Whidbey Camano Land TrustOur Staff Whidbey Camano Land TrustOur Staff

Our Staff

Land Protection Specialist Danielle BishopDANIELLE BISHOP, land protection specialist, began working for the Land Trust in 2006. As land protection specialist, Danielle’s primary work duties include: working with landowners, partners, and staff to complete land protection projects, applying for grants to fund land protection and stewardship projects, and representing the Land Trust in broader community planning projects.

Danielle has a B.A. in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and prior to joining the Land Trust, was a city planner for the City of Champaign, Illinois. In her free time, Danielle enjoys being in the outdoors, especially swimming in the Puget Sound and running on one of Whidbey Island’s many scenic trails.

Ryan_Elting_photo_crop_2RYAN ELTING, conservation director, joined the Land Trust in April 2014 to lead the Conservation Team – coordinating land protection and acquisition, stewardship and grant fundraising. Ryan has over 10 years of experience in natural resources management, land protection, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and conservation program management.

Prior to joining the Land Trust, Ryan directed Longleaf Pine forest restoration programs for the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. As part of a fellowship with the Nature Conservancy, he even assisted with land conservation in Zambia, Africa. Ryan earned his B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University and Masters of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University.

He and his wife Marthë (from the San Juan Islands) are gardeners and aspiring small farmers. They’re thrilled to be exploring the Islands and State with their daughter, Alma.

JENNIFER HAJNY, membership coordinator, Jennifer joined the Land Trust in December 2015 and ensures that members and others in the community are connected to the Land Trust by administering the Land Trust’s general membership program. Jennifer grew up exploring the forests and beaches of Whidbey Island on horseback. After graduating from South Whidbey High School, Jennifer studied Spanish, Political Science, and Education at Central Washington University. Throughout her studies, she gained an appreciation and love for other cultures and was able to travel to many places around the world, including her top favorites: Ilhabela, an island off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil and A Coruna, found in the Northwest corner of Spain. Not quite ready to return to Whidbey, Jennifer stayed in Ellensburg for awhile and worked for the Kittitas County District Court as well as the Ellensburg School District. Now, back home, working at the Land Trust and taking an active part in protecting some of those places she and her horse visited years ago brings her a great sense of joy. She is closely connected to her family here on Whidbey, and enjoys raising and showing Labrador Retrievers, attending sporting events, and taking advantage of the outdoor beauty that surrounds us on this beautiful island.

Land Steward Jessica LarsonJESSICA LARSON, land steward, joined the Land Trust in October 2008. She is responsible for coordinating the monitoring and stewardship of all conservation easements and protected lands owned by the Land Trust. Using her background in forest management, volunteer coordination, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), she develops land management plans, trains stewardship volunteers, and creates property maps – always with a smile and positive attitude.

Prior to joining the Land Trust, Jessica worked with Mount Rainier National Park and Longview Timber. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Resource Management from the University of Washington and certificate in GIS from Green River Community College. She lives in Coupeville with her Gordon Setter, Angus.

When not training, playing and doing search and rescue with Angus, Jessica is very active in her community; she serves as President and Games Chair of the Highland Games, and Co-Lead for the South Whidbey Disaster Action Team.

Communications Specialist Ron NewberryRON NEWBERRY, communications specialist, joined the Land Trust in June 2017. Ron brings more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor in print and online media. Part of the communications and outreach team, he’s the primary writer and photographer. Ron spent 16 years as a sports writer and copy editor at The (Tacoma) News Tribune and later was Sports Editor at The Olympian.

Ron earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Pacific Lutheran University. With a great passion for the outdoors and nature, he’s particularly interested in wetlands and the creatures that inhabit them. Ron and his wife Kathy live in Coupeville with their mastiff Buster who’s a big fan of walks at the Land Trust’s Del Fairfax Preserve. Ron has two grown daughters who share his love for the outdoors.

