Illustration by Jack Ohman

Mike Houck

Mike Houck graduated from Estacada Union High School in 1965; received his BS in Zoology from Iowa State University in 1969; was awarded a Masters of Science in Teaching in Biology from Portland State University in 1972.  He was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, 2003-2004.  He Directed the Community Research Center at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry from 1972 to 1977 and taught at Oregon Episcopal School from 1977 to 1979.  In 1980 Mike founded the Urban Naturalist program at the Audubon Society of Portland ( where he served as Urban Naturalist for 35 years. He founded the Urban Greenspaces Institute, ( in 1999 where he was Executive Director for over 20 years and is currently Director Emeritus.  Houck is a co-founder of The Portland-Vancouver region’s Urban Ecosystem Research Consortium (UERC) (; The Intertwine Alliance (, and the international The Nature of Cities (  

Mike co-edited Wild in the City, a Guide to Portland’s Natural Areas (2000); Wild in the City, Exploring The Intertwine (2011); and two editions of the international The Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology (2011), (2021).  He has received awards for his work on urban greenspaces including the William F. Finley life-time achievement award from the Portland Audubon Society; named an Honorary ASLA by the American Society of Landscape Architects; American Planning Association’s award for contributions to Oregon’s land use planning program; The Giraffe Project’s designation as a Giraffe, someone who sticks their neck out for environmental and social issues; from the City of Heidelberg, the Germany International Conservation Award; and the national Garden Club of America’s Frances K. Hutchinson conservation medal.