2023 Board of Directors Election

This year’s ballot includes seven candidates, each standing for a non-contested opening on the San Juan Preservation Trust’s Board of Directors.  Click on the names of the candidates below to see more information about them.

As indicated on the e-ballot, SJPT members have the following two voting options:

  1. Vote “Yes” for the entire slate of seven candidates, OR
  2. Withhold your “Yes” vote from one or more candidates by typing their name(s) in the space provided.

Candidates with a majority of “Yes” votes will be elected to their indicated terms.

Thank you for participating in our 2023 Board election!

Incumbent Candidates

David Duggins was raised in a family with a strong conservation ethic, and he pursued an academic career in line with those values. He earned both his bachelor’s degree (in zoology) and Ph.D. (in wildlife biology) at the University of Washington. He worked as a research scientist at UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories for 40 years before retiring in 2016.

David’s academic expertise centers on the effect of disturbance on ecological communities. While his work has focused on marine communities, the principles extend to terrestrial communities as well.

In addition to his academic research and teaching at the university level, David has long advocated introducing marine science to children in the primary grades. He created and supervised the Friday Harbor Labs’ Marine Science Outreach Program, a partnership with UW, public and private schools, and government agencies for K-12 science education and stewardship.

He and his wife, Megan Dethier (also a scientist at Friday Harbor Labs), have been enthusiastic supporters of the San Juan Preservation Trust since its inception. Now that he’s retired, David says, “I am able to put ‘my mouth where my money is’ and contribute to the Preservation Trust’s Board as a working board member.

“I am a strong believer in acting locally,” he says, “and while global conservation challenges are daunting, local issues seem like the place to begin.”

Charles Givens is a lifelong learner who retired with his wife, Nancy, after a varied career as a mechanical draftsman, industrial photographer, printer and publisher, and model railroad retail business owner. The magazine he co-founded, The Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette, is still going strong today. His interest in trains and photography led to a passion for history and then for the environment. He watched California’s Santa Clara Valley evolve from the “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” with thousands of acres of orchards, into Silicon Valley, where not a single orchard remains today.

In 1997, Charles and Nancy moved to a forested site on Lopez Island and began their commitment to the Preservation Trust, donating an easement on their property and volunteering in the Preservation Trust office until Charles joined the board in 2005. He also has served on the board of the Lopez Island Historical Society, including terms as vice-president and as treasurer. More recently he has served on the board of the Lopez Island Hospice & Home Support, including three years as treasurer.

As a child growing up along the American River in Northern California, Nancy Greene was drawn to the riparian habitat and the natural richness of her surroundings. From the beginning of her arrival in the San Juan Islands, the natural and cultivated landscape of the islands has been a source of daily inspiration.

After receiving degrees in art history and humanities, Nancy began a career that led to design, construction, and real estate project management for large commercial projects in San Francisco. In 1993, she moved to Lopez Island, where she has been actively working in the community as a business owner, designer, and volunteer.

Nancy’s collaborative approach to architecture and design at Greene Partners informs her volunteer role: Working with diverse community groups, she facilitated the development and construction of Lopez Center for Community and the Arts. Her 20-year tenure on the San Juan County Land Bank Commission helped bring about the protection of significant natural, historic, and scenic resources. She has actively participated in Lopez Village planning workshops and meetings since 1995, and currently serves on the Lopez Village Planning Review Committee.

Nancy and her husband, Joe, enjoy exploring public lands in their spare time.

Mary Miller grew up hearing about the remote islands and stunning shorelines of the San Juan Islands. On a chance weekend trip in 1992, she was captivated by the rural life and incredible beauty of Orcas Island. During that fateful weekend, she fell in love. Both the San Juan Islands and her traveling companion, Steve, captivated her heart forever. With a lifelong curiosity of the outdoors and a commitment to the tapestry of rural life, Mary and Steve chose to leave their corporate city lives and permanently relocate to Orcas Island in 1999.

After leaving a successful career as a Senior Fraud Analyst in Loss Prevention for a major financial institution, Mary set her sights on reinventing herself as a conservationist. By working as a naturalist, property manager, and in multiple volunteer positions, she has been able to deepen her understanding of the ecosystems unique to the San Juan Islands. A passion and dedication to the stewardship of these fragile lands and shorelines has become an integral part of her responsibility to living in this archipelago. Mary is thrilled to be part of the San Juan Preservation Trust’s commitment to preserve and protect this amazing environment.

Mary and Steve reside on Orcas Island amid a lovely garden with their cats, Teddy and Tru. In their spare time, they enjoy hiking, camping and exploring our National Parks.

