Stewardship Committee

Stewardship Committee

Deborah Lukas works as a Clinical Herbalist and Herbal Pharmacist with 25 years experience. She founded the family business Siskiyou Mountain Herbs, and propagates and grows many medicinal plants on the Frog Farm in Takilma, Oregon. Debbie teaches classes emphasizing respect for the land, ethical harvesting techniques and propagation of rare medicinal plants. She has been involved in nonprofits as staff, board member or volunteer for many years, and dreams of uniting diverse people in the Illinois Valley in the quest for sustainable living. She raises chickens, vegetables, herbs and hope! In 2006, she founded Spiral Living Center to provide education and support to those living in the Illinois Valley. She currently serves as Volunteer Executive Director.

Deborah Murphy has a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Specialization in Early Childhood from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She worked at the Van den Berg Learning Center, the lab school at SUNY where she trained student teachers and taught children from first to fifth grades. She has taught in New York, California and for many years she taught at the Dome School, a private, alternative school in Takilma, Oregon and also served as its administrator. Deborah has written a series of children’s books and designed curriculum kits for the Southern Oregon Historical Society and for the Siskiyou Field Institute. For several years she worked as a Mentor for the Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education through Portland State University and the Oregon Resource and Referral Network in a statewide mentoring program. She has been employed by the Oregon Caves National Monument in the Curriculum Based Education Program. She is an education consultant, an Oregon certified trainer and an Instructor for Rogue Community College and Eastern Oregon University in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Programs.

Jerry Lapora has a B.S. in Crop and Soil Science from Oregon State University. He owns and operates Wild River Organic Farm with his family. He has taught courses at SLC skillshares and workshops, such as extending the growing season using hoop houses. Jerry usually has dirty hands and a happy heart!

Laurel Peña is an herbalist and freelance writer living in the Klamath River region. She began her formal training as a Clinical Herbalist in 2001 by studying with Michael Moore whom she considers her mentor. Her first step into emergency medicine was certifying as a Wilderness EMT in 2009 and the next step is Paramedic school this Fall. Her passion for sharing information led her to become an instructor of CPR, Wilderness First Aid/First Responder, and EMT courses as well as herbal classes. She has 12 years of experience providing care in challenging environments.

Rachel Goodman was born in New York City, and moved to Oregon in 1971. She has been growing and preserving organic produce ever since, believing increasingly that small rural communities can be sustained though community and economic self-sufficiency. Her interest in natural healthcare led her to become a Licensed Massage Therapist in 1986. She maintains a current practice in Cave Junction. She also co-edits our local quarterly publication, Takilma Common Ground.

Judy Hinkel is from the midwest and moved with her family to California, where her love affair with the west began. So smitten with the wild rivers and mountains of the Pacific Northwest she relocated to the Bay Area and met her husband Craig who shared her passion. Years of frolicking in the ocean finally landed them in Mendocino County where Judy enjoyed a fulfilling career in the Public Health Department. Her compassion for children and families led her to be a CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate. Judy has MESA/Emergency Preparedness training and experience. She holds an FCC amateur radio license and broadcaster license, and co-anchored a PBS radio show on KZYX&Z for 3 years highlighting prevention and wellness programs. In Mendocino she easily blended with the diverse communities and ethnic cultures working alongside non-profit organizations, schools, and tribal organizations providing education, technical assistance and funding for programs to enhance the health and well being of their communities. Along the way, Craig’s brain tumor/surgery and Judy’s surgery injury left them at the mercy of medicine and methods that were not conducive to a healthy life, with limited choices, they turned to holistic medicine. Having unclenched from the fists of Western medicine and practices, she has gained valuable  knowledge of growing and making organic medicine as well as healing the body naturally through various healing arts. What led to an early retirement and natural way of living along with a healthier lifestyle has developed into a passion to make a fully functioning organic homestead, and to become active in the community to assist others in the same.


Steve Orr, see Board of Directors.

Nellie Barrera served as Board Secretary of Spiral Living Center from 2015-2019 and has been actively involved with KXCJ-LP, a communtiy radio project of SLC, since its inception in 2013. She was a member of the KXCJ Steering Committee and also served as Volunteer Coordinator and Program Director. She helped organize many fundraising projects over the years and was always game to bake desserts or play upright bass with her band, “Fire Your Boss” at any SLC event. In 2020, she relocated to Southern California to start a new life chapter with her partner Keeeth Withriees, founder of IV Bikespace.

Margaret Hall Morton was born and raised on a small family farm in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains of southern Virginia. She volunteered as a family intervention worker for the Pace County Florida Guardian Ad Litem program from 1990 to 1994, while attending West Florida University. For ten years she worked as a youth social worker, helping to start grant-funded family integration programs throughout the country. She moved to the Illinois Valley in 2005, where her family owns and operates an off-grid farm, raising and preserving eighty percent of their annual produce consumption. She currently works with youth dealing with the foster care system. Margaret serves on both our SLC Board of Directors and on our Stewardship Committee, supporting us as Membership Coordinator and Board Secretary.

Kelpie Wilson is a writer and a mechanical engineer. Currently, she works with the biochar industry though her consulting company, Wilson Biochar Associates and as an editor at the Biochar Journal, published in Arbaz, Switzerland. From 2008-2012 she worked as a project developer and writer for the International Biochar Initiative. From 2004-2008 she was the environmental editor and columnist for and a contributing editor for Yoga Plus magazine. She has published more than 100 articles in numerous magazines and online publications. From 2004-2006 she was a technical writer for Energy Outfitters, a solar equipment distributor. Prior to that she spent 12 years as a forest protection advocate with the Siskiyou Regional Education Project in Oregon, serving as its executive director for 5 years during that time. Before moving to Oregon, she worked for a small R&D firm designing Stirling cycle engines in Berkeley, California. Kelpie graduated with honors from California State University, Chico in 1987 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. Before beginning her engineering degree program, Kelpie worked as an auto mechanic in Austin, Texas and was a certified engine performance technician.

Kelpie’s volunteer experience includes many presentations and demonstrations of biochar technology for community groups and schools. In November 2014 she helped organize the Biochar School, a 5 day workshop near Petaluma, California on all aspects of biochar use for small farms, with a permaculture perspective. In 2010, she developed and presented a semester-long program on biochar science at the Dome School, a combined 1st through 5th grade classroom in Takilma, Oregon. Kelpie has appeared on numerous radio shows discussing environmental and political topics including the need to save ancient forests and the climate change benefits of biochar. A list of her publications is available at

Roxanne Sterling-Falkenstein is an avid gardener with 30+ years of experience and 12 years of permaculture study, with a special focus in Hugelkultur beds. Roxanne’s passions include food preservation, culinary instruction, and seed collecting/distributing.  From coordinating events, seed swaps, catering, obtaining donations, and creating media, she bring an eclectic array of talents and experience to our organizatio