Board & Advisory Council
Board of Directors
Superintendent, Bellingham Public Schools, Bellingham, WA
Dr. Greg Baker became superintendent of Bellingham Public Schools in July 2010. In 2014, Dr. Baker earned Washington state’s Crystal Apple Award, presented to an individual who has given tirelessly of themselves to enhance positive stakeholder perceptions of K-12 public schools. Prior to Bellingham, he served as a deputy superintendent for Portland Public Schools, as an intern and special assistant to the superintendent of Boston Public Schools and as an administrator for Spokane Public Schools. Dr. Baker received his doctorate from Harvard University; a master’s degree in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University; and a master’s degree in secondary education from Western Washington University. He and his wife live in Bellingham with their three children.
Administrative Judge, Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, Seattle, WA
Zimmie Caner grew up in the Pacific Northwest. After earning her bachelor's from William Smith College and graduating law school at Seattle University, Zimmie served as an assistant attorney general with a focus on health care. She later came to preside over health care cases as an administrative law judge. Throughout her career, Zimmie has volunteered for environmental, educational, and civil rights non-profit organizations, and has served on a number of non-profit boards. Zimmie joined the Board because she wants to help the Institute’s programs reach a greater number of children and adults, and to nurture future stewards of the northwest wilderness and environment. When Zimmie is not working, she is usually out gardening or biking in town, but her happiest moments are spent in the mountains hiking and skiing with family and friends.
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington (retired), Seattle, WA
Sterling Clarren was born in Minneapolis. After undergraduate years at Yale University and Medical School at the University of Minnesota, Sterling came to Seattle for residency and fellowship training at the University of Washington. He stayed on at the University to become the Aldrich Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Developmental Medicine and Director of Inpatient Medicine at Children’s Hospital. As a researcher and teacher, the role of outdoor education in facilitating physical health, mental wellbeing and a wilderness protection fascinates Sterling. He chairs the Program Evaluation and Assessment Committee with the Institute. Ever since his first experiences in the Institute’s Adult Programs in the late 1980s, Sterling has admired the way the organization encourages learners of all ages to love of the natural world. In his free time, he takes every opportunity to hike, camp, fish, write poetry and enjoy the mountains with his wife, family and friends.
North Cascades National Park (retired), Marblemount, WA
Gerry Cook grew up in the rural foothills of the North Cascades and fell in in love early with the high country. After his bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Washington State University, Gerry returned to Marblemount for summer work in the North Cascades, first with the U.S. Forest Service and later as a National Park Service fire lookout. He developed skills in construction and design, and helped to establish many of the architectural themes used in shelters, boardwalks, and installations across North Cascades National Park. Gerry has been on the Institute’s board for many years, and he serves on the Program Evaluation and Assessment Committee. He has been greatly inspired by the Institute’s ability to foster stewardship in people of all ages, color and orientation through exposure to wilderness. Now retired after 44 years of public service in the North Cascades, Gerry lives in the house he built in Marblemount as a young gallery owner and potter. While he craves the snow and the possibility of venturing out on his skis, Gerry will happily settle for a hike or a bike ride.
President, American Alpine Institute, Bellingham, WA
Dean, Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
Steve Hollenhorst has served as the Dean for Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University since 2012. Prior to that he was a faculty member at the University of Idaho, where he served as Associate Dean of the College of Natural Resources, Chair of the Department of Conservation Social Sciences, founding director of the University’s award-winning Building Sustainable Communities Initiative and founding director of the McCall Outdoor Science School. He was also director of the University of Idaho's Park Studies Unit, a branch of the National Park Service Social Science Program, as well as co-editor of the international academic journal Society and Natural Resources. Prior to the University of Idaho, he was a professor and program coordinator in the Division of Forestry at Western Virginia University. He is the founder and first executive director of the West Virginia Land Trust.
Freelance Writer, Seattle, WA
Peter Hardin Jackson is a freelance scribe. He has most recently written for Crosscut.com and served as the editorial page editor at The Daily Herald in Everett, WA. For five consecutive years, he has won awards for online commentary or editorial writing from the NW chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He most recently won the Dolly Connelly Excellence in Environmental Journalism award. In the 2000s, Jackson worked as a speechwriter for Governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire. He was a VISTA Volunteer in Port Townsend, WA, and served for 8 years as a Commissioner on the Washington Commission for National and Community Service. Jackson sits on the Advisory Board of the University of Washington Center for Human Rights, an entity he helped create through an act of the Washington Legislature in 2009. He was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from St. Albans School and Georgetown University. Jackson and his wife, Laurie Werner, live in Seattle.
