Bainbridge Island Land Trust - Working together to protect the Island's natural resources
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The Bainbridge Island Land Trust protects and preserves private property as well as acquires land for parks and trails.
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The Bainbridge Island Land Trust protects and preserves private property as well as acquires land for parks and trails.

BILT Board and Staff

A 15-member Board of Directors governs the Land Trust. Our Board is an engaged and hard-working group who represents the many different facets of the Bainbridge Island Community.

Our staff includes our Executive Director, Jane Stone, who joined the Land Trust in 2014. Laura O'Mara joined BILT in 2003 and oversees the Membership and Fundraising program. Conservation Director, Brenda Padgham, has been with BILT since the fall of 2006. Becca Nissley is our AmeriCorps Volunteer Associate. Avery Bowron joined the staff in January 2015 as the Stewardship Coordinator. In addition, Martha Monkman of the Number Factory is BILT's contract bookkeeper.

Bill Booth
Bill Booth

Bill Booth became a conservationist when he married Beatrice. She taught him things from her oceanographic disciplines, for example: carrying capacity of land and water for micro-organisms and humans; the benefit of spiritual rejuvenation in wilderness; the role of philanthropy in conservation action. He applied some of these ideas in designing buildings that are efficient in use of non-renewable energy sources, and being very involved through the 1970s in start-up non-profit conservation organizations. Finally in the 1990s he focused his energy on The Trust for  Public Land, because the benefits of acquiring land for people seemed so tangible and permanent.  Since moving permanently to Bainbridge Island in 2011 (they had been summer residents since 1972) he wanted to apply the same goals to the B I Land Trust.
Bill Eckel
Bill Eckel

Bill is a native of the Midwest and attended the University of Notre Dame in Physics and the University of Illinois in Urban and Regional Planning.  After grad school, he moved to Ballard he lived for two decades before buying land on Bainbridge, almost 20 years ago. Bill's career has been at King County, developing and managing programs in salmon recovery, storm water management, wetlands protection, groundwater management, ecological/resource land acquisition and management, farm and forest preservation, noxious weed management, and environmental education. He has also managed a small, Group A, water system on the Island.  Bill is semi-retired and enjoys vegetable and landscape gardening.  His daughter is a post-doc biostatictician at the USC Department of Preventative Medicine.   
David Harrison
David Harrison, President

David is a senior lecturer at the Evans School of Public Affairs at UW. He is also founder and coordinator of Strategies to Eliminate Poverty, a grant-making program seeking to reduce the extent and severity of poverty in the NW. For the academic school year, he will serve as director of the Nancy Bell Evans Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy. David is one of the organizers of Skill-Up Washington and is a member of their Executive Committee. Skill-Up WA is a new collaborative in King County sponsored by several foundations and companies, as well as local and state government. Skill-Up WA strives to double, and then redouble, the number of low income, under-skilled working adults in King County who are seeking a post-secondary education credential. David has held many other positions related to education and workforce development, including serving as a member of the Bainbridge Island School Board for several years. He and his wife, Cynthia, live on Bainbridge Island and have two grown sons.
Hilary Hilscher
Hilary Hilscher

Grateful to have lived many years in her native Alaska, Hilary now resides happily in the Banana Belt of the Pacific Northwest. Her first 20-year career included radio, TV, and print journalism; government and industry public relations; writing books, newsletters, and technical manuals. Her second 23+years have focused on environmental communications and fund-raising: as staff for the Nature Conservancy offices in Alaska and Washington state, and for Audubon Washington; and volunteering for birding, open space, and land-protection programs. Hilary holds a bachelor's in journalism and a Master's in management. She and husband Neil Johannsen moved to the island in 1998. When not involved with the Bainbridge Public Library board, Friends of the Library, Bainbridge Museum of Art, and Hearing Loss Association of Washington, she's probably at yoga, or hiking, biking, reading, and traveling.
John Hough
John Hough

John Hough is a public relations and marketing professional with a strong interest in conservation.  He has served as CEO, then Chairman, of Rockey Hill & Knowlton, and earlier as Executive VP, Director of Marketing and member of the management team at First Interstate Bank of Washington.  Hough has also served in various capacities in the administration of Idaho Governor Cecil D. Andrus including chief of staff.  When Andrus was appointed Secretary of the Interior, Hough served as a member of the Northwest Salmon Fisheries Task Force appointed by President Carter to assist in the implementation of Indian Treaty fishing rights.  Hough has also served on numerous boards and commissions including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Seattle Art Museum trustees; the boards of regents of both Gonzaga and Seattle Universities; Seattle Chamber of Commerce trustees and as a director of the William Ruckelshaus Public Policy Consensus Center of the University of Washington and Washington State University.  John joined the board in late 2012 by appointment to complete the first term of Kathy Haskin (Kathy’s term ends 2/2013).
Erin Kellogg
Erin Kellogg, Secretary

