Meet The Team
Founder and Executive Director; DIRT was built on the idea that every person can positively impact their surroundings and everyone has something of value to offer, we all are important. We strive to connect our community to the planet and each other, building a supportive *human ecosystem that is regenerative. We specialize in activating underutilized space by creating multi generational experiences free of charge that allow all of us to shine and give back to our community. When my son was very young I heard a wise women give guidance to a group of toddlers, “play nice, and kind, and gentle.” I think that applies to us all.
Program Coordinator; Trisha Foster is an experienced social worker who has had the privilege of serving children and families in the Rogue Valley for over a decade. Dedicated to supporting communities to reach their highest potential, Trisha has worked with State and local nonprofit agencies in a variety of roles. Trisha became involved with D.I.R.T. after learning about its unique way of building community while also supporting child growth and development! In her spare time, she enjoys playing board games with her children and partner; despite being a very sore board game loser. She is incredibly excited to be a part of the impact D.I.R.T creates in our Central Point region and beyond!
Becky (Moore) Simpson (President) - Born and raised in Southern Oregon she attended Central Point schools, then pursued higher education in Eugene and Salem, but was quickly called North in search of adventure. She spent a year at the top of the world in Barrow (Utqiaviik), Alaska then another 22 years in Anchorage. Her career focused on services to people with disabilities. Married in 1998, she and Rick raised their collective 7 children, then in 2008 the family returned to Central Point where she became the CEO of Pathway Enterprises, Inc., a non-profit that specializes in services for people with disabilities. As someone who is a ‘wanna be’ gardener, it was a natural fit for Becky to join DIRT’s board of directors in 2017 where she continues to learn how things grow, and support her favorite community.
Rock Rawstern (Vice President) - Son of Judith and Bernard Rawstern. Fortunate husband of Janel Fredericks Rawstern. 6th-gen southern Oregonian & great-great-great grandson of Joseph and Elizabeth Stewart, the folks that brought pears (and watermelon!) to the Rogue Valley in the late 1800’s. Board member DIRT, Air Force Veteran, Jackson County Master Recycler, gardener, Crater High grad, winner of the 2005 Foresight Prize in Communication, photographer and artist. Digital Media Manager, Southern Oregon Subaru and Airport Chevy Buick GMC Cadillac.
Tim Schmuesser (Treasurer)- Long time Southern Oregon / Central Point resident. Over 28 year in the banking and finance industry. Former Central Point Planning Commissioner, Reserve Police Officer and Griffin Oaks Treasure. Married 25 years with three amazing children. Enjoys working on various home improvement projects and serving the community. Original DIRT board member, currently serving as Treasurer.
Christie Mackison (Secretary) is co-owner with her husband Scott, of Shooting Star Nursery, a 10 acre plant nursery in Central Point specializing in locally grown plants suited for their southern Oregon climate. Landscape design, plants of all sorts, and getting kids outside in the dirt are her passions. She has designed and implemented many local school gardens- from edible, to pollinator and native plants. As well as keeping her kids happy by growing as many edible plants as she can for foraging. Christie is proud to be a board member for D.I.R.T Park to further implement 'dirty' activities and spaces for kids.
Liz Fairbrain (Past President) I've been on the DIRT board for many years and enjoy attending DIRT events with my husband and 3 boys. We love DIRT and everything that DIRT does. In my "spare" time I come up with different ways to create fun things and play with my kiddos at the same time following DIRTs motto of education and creativity go hand in hand.
Steward Program Co-Leader; I have been working with youth as a place based educator for over a decade including school garden, farm, environmental, and outdoor education. I am honored to combine my love of the natural world and working with youth in these capacities in order to empower the next generations to understand the places they live in and the interconnectedness of the systems involved in creating our local and global environments.
Not long after moving from Western Massachusetts to the Rouge Valley in 2008 I worked with students along Bear Creek and the Rogue River. I learned from and with my skilled co-workers and employed my experience in garden education and herbal medicine in order to dig deeper into the ecology, natural environment of Southern Oregon. I've spent the last five years cultivating relationships and gardens in the Central Point school district and learning more about native ecology, and I'm excited to be working with DIRT to connect these points with the broader community!
Steward Program Co-Leader; I grew up in the Rogue Valley and am very lucky I was able to spend much of my free time wandering the natural spaces here. This time spent getting to know the plants and animals sparked a love of learning about the environment. Off and on, since 2014, I worked with Oregon Stewardship, a local nonprofit that emphasizes environmental science, teamwork, and hands-on education with high school students to tend to miles of Bear Creek in Medford. Working with young people on these projects led me to realize I wanted to pursue education as a career. I taught middle school science in Eureka, CA for two years and am now back in the area for the time being. I’m very excited to be a part of this new program and to build a learning community with you all.