Meet the Staff

Steve Schnarr

Director

Steve Schnarr lives in Columbia, Mo. His love for the river developed from years of exploring its waters by canoe. He was drawn to Missouri River Relief as a volunteer at local clean-ups, later serving as an event coordinator, MegaScout coordinator, MRR board member and for many years as Program Manager. He continues to help direct the organization and assist in planning several events.

Lisa Cole

Development Director

Lisa first became inspired by Missouri River Relief’s mission through her son’s participation in numerous summers at the Missouri River Academy.  She has spent much of her career working in higher education at the University of Missouri – Columbia, Westminster College and William Woods University as well as Development Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Columbia.  Lisa joins the team to lead our fundraising efforts and support the impact the organization can have on the river and in our community.

Melanie Cheney

Office Manager

Melanie has been a volunteer crewmember with Missouri River Relief since 2002, working on clean-ups, special projects, and educational events.  Hired as an Americorps Stream Team Assistant in 2007, she networked with Stream Teams in the area, developed education programs and helped coordinate events. She now manages the MRR office full time to keep the organization legal and flowing seamlessly.

Kristen Schulte

Education Director

Kristen Schulte has a Master’s of Science in Natural Science Education and Environmental and Natural Resources and has been working in environmental education since 2006. Her passion for environmental education was first ignited during a trail crew in the North Cascades, WA.  Ever since this experience, she has felt a drive to connect people to the environment, while promoting stewardship.  In her role at MRR, she works to advance our mission of connecting people to the Missouri River with an emphasis on education.

Kevin Tosie

Operations Director

Kevin first became interested in the Missouri River in 2015 after helping organize a cleanup with Missouri River Relief and two student organizations, Sustain Mizzou and the Student Environment Coalition of UMKC. Since then, he has been addicted to the Missouri River and all its beauty. After graduating from the University of Missouri - Columbia with a degree in forestry, he became MRR's full-time event coordinator, organizing cleanup events throughout the Lower Missouri River Region, and eventually becoming the Operations Director in 2023.

Christina Ruiz

Race Director

Christina Ruiz has raced five times in the Missouri American Water MR340, including the very first race in 2006. She has directed several races on the Kansas River, served on the Board of Friends of the Kaw, and did a stint in the Reaper safety boat for the Missouri American Water MR340. She has worked for many years in higher education finance. Her love for river adventures and skill at managing events and data make her an ideal Director to lead the next stage of our races.

Dave Combs

Fleet Manager

Dave's love of spending time outdoors led him to the fisheries and wildlife program at Mizzou. After graduating he embarked on a 15-year adventure as a biologist on the Missouri River. During that time, he spent countless hours tracking the endangered Pallid Sturgeon on the Missouri River from Yankton, SD to St. Louis, MO and even on the Yellowstone River in Montana. When not tracking in the field he was busy maintaining the fleet of research vessels, designing and building scientific equipment and conducting boat operator and water safety training.

Katy Miller

Bookkeeper

Katy Miller participated in her first river clean up over 10 years ago and is committed to getting junk out of the river! When she’s not busy homeschooling, homesteading, and catching babies as a local homebirth midwife, she helps keep the River Relief office running smoothly managing paperwork and organizing financial information.

Alyssa Marie Thomas

Stewardship Coordinator

Alyssa is a graduate from Central Methodist University with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. She loves scuba diving, exercising, and enjoying various recreational activities. Beyond her hobbies, she has a passion for the environment and helping others. As someone who has lived in many places while growing up in a multicultural household, she seeks new experiences while learning more about our world and its people!

Lara Cox

Education Coordinator

Lara grew up just outside of Columbia, about a mile from the Missouri River.  She's since lived, studied, and taught in Iowa, Switzerland, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. She's taught in Columbia Public Schools as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for the last three years where she's used the outdoors to teach--from Missouri all the way to the Smoky Mountains and Grand Tetons National Parks!  She could not be more excited to join the MRR community!

Trevor Harris

Grant Writer

Trevor is a regular Missouri River paddler and inveterate litter collector. These leisure-time pursuits have prepared him well for his role at Missouri River Relief. He previously has written grants for arts non-profits, local governments and higher education research. Trevor is pursuing legacy and new grant funders for Missouri River Relief's important mission to clean up and educate everyone about the beauty of our Missouri River.

Taby Lane

Race Coordinator

Taby Lane grew up in Millersburg, Missouri, often biking on the Katy Trail alongside the Missouri River. She has raced in the Missouri American Water MR340 and Race to the Dome twice, in 2020 and 2022. As Race Coordinator, Taby’s focus includes volunteer management, race operations, and the management of our online store. Her technical skills and event coordination experience make her a great fit for our race team. Taby loves the camaraderie that our race events bring to participants and local communities.

Starkie Kreuder

AmeriCorps Education Assistant

Starkie is an artist and educator from Vermont, who moved to Columbia last year for a ceramics residency with a Columbia non-profit called Access Arts. During this time, they had the pleasure of connecting with Missouri River Relief by participating in the Missouri River Days program with the entire 4th grade. These moments with River Relief pushed Starkie to pursue further involvement with the organization. They are excited to join the River Relief team working to help educate and connect people to the Missouri River while learning about it along the way.

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This website is created and maintained by Missouri River Relief, P.O. Box 463, Columbia, MO 65205
MRR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID (EIN) 03-0425187
© 2024 Missouri River Relief | Website development and design by Pixel Jam Digital
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