Puget Soundkeeper Staff
Puget Soundkeeper &
Chris Wilke brings his experience in forming coalitions, pollution prevention, development and fundraising along with his boating experience and paddling expertise. A native of the Puget Sound region, Chris has a passion for the environment and all things aquatic. As a child he learned to swim in the cold waters of Hood Canal and dug clams in the rich waters of Sequim Bay. He was certified in SCUBA off Alki Point and later met one of our giant lingcod up close off Edmonds, which was when he learned to swim backward. Whether it’s his knowledge of salmon issues, his experience working on marine mammal research projects with NOAA, or his enthusiasm for our diverse population of intertidal creatures, Chris is steeped in the science behind the Puget Sound story. When not working to protect and preserve Puget Sound with PSA, Chris can often be found on the water, sailing his 22′ sailboat “Blue Heron” or fly fishing Puget Sound’s rivers, lakes and saltwater beaches. Chris has extensive project management experience in the private sector, a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington and a background in music and liberal arts studies at Cornish College.
The daughter of a Great Lakes fisherman, Katelyn was raised with a close relationship with Wisconsin’s outdoors and a genuine appreciation for marine resources. Her love and respect for our waterways grew during her childhood sailing classes and throughout her time as a kayak guide on Lake Michigan’s coastline. Katelyn received a B.S. in International Relations from Boston University in 2006. During that time, she interned at human rights organization Free Tibet Campaign in London and then at an environmental law firm in Dublin. Katelyn received a juris doctorate from California Western School of Law in 2009. She worked at an environmental and mining law firm in central Chile and studied international human rights and asylum law in Malta. Before sailing north and relocating to the Pacific Northwest, Katelyn enjoyed a year long legal internship with the San Diego Coastkeeper, where she focused on coastal protection and clean water law. Today, Katelyn manages Soundkeeper’s Clean Water Act Enforcement Program, while working to protect the Puget Sound both from inside the Soundkeeper office and outdoors on the water. Katelyn is a member of the state bars of California and Washington.
Pollution Prevention Director
Growing up in New England, Andy began sailing on the waters of Narragansett Bay, RI at age 10. For as long as he can remember Andy has had a deep passion for the ocean and a drive to study, protect, and share it with others. Earning his first captain’s license at age 18, Andy has captained vessels including rescue towboats, sailing charters, and environmental sampling boats. This career has allowed him to travel up and down the Atlantic Coast from New England to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Northern Pacific from Seattle to Dutch Harbor, AK. Andy did his undergraduate work at Clemson University where he graduated with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Communications. He has been living here in the Puget Sound region since 2006 and recently graduated from the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. His graduate work focused on volunteer monitoring networks for Harmful Algal Blooms in Puget Sound and he worked as a research assistant for NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Andy now brings over 15 years of experience in the marine industry and his academic training as a social scientist and policy analyst to Puget Soundkeeper Alliance where he engages with the local boating community to reduce pollution and help to foster stewardship of the Washington waterways. In his free time Andy can be found sailing on the Puget Sound, surfing Washington’s outer coast, and hiking and skiing the peaks of the North Cascades.
Julie grew up on the Sound. She sailed with her family to local ports and spent summers swimming and sailing small boats on Lake Washington with her cousins. Clamming local beaches, walking the shorelines of local parks, hiking and camping in the Cascades all worked together to imprint in her a love of the outdoors and a desire to protect our natural spaces at a young age. In high school, Julie was the youngest member of her Student Conservation Association team and spent part of a summer in the North Cascades on a trail building crew. But it’s her love of being “out on the boat”, sailing with her family and friends on the Sound that ignited in her a passion to switch things up and change gears recently in her professional life, leading her to volunteer with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance in 2011. Julie joined PSA as Office Manager in 2012 and brings her experience in Office Management and her Human Resources background to the team. Outside of the office, Julie is often training for her next personal challenge, be that riding the STP, her next triathlon or a future summit of Rainier. But she treasures every moment spent aboard the C&C 38 she and her partner David sail out of Shilshole Bay Marina.
Kathryn grew up with the Puget Sound as her backyard. Her dad worked as a commercial salmon fisherman in Bristol Bay, Alaska and has introduced her, through fishing, to the places and creatures of the Pacific Northwest. Together, they have rafted through many of the rivers in Washington and Oregon. In 2011, she graduated with Honors from the University of Washington Program on the Environment where she also minored in Spanish. Her studies brought her to Argentina, Spain, and awarded her the opportunity to work on a variety of environmental research and policy issues. Kathryn’s senior thesis project investigated the effects of different land uses on stream ecology. This research, in combination with her family background, is what has inspired her to pursue a career in water stewardship. Kathryn first joined Puget Soundkeeper Alliance as an AmeriCorps member and is now on staff as the Stewardship Coordinator. Through her work, she hopes to share her love of this area with the many people she meets.
