Meet the Team

Dr. Monica Paulson Priebe, Natural Resources Faculty

Monica grew up working and playing outside in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She studied Ecology and received her BA degrees in Environmental Studies and Biology. Monica served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala leading work in Ecotourism, trail network development, community ecology training and reforestation. She taught regular courses at the local forestry school and started Becas Especiales - a grassroots sustainable scholarship program for rural impoverished Guatemalan youth. In Guatemala, Monica realized there was a lack of coordination and communication between natural resource scientists and practitioners, and decided to go back to school so she could work on bridging this gap. She taught graduate ecology classes while receiving an MS in Environmental Science and MS in Environmental Policy from Indiana University. She studied how different interpretations of forest policies in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras were manifested on the forest ecosystem while obtaining her PhD in Environmental Science with a focus in Forestry. Previously, Monica has taught at Portland State University in the Environmental Science and Management Department, at Mount Hood Community College, and at Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Monica is excited to be working with the Natural Resource Program at Green River College where she gets to fulfill her passion for teaching. She thinks she has the best job out there and loves her work! Monica is the current Department Head of Natural Resources and she is always being innovative and ensuring students are put first!

Chuck Wytko, Natural Resources Faculty

Chuck started his career in 1976 planting trees for the US Forest Service on the White River Ranger District in Enumclaw, Washington. He also spent three summers as a Summer Aid doing reforestation surveys while completing an Associates Degree in Forest Technology here at Green River College. In 1979, Chuck completed his degree and then spent the next 10 years working in private industry for various timber companies. He was able to work full-time for a small forestry consulting company where he was involved with contracting tree planting, pre-commercial thinning, timber cruising, slash burning, and other forest management activities.

In 1988, Chuck decided to leave private industry and began his career with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, where he stayed 28 years. Chuck was able to serve in several positions by starting out as a seasonal Forest Crew Supervisor. He worked with the Washington Conservation Corp providing training opportunities for young adults working in the outdoors. Then his first full-time position was as a Forest Technician. From there, Chuck worked his way through the ranks as Forester, Unit Forester and eventually finishing his career with the agency as a District Manager. Over those 28 years, he spent 17 years in State Land Management that included timber sale design, layout and compliance, cruising timber, writing silviculture and harvest prescriptions, contract administration, road layout and construction, and supervising a full-time forestry staff of five professional Foresters. Part of this was managing the Ahtanum State Forest where our staff was responsible for the management of close to 125,000 acres of State Trust Lands with the responsibility of managing all trust land activities. He also spent three years on the regulatory side of the agency as a Forest Practices Forester reviewing, conditioning, and monitoring most forest operations. Chuck's final 3 years were spent managing the Landowner Assistance Program which provided funding for small forest landowners for fuel reduction on their properties. In this position, Chuck wrote and applied for grants, supervised six permanent Foresters, and managed a budget of up to 3 million dollars of state and federal funding.

In addition to Chuck's extensive career at the DNR, Chuck was also a Wildland Fire Fighter for over 28 years and has held several fire line positions with continuing involvement. He currently holds qualifications as a Type 2 Planning Section Chief.

“I have had a very successful career in both the Forest Industry and with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and been very fortunate with all the opportunities put in front of me. As an instructor here at Green River my intent is to bring my experience, knowledge and skills to a new group of professionals that will be dedicated to continue the management and protection of our natural resources. Who knows maybe I can pass on to the students my passion for this profession and the industry?”

Gene McCaul, Natural Resources Faculty

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management degree from Washington State University in 1978, Gene was hired by the L.T. Murray family to work for Murray Pacific Corporation, also known as West Fork Timber Company (WFTC), where he worked for 37 years helping to manage their 55,000 acre tree farm in the shadow of Mt. Rainier until it was sold in 2015. Over the course of those years, he worked in nearly every aspect of tree farm management, but specialized in inventory, planning, GIS, and silviculture. He was actively involved in developing the first Spotted Owl Habitat Conservation Plan in Washington State, which was later amended as the first All Species Habitat Conservation Plan in the US in 1995.

Gene was also active in the Stand Management Cooperative (SMC) hosted at the University of Washington, serving a term as chairman of the policy committee. Gene has served as chairman on the City of Sumner’s Parks and Forestry Commission. Gene is an active member of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) since 1978 and in 2014 received the SAF Field Forester of the Year award for Region 1.

Since 1978, Gene has known or been associated with nearly every instructor in the Green River Natural Resources program and worked with nearly 20 interns during that time. He is excited to bring his decades of professional industrial forestry experience into the classroom to help train the next generation of natural resource professionals.

Sam Thompson, Natural Resources Faculty

Sam is a transplant to Washington State all the way from south central Pennsylvania. Her journey to the west started when she attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation with minors in Environmental Science and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It is important to note that when Sam added GIS as a minor, she was seeking to become a more employable wildlife biologist. Who knew that after struggling through her GIS classes she would then move on to pursue further education in that field? She received her Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems two years later from the University of Washington - Seattle.

