The Paly Foundation focuses on efforts that highlight the importance of conserving and protecting diverse natural habitats and wildlife populations. We believe that nature conservation is best achieved through thoughtful, well directed nature education efforts and projects. An individual's contributions can have a measurable effect on the conservation of Earth’s biodiversity and an experience with a well designed, stimulating and emotive nature education program can be the catalyst that sparks that individual's passion for and commitment to nature conservation throughout life. 

Executive Team

Charmin Dahl, Curator cdahl@palyfoundation.org

Charmin is delighted to combine her passion for environmentalism with education.  Her broad educational background includes development and teaching for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and partnered schools, University of Nevada Las Vegas Extension, Maricopa Community Colleges, community education programs and technology companies.  As a presenter and advocate, Charmin engages learners in lively interaction and seeks to elevate awareness through collaboration and the direct application of science.

Renee Bruer, Director of Operations rbruer@palyfoundation.org

A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Renee brings more than 25 years of business and organization supervisory leadership skills to the Foundation. Her areas of expertise include marketing, business development, accounting, human resources and business management. Among other journeys, she has hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, explored the Amazon jungle, rafted the Colorado River, and solo-backpacked to remote areas. Renee is thrilled to blend her business skills with her love of nature to support the conservation, preservation, and restoration of nature’s habitats.

Paly, Founder/Head Conservationist paly@palyfoundation.org

Award winning wildlife artist Paly is known for his vivid portrayal of natural beauty. An accomplished, nationally exhibited painter and wildlife and underwater photographer, Paly studied Wildlife Conservation and Management, trained as a Game Ranger in his birth country of South Africa, is a certified Coral Reef Biology Science Instructor and a Master Scuba Diver.

Expert Panel Members

As no one person is an island, no one project is either.  Our expert panel members lend their strengths to provide The Paly Foundation with perspective, expertise, and critique.  In this way, we are sure our exhibits provide an engaging and educational experience to a broad audience.  For this, we extend our deepest gratitude.

Kathleen A. Dahl, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Eastern Oregon University

Dr. Dahl has spent twenty-five years teaching college students about cultural ecology, biological evolution, environmental anthropology, indigenous peoples and adaptation, ecotourism, and science versus pseudoscience. She designed and constructed exhibits for the Museum of Anthropology at Washington State University. Her research activities have included environmental impacts on Native American sovereignty, museum interpretation of native and regional culture in the American West, historic site and museum representation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and visual culture (for example, photography, murals, and dioramas) as incorporated into interpretive exhibits. Dr. Dahl has a life-long interest in nature, wildlife, birds, preservation of ecosystems, and protection of public lands and marine resources.

Juanita Havill, Award Winning Children's Book Author

Juanita Havill has been writing children’s books for over thirty years. Her first book Jamaica’s Find won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award and was featured on Reading Rainbow. More recently her verse novel Grow won the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature Youth Fiction Award of the Santa Monica Public Library. A recurring theme in her picture books and novels is the challenge of making choices and the struggle to do the right thing. She believes that awareness, understanding, and knowledge will lead us to make better decisions about how we treat others as well as the natural world around us. 

Seth C. Rasmussen, Ph.D, Professor of Chemistry, North Dakota State University

Dr. Rasmussen has been teaching university students for over 20 years, on a wide range of subjects including chemistry, materials science, and history, as well as aspects of physics and engineering.  An award-winning teacher, researcher, and author, Dr. Rasmussen's research activities include the design and production of organic semiconducting materials, solar cells, organic light emitting diodes, the history of materials, chemical technology in antiquity, and the application of history to science education. In addition, he contributes his time to a variety of outreach programs in order to share science and its history with the public.

Doug Mulford, Ph.D, Senior Lecturer of Chemistry, Emory University

Dr. Mulford is a Senior Lecturer of Chemistry at Emory University where we has taught since 2006.  Before then he taught for 7 years at Pepperdine University.  He has a Ph.D. is in inorganic chemistry and a Masters in chemical education, both from Purdue University.  As a part of his masters work Dr. Mulford wrote the Chemical Concepts Inventory Dr. Mulford is in a teaching focused position at this time and has been working over the past several years with his colleagues at Emory to completely rework the undergraduate chemistry curriculum from the ground up. The new curriculum, Chemistry Unbound, is rolling out this year.  Dr. Mulford is now focusing on the assessment of the new curriculum and its continuing development. 

Karyn Bertschi, MAT

Karyn Bertschi is an educational consultant with more than 35 years of experience in formal and informal education. For the past 21 years, she has worked in education and exhibit development at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Most recently she held the position of Senior Exhibit Developer at OMSI and led major exhibit projects funded by federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Ms. Bertschi is currently an exhibit development consultant in Portland, Oregon.

Denise Fleener, Interpretive Specialist for Science Education and Great Ape Conservationist

Denise Fleener utilizes her twenty-year career as a science education writer and editor, and her current role as tour bus guide at a local zoo to inspire and raise awareness about our global conservation issues. In the past, she has acted as adjunct instructor for vertebrate zoology, general biology, and anatomy at Marylhurst University in Oregon, and has also been part of the research and exhibit design team for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the San Diego Zoo. Her specific focus and passion is the protection of the great apes, and the rainforests they inhabit.




The Paly Foundation focuses on educational efforts that highlight the importance of conserving and protecting diverse natural habitats and wildlife populations.