Amelia grew up in Seattle. After five years on the east coast and time spent in New Mexico and Tanzania for undergraduate studies in environmental science, she promptly moved back west and began working as a freelance journalist, writing about environmental issues, green energy, biofuels and biotech for publications including Seattle Business magazine and High Country News. For over a year, she worked as the editorial assistant at the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound, a project designed to improve access to the most relevant scientific information surrounding Puget Sound protection and restoration. A water lover from an early age, she remains dazzled by Puget Sound and the diversity of life it sustains, and she is thrilled to contribute her communications savvy to the Soundkeeper mission.
The Field Director is responsible for detecting, documenting and reporting illegal pollution, building evidence of environmental damage, and creating a record to support regulatory changes based on environmental need. Joerger has worked to protect Puget Sound for many years as a volunteer, contractor and as the Puget Soundkeeper from 1999-2009. Joerger has her MS from the University of Washington.
Boat Skipper & Patrol Coordinator
Paul has lived by water all his life, and in 1954 began his service with the U.S. Coast Guard. He worked in Search and Rescue, served as Quartermaster-2nd Class in the South Pacific, and served in the Arctic. After graduating from college with honors, he worked as an industrial designer, sales manager, and marketing director until his retirement in 1997. He became involved with Soundkeeper’s Pollution Prevention program under Pat Pearson in 1998. Paul has helped Soundkeeper with nearly every fundraising event and every clean-up, and has worked Soundkeeper booths at countless festivals and shows. His contributions to our outreach in the community are immeasurable. After nearly five years of volunteer work, he was asked to join the staff as program assistant.
Teresa grew up in Fort Dodge, Iowa, just up the hill from the Des Moines River. She spent her childhood camping and swimming at the lakes during the hot and humid Midwest summers. At age sixteen, she and her family moved to Salinas, California near the Monterey Bay. Her appreciation of California’s diverse geography, beautiful coastline and protected marine sanctuaries led her to a BA degree in Environmental Studies and Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Teresa’s first job out of college was at an environmental non-profit and her fundraising career was born. In 2014, Teresa earned a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Washington. With over 19 years of fundraising experience, Teresa brings to Puget Soundkeeper a commitment to engaging supporters and working collaboratively to raise funds for a shared passion—protecting the environment. In her spare time, Teresa enjoys traveling, visiting beaches and camping.
Erica grew up in the Midwest near Madison, Wisconsin in a rural setting. She developed a life-long love of the outdoors and nature. Lakes, boating, and the Mississippi River all played a part in shaping her love of the water. Erica’s career with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance began six years ago as a Soundkeeper volunteer, helping to clean up the Duwamish River waterway as well as helping with various other cleanups and events. The beauty of Puget Sound inspired Erica to want to be a part of protecting its waters for her children and future generations. In 2008, she began working part-time for PSA as an administrative assistant. Erica attended the University of Wisconsin’s School of Education and also has a certificate in Environmental Regulatory Law from the University of Washington. Her work background includes almost 8 years of preschool and Kindergarten teaching, as well as Retail and Events Manager for the W-Club at the UW-Madison. Erica enjoys travel, snorkeling, is a certified SCUBA diver, loves camping and hiking and spending time with her wonderful family and friends.
Assistant Staff Attorney
Sophia grew up on Vashon Island and was fishing, kayaking, beachcombing and swimming in the Puget Sound from a very early age. Sophia moved to upstate New York to attend Colgate University where she double majored in Geography and Spanish and realized how much of an impact the surroundings she was raised in had on her career interests. After college she moved to New York City to get her J.D. with a certificate in environmental law at Pace Law School. While at Pace Sophia interned for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Eastern Environmental Law Center. She also spent a semester at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic working under Robert Kennedy Jr. and representing Hudson Riverkeeper. Her love of the Puget Sound pulled her back to Seattle after law school where her dream was to work for Puget Soundkeeper. So here she is, very excited to use her knowledge and passion to preserve the body of water that is so near and dear to her. Beyond constantly enjoying the Puget Sound, Sophia can also be found rampantly rooting for the Seahawks and Mariners, jogging around Greenlake and eating her way through the Seattle restaurant scene.
Science and Education Coordinator
Despite growing up in landlocked upstate New York, Connie has always had a passion for the marine environment. From a very young age, she was found crawling around the rocky intertidal of New England at any chance she got—and now the only thing that has changed is the side of the country. After a decade of a nomadic lifestyle around North America that included doing a teaching fellowship, obtaining an MS in marine ecotoxicology, working as a project manager in an ecotoxicology laboratory, and managing a field business development office for a scientific laboratory, she settled into Puget Sound in 2010. Initially, it was ‘just’ to do a Masters in Marine Affairs at UW, but she found she didn’t want to leave after that was done, so stayed on for a SeaGrant Marc Hershman Marine Policy fellowship at the Puget Sound Partnership. Following this, she worked at UW-Tacoma’s Puget Sound Institute before heading to Friday Harbor Laboratories to manage the Ocean Acidification Environmental Laboratory. She recently relocated to central Puget Sound to get back to her roots in toxicology and outreach to work in pollution prevention. When not in the office, she can be found roaming in the mountains with her dog, exploring Puget Sound tidepools, riding a horse, on a boat in Puget Sound, or enjoying the Seattle social dance scene.