KYLE-OSTERMICK-DURKEEKYLE OSTERMICK-DURKEE, stewardship assistant, joined the Land Trust in November 2015. Kyle is responsible for coordinating the Land Steward Program and volunteer work parties, as well as monitoring Land Trust properties and conservation easements.

Kyle received his B.A. in Music from the University of Puget Sound, where he studied trumpet and advanced music theory. Beginning with a position in the Washington Conservation Corps, he made a transition into environmental work and hasn’t looked back! Since 2012, he has led crews on ecological restoration projects throughout the greater Puget Sound.

When he and his partner Megan aren’t cooking, gardening, or hiking, Kyle enjoys playing all over western Washington in his rock band and roughhousing with his golden retriever.

PATRICIA POWELL, executive director, has led the Land Trust since 2003 into a robust and results-oriented organization, increasing its land protection successes in 11 years from eight properties totaling 397 acres to 78 properties totaling 7,635 acres. She draws on 30 years of land protection, grant writing, planning and management skills.

Pat earned her B.S. in Natural Resources Management from University of Alaska, Fairbanks and a Masters of Planning from University of Washington. She was previously Director of Land Protection for the Nature Conservancy of Washington and Special Lands Acquisition Manager for the Washington Department of Natural Resources, as well as a county planner and private consultant.

A better quality of life, along with beaches, wildlife and beautiful scenery drew Pat and her Whidbey-born partner, Mark to Whidbey Island. Once here, she felt an obligation to help protect the reasons she moved here for current and future generations.

Anything canine enhances Pat’s life. She has two corgis and supports a dog-friendly office. Pat enjoys gardening, beach-walking and a glass of red wine with a good book. Pat’s word’s to live by: “Greatness is a matter of moments – Goodness take a lifetime.”

Web_MeleneMELENE THOMPSON, donor relations manager, joined the Land Trust in March 2016 to work directly with our wonderful donors and round out the communications and outreach team with her expertise in marketing. Melene has enjoyed building relationships with a variety of different people throughout her 30-year career which has included working at a variety of radio stations to her recent position with the Port of South Whidbey as the Island County Fairgrounds Property Manager.

Melene received her B.A. in Communications from Washington State University and has been an avid animal and nature lover her entire life. Since living on Whidbey (almost 20 years) Melene has served on WAIF and WICA’s Board of Directors and currently is an active member on the Langley Chamber of Commerce board. Her family includes husband, Jim (served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam), oldest son, Chandler (1st lieutenant in the Marine Corps stationed in Yuma Arizona), twin sons, Evan (reporter at the South Whidbey Record) and Shane (Useless Bay Golf & Country Club Pro Shop), and a black lab mutt named Brady.

Melene loves the outdoors, especially places she can get lots of sunshine or snow and is very excited to explore all of the Land Trusts treasured forests and beaches with our donor family.

Associate Director Carrie ViersCARRIE VIERS, associate director, joined the Land Trust in 2008 and is responsible for managing the finances and operations of the organization. She oversees the human resources, manages grants and supports the executive director. In addition, Carrie works to put new administrative systems in place – helping to create a more organized and efficient organization. She has more than 30 years of experience in finance and operations for various organizations.

Moving to Whidbey Island in 2006, Carrie enjoys gardening, exploring the outdoors, caring for her chickens, and spending time with her husband and children. She resides in Clinton where she also makes a phenomenal raspberry jam.

Stephanie WiegandSTEPHANIE WIEGAND, community engagement director, joined the Land Trust in January 2016. With a background in communications and marketing, Stephanie enjoys writing, editing, learning, and seeing challenging projects through to completion.

Stephanie received a B.S. in Education in 1991 and an M.A. in English in 1993 from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. She began her career working in corporate communications and investor relations and has worked in that capacity for organizations in a variety of industries, including real estate, information technology, and higher education.

Stephanie and her husband, Bill, live in Coupeville with Roo, a boisterous dog who takes them for long, adventurous walks each day. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys gardening, traveling, reading, and playing ice hockey.