge for senior high school projects; joined the Applegate Valley Garden Club, and started the Senior Shoebox Project with the members of our local seniors.  In 2016 she proposed a Monarch Butterfly Garden at Cantrall Buckley Park and then joined the Park Committee to help with several projects and coordinate volunteer work with SOLVE. This newest volunteer work brings her full circle to what she trained for in forestry: natural resource management with an emphasis on education for all age groups and outdoor learning centers. When she wants a quiet moment and reflection time, she gardens, does beadwork, or drumming. “Serving in my community is my passion, and it makes my heart sing. I have so many interests in the world around me, and I get to share, listen, mentor, and learn.”

Megan Fehrman, Board Member and Neighborhood Connections

Megan grew up in the heartland and earned her undergraduate degree in agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin before heading West. After exploring several aspects of community organizing, sustainability, and education, Megan earned a master’s degree at Portland State University, focusing on community food systems and agroecology. There she began her work as a community organizer around food issues and learned how to practice asset-based community mapping. These two things continue to be woven into her work and the communities she is involved with. Megan began working as a statewide advocate and educator for socially responsible agriculture and is now focused on the training, educating, and assisting of the next generation of farmers and ranchers. She has lived in the Little Applegate Valley for almost 10 years and is currently residing on an 86-acre ranch with her brothers as they establish their farm business and creamery. She is also currently serving as the chair of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Steering Council, the Farm Commons Advisory Board, and was a 2013 Toyota Together Green Fellow. When not at work, Megan likes to dig in the dirt, walk in the woods, visit the city, take in some music, and spend time with family and friends.

Rich Halsted, Board Member

Rich Halsted was born and raised in the Tangent, Oregon area.  Rich met his wife Kellie while at Oregon State and, following a career with the Marines, they settled near where Kellie grew up in Applegate, Oregon.  After retiring from the Marines, Rich worked for several organizations before focusing on volunteering within the community.  Rich is active with several organizations including the Applegate LIONS Club and Three Rivers School Board.  He formerly was on the Board of Directors for Applegate Fire District.

STAFF

Seth Kaplan, Executive Director

Seth Kaplan has assumed strategic leadership roles in nonprofit, government, community, corporate, and small business settings for more than 30 years, with a focus on aligning resources with needs and opportunities across systems and sectors for greater impact.  Significant accomplishments have included working with a team of youth and government agencies to build a 13-acre youth complex, leading a four-year community visioning project in an unincorporated area, and aligning human priorities within a county budgeting process. He is currently exploring strategies to find more time to enjoy the beauty and magic of the 20 acres of Applegate Valley he shares with his wife, Lily, dog Shayna, and cat Sweet Pea.  Seth is a member of the Jackson County United Way Public Policy Committee and has been a Core Community Invest Fellow and Board Member of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and Center for Community Benefit Organizations.

Brooke Nuckles Gentekos, Development Consultant

Brooke has been involved with A Greater Applegate for 5 years starting with planning for the revitalized Cantrall Buckley Park playground and other park improvements like the Solar array, sundial, and pollinator gardens. She is passionate about community organizing and activism, inspired to connect resources, and loves to make a positive difference locally and globally. Brooke embraces collaboration and developing community partnerships to manifest inclusive and positive change. As a grant writer, teacher, artist, and parent, Brooke is excited to support A Great Applegate’s 2020 Community Visioning Process and community building work growing networks and community connections.

Rhianna Simes, Project Coordinator

Rhianna Simes grew up “in the middle of nowhere,” on her family’s 100 acre farm and vineyard in central Texas. Rhianna recently retired from 10 years as an instructor at the Oregon State University Extension Service, where she developed the Land Steward program, Citizen Fire Academy, and also coordinated the Master Gardener program. She has a Master’s of Science in Education and Botany from Southern Oregon University.

Rhianna is currently the Executive Director for Our Family Farms, and a Project Coordinator for A Greater Applegate. She lives with her husband and two young children outside Phoenix, OR where they operate their own 1 acre, educational mini-farm called Verdant Phoenix (specializing in organic plant starts, perennial food, healthy soil and natural farming). Rhianna serves on the boards for the Southern Oregon Seed Growers Association and the Rogue Valley Food System Network. Rhianna is a plant nerd who is passionate about local food, seed sovereignty, and building community

Ryan Pernell, RARE Participant

A lifelong resident of Washington State, Ryan is a newly transplanted member of Oregon and the Applegate Valley. Ryan graduated from Western Washington University with a B.A. in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. Throughout her education Ryan had the opportunity to work with rural communities on matters of sustainable resources use, community development, disaster risk reduction and land-use opportunities. She has also spent time working in county government developing public outreach materials regarding disaster preparedness and risk communication. Ryan believes in engaging in a citizen-centric, regional approach to connecting communities with resources that will help achieve shared goals, beneficial to the people and the environment. Ryan is participating in AmeriCorp’s RARE program as a crucial first step to a lifelong career in community oriented work. She is excited about the opportunity to work alongside the dedicated individuals at A Greater Applegate, learning about what makes the valley a wonderful place to live.

PAST ACTIVITIES

Operation and management of Cantrall Buckley Park (1998 to February 2018):

With community-led improvements such as Greater Applegate Solar Project, Monarch Waystation, Revitalized Playground Project, New Playground Restroom, Native Landscaping and Community Mural Project, New Campground Showers/Restroom, State-of-the-art Vegetative Wastewater Treatment System, Summer Film Series, Master Plan and Design Grants.

Applegate Valley Economic Vitality Projects:

GOLD’N Applegate Discovery Tour Route, Southern Oregon University Tourism Study, Applegate Lake Campground Proposal, Regional Investment Fund Grant, Applegate Business Consortium, EAS (Toll Free) Calling Area, Applegate Directory, Small Diameter Conference, Buy Local Campaign, Business Technology Survey.

Environmental Sustainability and Community Livability Projects:

Applegate Valley Green and Solar Tour 2008 and 2009, Applegate Wayside Park, Application for Low Power FM Station, Applegate School Historical CD, Fire Plan Survey, Team Bravo – Community Beautification, Support Keeping Ruch School Open, Support Friends of Forest Creek.

Community Partner and Organizational Support:

Pacifica – A Garden in the Siskiyous – Start Up, Fiscal Agent – NW Seasonal Workers, Siskiyou Sustainable Co-Op – Start Up, Applegate School Foundation