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.
Shana Pennington-Baird graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA from Stephens College. Settling in Seattle after touring the country with Missoula Children’s Theatre, Shana worked as an administrator for many local arts organizations including Book-It Repertory Theatre, ACT Theatre and the Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, helping secure funding from Amazon.com, JP Morgan Chase, and helping ACT meet financial goals for 2009-2011. Shana’s background includes event and venue management for hundreds of local events from golf tournaments and weddings to galas and concert seasons. When not at work, Shana is a dedicated scuba diver and volunteer for the Seattle Aquarium. Her passionate love of underwater photography helped lead her to Puget Soundkeeper Alliance where she is very excited to help raise funds for a mission close to her own heart.
Legal Affairs Manager
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.
Boating Programs Coordinator
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 plans to engage 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.
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 joins the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance as an AmeriCorps volunteer and hopes to share her love of this area with the people she meets. She will be working to support the Pollution Prevention programs, coordinate volunteer activities, and conduct community outreach. You can find her weekly on the kayak patrols of Lake Union or on the boat patrols up the Duwamish River.
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 Artic. 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 Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s (PSA) Pollution Prevention programs under Pat Pearson in 1998. Paul has helped PSA with nearly every fundraising event and every clean-up, and has worked PSA booths at countless festivals and shows. His contributions to our outreach in the community are immeasurable. After nearly five years of volunteer work with PSA, he was asked to join the staff as program assistant.
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. After moving to Seattle in 1998, she met her husband Doug. They have two amazing children and currently live in Ballard. 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.
Pollution Prevention Program Manager
Growing up in Preston, “outside” became a familiar playground for Barbara. As a life-long native of the Puget Sound region, she has come to know well the plants, animals and diverse ecosystems of the area. Later in life her curiosity focused on marine environments and intertidal critters. Barbara never misses an opportunity to be out on the water boating; two of her favorite boats are the R/V Thomas G. Thompson (which she spent a weekend on while working as a teaching assistant) and the historic schooner Zodiac (which she has had the fortune to sail on three times). For the past ten years Barbara has been involved with environmental education and outreach with an emphasis on marine and nearshore areas. Barbara completed a BS in Zoology, and later a Master of Marine Affairs with a focus on marine biology, both at the University of Washington. Her graduate thesis focused on marine recreational boaters and fishers and the opportunity to focus Puget Sound outreach and education programs on this important group of constituents. The summer between her years of grad school she was awarded the Magnuson Puget Sound Legacy Fund Internship at People For Puget Sound where she worked with the Habitat Restoration team. She also received several scholarships including one from the Northwest Marine Trade Association. The Seattle Aquarium has employed Barbara as a “captain” for their Beach Naturalist Program for eight years and she is a volunteer for the Cedar River Salmon Journey Program. Most recently, Barbara worked part-time for the Alliance for Puget Sound Shorelines. Barbara lives in West Seattle with her husband with whom she enjoys sea kayaking, walking the beach, rollerblading and sipping their homemade wine.
Office & Finance Manager
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.
Laura is a person with seemingly boundless energy and a deep, abiding passion for our natural environment. For more than 20 years Laura has been actively promoting the beauty and importance of the Puget Sound while working with local educational programs, organizing dozens of education and outreach programs. As a Seattle resident she has become a tireless advocate for the health of Puget Sound. Laura brings unique insight to the problems facing our waterways. As a diver she knows firsthand the consequences of human carelessness. As a citizen scientist she holds the knowledge to support sustainable conservation programs. As a videographer she maintains the tools needed to support public awareness. And as an environmental activist she has the passion needed to shape public opinion. Laura’s passion and diverse talents make her uniquely qualified to promote the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s message. Laura’s education reflects her evolving career path: University of Washington (Pre-Medical), Seattle Central Community College (Surgical Technology), University of Washington (Social Media, Marketing & Communications). Whether she is working with Pacific Marine Research or inspiring public action with her videography in “Beneath the Looking Glass”, Laura is constantly looking for ways to support the health of the Puget Sound. She is equally at home entertaining residents of a retirement facility (bringing the tide pools to them) or while sharing the wonders of a muddy tide flat with a troop of kindergarteners. Laura’s recent 2012 Cox Conservation Hero award is but one of many ways she continues to expand public awareness and help foreground the plight of our threatened ecosystems. By combining the sophistication of multimedia with the hands-on approach of public events, Laura is helping invigorate local conservation initiatives and establishing a very clear sense that we can all make a real difference in our world.
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Board of Directors
Tom Diller, President
Kate Pflaumer, Vice President
Peter Ackroyd, Secretary
Karen Cameron, Treasurer
Eric von Brandenfels