Kerry grew up exploring the Pinelands and kayaking in the cedar lakes of southern New Jersey. Kerry is a recent graduate with a B.S. in Biology from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. While she was an undergraduate, Kerry participated in a summer research program studying marine ecology at Friday Harbor Labs, San Juan Island, WA. There, she fell in love with the marine life of Puget Sound (with a particular soft spot for intertidal snails and chitons). After graduation, Kerry spent the past year working with several environmentally focused groups, including an eco-resort in St. John, USVI, a trail crew in the Southwest, and most recently pursued research projects at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in both entomology and invertebrate zoology. Kerry then swapped her hometown Jersey shore for the rocky intertidal, beaches and mudflats of Puget Sound and is now thrilled to dedicate her time and effort to protecting such a unique ecosystem with Puget Soundkeeper. In her spare time, Kerry enjoys running, hiking, watercolor painting, and looking for animals and algae in the intertidal, and she is looking forward to exploring both Washington’s national parks and the city of Seattle over the next year!
Policy Analyst and Executive Coordinator
Alyssa Barton is an attorney, environmentalist, and outdoors explorer. After a year-long process of travelling, researching, and planning, in 2016 she sold most of her belongings, packed up her car, and drove from Miami, Florida to her new home in Seattle. Alyssa has a history of environmental activism starting from childhood when her mom took her on stream and beach cleanups and instilled in her the importance of the mottos “recycle, reduce, and reuse” and “go play outside!” Prior to joining Puget Soundkeeper, she worked for almost five years on the Board of Directors of the Fairchild Palms, a non-profit in South Florida that plans events and fundraises in support of a children’s environmental education and stewardship program, the Fairchild Challenge. She also worked as a legal fellow with National Parks Conservation Association for over a year, and as a pro-bono attorney on behalf of several environmental non-profits in South Florida. Alyssa has seven years of legal experience, including four years of combined litigation experience in property insurance and association law, and three years of law firm office management experience. She obtained her JD from the University of Miami in 2009 as a Dean’s Merit Scholarship Recipient, and her BA in English with a Minor in Writing from UMBC where she graduated magna cum laude as a Humanities Scholar. Alyssa has published one short story, one article, and she blogs. She enjoys reading and writing, camping, volunteering, hiking and biking, crafting, and various other pursuits in her free time.
Born and raised in sunny California, Mithsy grew up only a 20-minute drive from the beach. Weekly coastal trips with family and friends sparked a love and passion for the ocean early in her life. Her environmental activism began at a young age when she passionately explained to her parents the need to take shorter showers and to reuse, reduce, and recycle. Despite being in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, Mithsy spent her summers swimming, biking, and staying outside. Her appreciation for the environment and all things aquatic served as a catalyst for pursuing a career with the great outdoors. In 2016, Mithsy graduated from the University of San Diego with a BA in Environmental Studies and minor in Sociology. During this time, she participated in research studies studying local marine ecology and interned with the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department. Throughout her education she developed a passion for environmental justice, wildlife conservation, and public policy. In pursuit of a career in the environmental field, Mithsy happily traded beaches for mountains and joined Puget Soundkeeper Alliance in 2017. She is excited to dedicate her time toward environmental protection and advocacy. When not in the office, she can be found exploring the mountains and Puget Sound, braving the rain, and eating her way through Seattle.
Puget Soundkeeper Board of Directors
Kate Pflaumer, President
Former US Attorney (Western District of WA)
Peter Ackroyd, Vice President
Construction Management Consultant
Jonathan McKee, Secretary
Ross Chambers, Treasurer
Medic One Foundation
Harborview Medical Center — Burn Unit
Attorney at Law, Earthjustice
Controller, Madrona Venture Group
Controller, Montlake Capital
Vice President, Northwest Protective Service
Managing Partner, Apollo Robotics Technology, Inc.
Owner and CEO, TriFilm Productions
Stormwater Scientist and Limnologist
Chief External Relations Officer, Northwest Harvest
Marine Hardware Business Owner
Life Member Seattle Yacht Club
Editor, RealSelf.com, Avvo.com
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
President and CEO, SeaBear Company
Principal, Putnam Films, Inc.
Broker, John L. Scott Real Estate
Maritime Pilotage Consultant
Former Executive Director, Puget Sound Pilots
Eric von Brandenfels
Pilot, Puget Sound Pilots