New Candidates

Eric Beckman is a licensed CPA with more than 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. He has served as a board member for corporate and nonprofit organizations. Most recently before his retirement in 2020, he worked as an executive at WatchGuard Technologies and as a consultant with global consulting firm Corporate Visions.

In retirement, Eric has chosen to focus on a select few organizations where he believes he can make a meaningful contribution and remain engaged over the long term. Preserving the unspoiled character of the San Juan Islands is one of his top priorities, and he has been a longtime supporter of the Preservation Trust. Eric and his wife Melissa, both Northwest natives, have been on Lopez Island since 2004.

Eric has served as an SJPT Preserve Steward for the 40-acre Beecher Preserve on Lopez Island for several years, gaining valuable stewardship experience. He believes he can make an even greater impact applying his professional skillset as a board member. His broad range of accounting and finance experience could be applied to support the Preservation Trust’s continued growth and commitment to organizational excellence.

Eric also possesses expertise in onsite and online adult learning, which could be of value in assisting SJPT’s Connect efforts with outreach, awareness, and marketing programs. For example, during the pandemic, he led a team of volunteers that guided Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center (in Carnation, WA) in transitioning its educational programming online during the pandemic.

With his extensive experience and skills, Eric is well-suited to make significant contributions to the Preservation Trust and help ensure the long-term preservation of the San Juan Islands’ unspoiled character.

Mark Johnsen is a passionate advocate for land conservation with more than 30 years of experience in the field. While primarily based in Seattle, he has owned a home on Orcas Island for 28 years and has been spending more time there since retirement.

In 1993, Mark joined the King County Conservation Citizens Oversight Committee, where he quickly became the chair of the Acquisitions Subcommittee. The committee was responsible for overseeing the acquisition and conservation of properties throughout King County, using funds from the Conservation Futures tax and recent bonding against that fund. During his time there, Mark helped conserve many ecologically significant properties through purchase or conservation easements.

In 1996, Mark joined the board of the newly formed Land Conservancy of Seattle & King County, which later became the Cascade Land Conservancy and, more recently, Forterra. Around 2002, he conceived of expanding the organization’s mission into the Olympic Peninsula and southwest Washington, with a focus on conserving high-quality unprotected coastal wetlands, estuaries, and lower river reaches. He left the board to become the director and sole on-the-ground manager of this effort, called the Coastal and Estuary Program. Through partnerships with various organizations and private foundations, Mark negotiated and completed the acquisition of around 40 properties totaling more than 10,000 acres along Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor, and estuaries on the Olympic Coast.

Mark also served as an active member of the King County Conservation Futures Advisory Committee, serving as Vice Chair for about 12 years and, most recently, as Chair. The committee evaluates and makes funding recommendations for properties with about $50 million in annual revenue from Conservation Futures, the King County Parks Levy, and recent bonds. Over the years, Mark evaluated more than 500 conservation projects, including both fee acquisitions and conservation easements.

With his extensive hands-on experience and skillset in land conservation, Mark is now looking to bring his expertise to the San Juan Preservation Trust, of which he has been a member and supporter since the 1990s.

John Howell has had a deep connection with the San Juan Islands for his entire life. His family has owned property on San Juan Island since 1945, and he has spent a great deal of time there over the years, even referring to the islands as his spiritual home. During his teenage years, John was fortunate enough to have landed a job with Charlie Chevalier (a member of Mitchell Bay Band of Indigenous San Juan Islanders) on his reef net gear on Stuart Island, which he says was the best job he has ever had. He enjoyed the adrenaline rush of being on top of the stand and seeing a large school of fish swimming towards the gear. As a boy, John would hunt rabbits by sitting on the front hood of his family’s Rambler station wagon and using a fish net.

John and his wife and son have also boated and cruised throughout the islands, visiting many of them. John’s sister lives in a house she and her husband built right next to the old family cabin, which John and his wife now own. John states that all of the San Juan Islands are special to him, and he has been aware of the good work of the Preservation Trust for many years. He served on the Board of the Cascade Land Conservancy (now called Forterra) for 20 years, where he learned the power of what a smart, visionary land trust can accomplish.

John has facilitated retreats for the San Juan County Conservation Land Bank for around 10 years and takes great pleasure in seeing what the Land Bank and the Preservation Trust have been able to accomplish, both together and separately. He hopes to continue to protect open spaces, forests, farms, cultural lands, and iconic landscapes that are so important to maintaining the character of the islands. John saw the power of creating trusting relationships with tribal communities in his work on the Burke Museum Board, and hopes to help forge stronger connections with native communities that have ancestral ties to the islands.

Having served on a number of boards over the past 30 years, John understands the role of board members and how a board can support the work of staff and advance the mission of an organization. As he approaches retirement, he is keen to spend his time working with the Preservation Trust to achieve its goals.