Erin is an experienced conservation nonprofit manager, having served as Vice President for Ecotrust Canada in Vancouver, BC and Director of Policy and Communications for Ecotrust in Portland, OR. She has worked on environmental issues in resource-dependent communities from Astoria, Oregon to Cordova, Alaska with coalitions of First Nations, scientists, policymakers and community groups. Erin's passion for the environment began out the back door of her childhood home in Connecticut, where she roamed the largest tract of undeveloped land between Boston and New York.  After graduating from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, she migrated west in search of ever larger expanses of wilderness, eventually landing in the Pacific Northwest. She has lived on Bainbridge Island since 2001, where she enjoys exploring the island's parks and waters on foot and by kayak with her husband and two young children.
Lew Mandell
Lew Mandell

Lew is an economist who specializes in the financial behavior of consumers.  An island resident since 2006, Lew and his wife Nancy live on Point White Drive.  He is Professor Emeritus of Finance and Managerial Economics and former Dean of the Business School at SUNY-Buffalo and served as the Kermit Hanson Professor of Finance at the University of Washington from 2008 to 2011.  Lew teaches and lectures throughout the world and is a consultant to the World Bank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  His 22nd book What to Do When I Get Stupid just came out.
Jan Mulder
Jan Mulder, Vice President

Jan is an environmental and land use planner who has practiced in both the public and private sectors throughout Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska. For the past 10 years, she worked as a Seattle-based consultant conducting land use and regulatory review, permitting, and environmental impact assessment. Jan is a co-founder of a nonprofit filmmaking organization that has been engaged by Olympic National Park to produce a series of films documenting the Elwha dam removal and river restoration process. She is delighted to be managing this project and to be based on Bainbridge Island for the first time since arriving here with her spouse, Greg Bedinger, on New Year's Eve 1989. Jan has lived in Winslow since 1999 and is currently co-chair of the Land Trust's Stewardship Committee.
Matt Otepka
Matt Otepka

Shortly after moving to the Island in 2006, Matt and his wife Sara welcomed their first child. It was during his first year of parenthood that Matt became familiar with the Land Trust as it seemed the only time his infant son would sleep was after he had been strapped to a parent and walked through the woods. Since then, Matt and Sara have crisscrossed the Island many times, often on Land Trust trails with a kid on their back. These first family walks on Land Trust properties made it clear to Matt that he was someplace special and convinced him to lend a hand. Soon, Matt was helping the Land Trust Communications Committee with quarterly newsletters and annual reports until a two-year work project for Sara took them to Europe. Upon their return to the Island in 2012, Matt remained at home with the kids and did not immediately return to his previous career in public relations and marketing for high-tech companies. Today, Matt is building a company on Bainbridge focused on up-cycling electronic waste to create new technologies for businesses and consumers. When he's not with family or friends hiking the Island or digging in the garden, Matt prefers stalking trout with a fly rod in hand.
Barb Robert
Barb Robert, Treasurer

Barbara, a lifelong resident of Washington, moved to Bainbridge Island in 2004 with her husband, Leon.  Now retired, Barbara was a CPA and Certified Internal Auditor who spent many years in the Accounting, Internal Audit, Finance, and Treasury departments of major local businesses including Bank of America, Washington Mutual, Safeco Insurance and Microsoft.  Barbara was enthused with the concept of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and became involved when asked to head up the "May Day at Hilltop" event, and to join the Finance Committee.  Barb enjoys traveling, bicycling, skiing, gardening, and walking in Fort Ward Park with Leon and their children, grandchildren, and granddogs.
John van den Meerendonk
John van den Meerendonk


John has been a resident of BainbridgeIsland since 1984.  From 1985 through 1990, he was the Horticultural and Grounds Superintendent at the Bloedel Reserve and he still volunteers there for plant i.d. walks.  Presently, John works with Botanica, Inc., a landscape consulting, design and installation company that he founded it 1990.  John has been a teacher and lecturer in the Plant Sciences and has also been involved for many years with the Hardy Fern Foundation and continues to serve on their board. He has served on the B.I. Forestry Commission as well and recently John joined the board of Seapix, a new foundation focused on the use of media and film in the public education of the marine environment of the Pacific Northwest.  Johnís interests are all  things of the natural world, agricultural systems and travel.
Deb Rudnick
Deb Rudnick

Deb Rudnick is an ecologist and has lived on Bainbridge for the past decade. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Brown University. Deb has fifteen years of professional experience in stream, wetland and estuarine ecology and ecological risk assessment. She has worked across many ecosystems throughout several areas of North America for a variety of private, non-profit, and government institutions and agencies in research, risk assessment, and natural resource management positions. She has chaired the Bainbridge Island Watershed Council and manages the Council's salmon monitoring and conservation programs. She serves as vice-chair of the Bainbridge Island Environmental Technical Advisory Committee that advises City staff and Council on environmental programs including the local shoreline and critical areas ordinances. She sits on the BILT Stewardship Committee and is the lead steward for Meig's Park and Farm.  Deb is married to Rob Ast, an emergency physician with Harrison Hospital, and they have one daughter and a silly boxer dog, Henri, who are both seven years old. 
Gene Seligmann
Gene Seligmann

