Breaking for lunch during a cleanup day at the Ellis Family Preserve | Staff photo


Dear Friends,

Just yesterday, a group of about two dozen SJPT staff members and trustees rolled up their sleeves to begin the daunting task of cleaning up a half-century’s worth of accumulated household “stuff” at the recently donated Ellis Family Preserve, on Shaw Island. The morning started off cloudy, rainy, and cold, making our job seem all the more challenging. As the hours passed, a transformation occurred. …


The sun gradually emerged from the clouds, the air warmed, and the enormity of our task seemed to melt away as we all worked together towards our goal.

Last month, during my first week as the Preservation Trust’s executive director, I felt much the same as our group did early yesterday morning. How could I ever learn the ways of these islands, rally the confidence and support of SJPT’s staff, trustees, and member-donors, all while establishing myself and my family in our new community?

A view of the path to the Ellis Preserve dock in February

And yet, as the last six weeks have gone by, my worries have started to melt and my excitement about the job ahead has grown, thanks to the many people who have welcomed and buoyed me by their shared passion for the conservation work we all hold dear.

I have admired SJPT’s work for many years and count myself extremely lucky to work with a dream team of exceptionally smart and fiercely passionate staff and volunteers. What appealed most to me about the opportunity is the beauty of this community—the people, the landscapes, the spirit of the islands. I am grateful to our trustees, who helped make the transition smooth and seamless, and to so many of you who give of your time, energy, and resources to support the Preservation Trust’s work. Thank you for your gracious welcome to the islands and to the SJPT family.

While I’m a native Washingtonian, I have spent the past 17 years in Hawaii, working to protect fragile ecosystems and growing to appreciate island sensibilities. I bring with me an extensive background in environmental policy and land-use planning. The consistent driving force in my career as an attorney, nonprofit director, and educator is the opportunity to connect people and nature. I am delighted to be joining the SJPT team, and welcome you along for what will, no doubt, be an engaging and fulfilling ride.

SJPT has an incredible track record built on community support. I am so excited about what the future holds. It is not enough to look back on the past (almost) 40 years and be content. There is much work to be done to ensure the identity, beauty, biodiversity, and health of our island home are perpetuated. Together, we will move ahead to build on past successes, to expand our collaborative networks to achieve broader programming and ensure the promise of protection in perpetuity. With boldness and clarity, we will forge ahead to achieve our goals.

Over the next year, we will embark on strategic planning to set a course for years to come. I look forward with great anticipation to meeting and working with new friends along the way.

Hope to see you soon at our upcoming Annual Meeting (on May 5), at a work party, or somewhere out in the community. And don’t forget: You can see how our cleanup work is progressing at the amazing Ellis Family Preserve by coming to the Summer Social on July 28 (learn more and sign up right here)!

Warmest Regards,