|Nan McKay (Chair)
Consultant/Service Corps Director, 501 Commons, Seattle, WA
Nan McKay grew up in Indiana and moved to the Northwest in 1971. In her early career, Nan developed and led the Environmental Sustainability Program for the Russell Family Foundation, managing 350 grants for 160 nonprofit organizations. She also provided critical leadership for three Washington governors as Chair of the Puget Sound Action Team and Director of the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority. Her contributions led to consulting work for Washington and Oregon local governments on issues including growth management, energy policy and juvenile justice. Today Nan works as Service Corps Director for 501 Commons in Seattle and chairs the Northwest Straits Marine Resources Commission. Nan also chairs the Board and the Resources Development Committee for the Institute. A lifelong believer in the power of nature-based education, she is eager to give young people opportunities to learn leadership skills. She lives with her partner Howard Berglund in Seattle, where she enjoys the arts, cooking and gardening.
Partner, Lenati, Seattle, WA
Martin Mehalchin was raised in the Colorado Rockies and received a BA in International Affairs from University of Colorado. After earning his MBA at Cornell University and working as a consultant, Martin came to Seattle 11 years ago as a partner with Lenati, a Seattle-based marketing strategy firm. Inspired by the Institute’s work in the community, Martin began offering some pro-bono marketing advice, which ultimately led him to his joining the Board in 2013. He now chairs the Marketing Committee and is proud to collaborate with an organization that has pioneered a multidisciplinary approach to conserving and protecting natural environments through education. In his free time, Martin travels near and far, always trying to get outdoors as much as possible with his family.
|Stan Miller (Treasurer)
Vice President of Finance, McNett Corporation, Bellingham, WA
Stan Miller was raised in Iowa, but teenage exposure to the Rockies and Sierra Nevada in adolescence ensured mountains would be in his future. He settled in Northern California for a time before coming to Bellingham to obtain his accounting degree from Western Washington University. His public accounting career spanned more than a dozen years, focusing on the nonprofit niche with Seattle's office of Moss Adams LLP. Since his subsequent work as CFO for a number of different businesses in the Northwest, Stan now serves part-time as VP of Finance for the McNett Corporation. Stan joined the board in 2009, drawn by the quality of learning and leadership at the Institute. He serves as the Board's Treasurer and chairs the Finance and Audit Committees. In another part of his life, Stan excels as a luthier with a passion for building handcrafted mandolins, a talent developed over many years. And though his climbing days are behind him, he still enjoys getting out into the North Cascades whenever he can.
|Jeanne Muir (Past Chair)
Principal, Urban Relations, Seattle, WA
Jeanne Muir holds a Masters in Business Administration in both Marketing and Finance and was a senior manager at Paccar, Inc. for a decade. She founded Urban Relations (formerly known as Muir Public Relations) in 1992 and has worked with both private developers and public agencies from Seattle to San Francisco. She served on the Fremont Chamber of Commerce Board for 18 years and assisted Capitol Hill form a new Chamber in 2007. Jeanne has a deep passion for communities, the environment, public art, and building design issues, and manages projects involving multi-use buildings, land use codes, and community involvement in major construction projects.
|Byron Ricks (Secretary)
Manager, Microsoft, Carnation, WA
Byron is a content lead for new cloud technologies at Microsoft and a nationally recognized author, speaker and adventurer. His work has received three Communication Arts Awards and an International Distinguished Award by the Society for Technical Communications. Byron’s book, Homelands: Kayaking the Inside Passage, and assignments for such magazines as National Geographic Adventure have taken him kayaking from Alaska to Seattle, dog sledding in Alaska’s Brooks Range and paddling among the colossal icebergs off Newfoundland. He is a graduate of Grinnell College. Byron believes that direct experience with wild places can be enriching and transformative, and he is committed to sharing these opportunities with others. In addition to serving as Board Secretary on the Executive Committee, Byron chairs the Governance Committee, which defines board responsibilities and manages board recruitment. In his spare time, Byron's skill with the accordion comes in handy when he and his wife host Soundfalls, a show of live performance in the Snoqualmie Valley. He also aims to keep his surf ski upright during the annual Ski to Sea race in Bellingham.
Vice President, Cascade Designs, Seattle, WA
|Thomas Lowe Fleischner, PhD
Prescott College, AZ
|Art Kruckeberg, PhD
Professor of Botany (Emeritus), University of Washington
|Estella Leopold, PhD
Professor of Botany, University of Washington
Author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific West Region, National Park Service
|Robert Michael Pyle, PhD
Author, Conservationist and Lepidopterist
Director, Pacific Northwest Region, National Park Service (retired)