PLAYA Staff

Rebecca Lawton

Executive Director

Rebecca Lawton is a writer, fluvial geologist, and former Colorado River guide. For many years, she directed a watershed research program for a nonprofit group in Sonoma Valley, monitoring stream sediment, high and low water flows, impacts of legacy land uses, and other environmental factors. She’s served on Boards of Directors, Technical Advisory Groups, and in S.T.E.M. programming, generally targeting water issues. She has also taught creative writing in workshops for field institutes and at university writing conferences. In 2014/15 she was a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the University of Alberta, focused on the critical role of storytelling in communicating science to all audiences, especially regarding climate change. Lawton has won numerous literary awards and fellowships. Her eighth book, “The Oasis this Time: Living and Dying with Water in the West,” is due out from Torrey House Press in 2019. The proposal for “Oasis” won the inaugural Waterston Desert Writing Prize and introduced her to PLAYA. She’s been a devotee ever since.

Chelsea Peil

Residency Manager

Residency, Programming and Marketing Manager Chelsea Peil likes to joke that she is a specialized generalist, yet her purpose is rooted in the intersection of art, ecology, and education. Originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming she is no stranger to the high desert and farm & ranch life. Although, she’s grateful for this background she has always been fascinated by the many ways people can live and engage with the world. She deeply values travel and cross-cultural experiences.For the last 10 years in Portland, OR she has worked in sustainability and arts administration ranging from environmental education, sustainability coordination, events planning, and working with artists making art from trash to promote waste reduction and design innovation. She sees Playa’s mission as a natural fit for her and is excited about the job. Her own art practice involves writing, metalwork (steel, copper, enameling), jewelry making, fashion, and portable architecture. Truthfully, she never grew out of her love of dressing up and building forts.

Jeff Mondry

Site & Facilities Manager

Site and Facilities Manager Jeff Mondry is a North Dakota native who made his way to Oregon in 1984. He was drawn to the Pacific Northwest to train as a competitive nordic skier. He settled in Bend, Oregon where he raised his three children and made a career as a specialty contractor and painter for the last 30 years. Jeff’s appreciation for the great outdoors has drawn him to Summer Lake and PLAYA. He’s always happy chat about sailing in the Cascade Lakes, his recent reads, or his next adventure.

Trina Williams

Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant Trina Williams grew up in Tillamook, OR and Kodiak, AK before graduation from Bend High. She earned an Associate’s degree from COCC in Bend, OR before going on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education later in life. She lives in Summer Lake with her husband and daughter who is the youngest of their four children.