This change in direction is what brought Sam here to teach at Green River College. She knew that she always wanted to end up in higher education because she has a passion for learning. But what she is even more passionate about is helping students understand technology that can be challenging to learn, especially for people who prefer to be outside. However, the benefits of GIS technologies in the Natural Resources field is growing tremendously and Sam would like her students to be even more excited about maps than she ever was. What an exciting time where field work and operating a computer can be combined to solve problems and make resource management decisions. Sam loves to be around people and enjoys being able to learn from others.

Paul Footen, Natural Resources Adjunct Faculty

Paul’s love of nature started early and never faltered. He spent his childhood on 100 acres in a small farming community in southwestern West Virginia. Free to explore, he roamed the hardwood forest in the hills around the family farmhouse. During high school in Tucson, Arizona he began to form an interest in natural sciences and ecological systems. The Southwest introduced him to a new landscape, often stark and extreme, and it sharpened his fascination with nature. After high school he relocated to Washington State where he found the most majestic environment he’d ever explored. With family and new friends, he discovered mountain ranges and first growth forests, active volcanoes, glaciers, crystal clear rivers and salmon spawning streams, high desert, lush grasslands, farmland, and the wild Pacific Ocean, camping and backpacking and falling in love again and again with the lush Pacific Northwest.

 Nature and family weren’t all that drew Paul to the Seattle area. He’s a musician and dreamed of starting a band and building a career as a guitarist and song writer. To pay the bills he worked in restaurant and construction management, while every semester he signed up for horticulture and plant biology courses at Edmonds Community College. Numerous concerts and club gigs and several bands later, a music career seemed unlikely and he shifted his focus back to his abiding interest – natural sciences – and enrolled in Bellevue College.

 Juggling night classes, day classes, and full-time jobs he earned an Associate Degree in 2005 with most credits in environmental science and botany. That same year, admitted to the University of Washington (UW), Paul joined the Forestry program, and took his first soils class where he recognized his true love, soils sciences. He earned a BS in Forest Resources (2007) and an MS in Forest Soils (2011). While at the UW, his research projects focused on long-term effects of fertilization on subsequent rotations of Douglas-fir forests and the effects of various logging methods on nutrient cycling in soils across a multitude of industrial forestlands throughout the PNW region. He published peer-reviewed articles in several scientific journals. He taught Environmental Science, Intro to Soils, Soils and Land Use, and Native Plant ID. He worked as a Research Forestry Technician for the Stand Management Cooperative during summers surveying and reporting on industry stands across western WA and Oregon.

 His rich experience at the UW not only prepared him well for his future career as a Forest Manager with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, but for forest education outreach programs and teaching in the Natural Resources program at Green River College. As Forest Manager, Paul oversees the sustainable harvest of 12 million board-feet annual and manages nearly 50,000 acres of State Trust Lands in the Snoqualmie region, Washington’s most populated area. Because of the population density and his philosophy that Forestry is largely a social science, he increased public education and outreach to the Snoqualmie community. His department opens up State lands as outdoor classrooms and offers guided tours and guest lectures to students from universities and colleges in our region.

 “Connecting people with nature and to the land has become one of my passions. I look forward to sharing my experience and knowledge with students at Green River College. My goal is to facilitate positive, exciting, and inspiring connections with the natural world.”

Jason Walter, Natural Resources Adjunct Faculty

Jason was born in Santa Monica, CA, and moved to Trout Lake, WA for high school in 1985. After graduating, Jason moved to Ellensburg, WA, and attended Central Washington University where he earned his B.S. in Fish and Wildlife Ecology in 1994.  In 1995, Jason was hired as a technician with Weyerhaeuser Company, based out of Federal Way, WA, where he has worked ever since. Today, Jason's role with Weyerhaeuser is as an Aquatic Scientist where he manages the company's Aquatic Op-Support Program in the West, provides regulatory support on aquatic issues, and serves as the principal investigator on a number of research projects focused on the interaction between fish and forestry. During his time at Weyerhaeuser, Jason had the opportunity to earn a Master's Degree from the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington in 2012. In 2018, Jason embarked on this (second) career of teaching at Green River College and is excited about the opportunity to work with students. Jason lives in Tacoma with his wife and has 3 sons. 

Rob Sjogren, Natural Resources Adjunct Faculty

Rob earned his A.A.S. in Forestry Technology here at Green River College and his Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science from the Evergreen State College. Rob brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to his teaching drawn from his more than 35 years of varied experience in the Natural Resources field. He is an accomplished Forest Manager, well versed in Washington policy and methods, private operations, federal programs and industry raw materials acquisition and manufacturing processes. Rob is also a skilled researcher and has studied and monitored mountain goats in Mount Rainier National Park, streams with the Department of Natural Resources and elk herds for private landowners.