Gene has lived on Bainbridge Island, including several years in North Kitsap, over 40 years.   Before moving here in 1972, he had been an annual visitor to the Island with family and friends.  Recently retired from his full time "small town" law practice in Seattle, he continues to represent long-time clients from his home.  While in practice in Seattle, Gene was a Trustee of the King County Bar Association and trustee and officer of the King County Bar Foundation.  Over the years, Gene has also represented property owners on the Island in a variety of transactions including transfers involving the Land Trust.  He loves to walk the trails on Bainbridge; his growing awareness of the impact of the passage of time on the Island has sparked his interest in participating in the good works of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.
Ray Victurine
Ray Victurine

Ray is the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Business and Conservation Initiative, which he launched in 2007.   The program engages with industry, governments and other stakeholders to explore innovative approaches to balance conservation and development interests through design and implementation of best practices aimed at reducing and compensating for impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.  Ray also directs WCS's Conservation Finance Program which focuses on the development of sustainable financing mechanisms that contribute to positive biodiversity conservation and sustainability outcomes.  Ray serves on the Boards of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, the Conservation Finance Alliance, and has been active with organizations engaged with the carbon market.   He is also a member of the Biodiversity and Livelihood Advisory Committee for Total Uganda.   He is trained as a natural resource economist, and has worked on conservation and sustainable development issues in Africa, Asia, and Latin America for more than 30 years. Ray has lived on Bainbridge Island with his wife and two children since 2000.  He served for several years on the City's Community Forestry Commission and with other Commission members created a Community Forestry Strategy that was delivered to the City. He now lives downtown in the new Grow Community.
Connie Waddington
Connie Waddington

Connie is excited to return to the Land Trust. Her passion for land conservation started with the campaign to save the GrandForest which led to her first term with the Land Trust.  She went on to serve on the boards of the Kitsap Open Space, Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition and the city's Open Space Commission. One of her favorite activities was to help develop and participate in the Nature Mapping program for the Bainbridge Island School District which introduced 5th and 6th graders to the concept of being volunteer scientists and stewards.  Her family, husband Bill and son Scott, moved to the Island in 1986. She has a degree in biology and worked in medical research before starting her second career in land protection. Connie and Bill can be found fishing for halibut, salmon and crab on most summer weekends.
Jane Stone
Jane Stone, Executive Director

Jane Myers Stone first arrived on Bainbridge Island in 1984.  At that time there were few truly public open spaces but thousands of acres of private undeveloped land that were used as de facto parks.  She recalls attending one of the first organizational meetings of the Land Trust and was later involved with both the board or projects committee from 1997 through 2007.  She's excited to return to the Land Trust, which has truly "grown-up" to become a successful conserver of the Island's beautiful places, for the benefit of all.  As a geotechnical engineer who has practiced on Bainbridge for over 28 years, she has seen dramatic changes to our local landscape.  Look for Jane on the island's many trail systems; fishing, backpacking or skiing in the mountains; and enjoying a home grown meal from the garden.
Brenda Padgham
Brenda Padgham, Conservation Director

Brenda brings over 27 years of natural resource, community engagement and public relations experience to the Land Trust through her involvement with a number of non-profit, state and local organizations and agencies including the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, local and state Audubon Societies, the Watershed Information Center in Yakima, and more. Brenda joined the Land Trust in 2006. Working with landowners, volunteers and the community, Brenda oversees the Land Trust's Stewardship Program, which helps ensure protected properties retain their conservation values - forever. She also is involved in major initiatives of the Land Trust such as new acquisitions, restoration projects and conservation planning. Brenda is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, with the past 23 years spent in Washington. She lives on the Island and constantly explores the rivers, mountains, coastlines and more of the PNW with her son James, her dog Homer, and friends and family.
Laura O'Mara
Laura O'Mara, Membership Director

Laura feels entirely fortunate to work with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust--the Board, Staff and Members are a remarkable group. Having worked for a number of non-profits in paid and volunteer roles, she joined the Land Trust staff at the urging of a BILT member as the last of her three children entered 1st grade. Laura frequents Island trails with her husband, children, dog and friends--always in awe of the great physical beauty that surrounds us. She continually works with native plant restoration on her family's South-end property and plans to reside on the Island forever.
Avery Bowron
Avery Bowron, Stewardship Coordinator

Avery is joining the Stewardship team at BILT after two years of ecological restoration work with EarthCorps and a summer of noxious weed control work with King County.  In his spare time, Avery enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, unnecessarily cooking everything from scratch and learning more about the flora, fauna, and fungi of the Pacific Northwest.  Avery earned a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from Macalester College, and a certificate in Wetland Science and Management from the University of Washington.  Growing up in Olympia, Washington and spending time in the wilderness gave him a love of nature and need to spend time outdoors.  In college, Avery learned to love cities, too, and to see them as integral to solving many of the environmental challenges we face as a society, but has been troubled by the idea that we must escape from the city to immerse ourselves in nature.  He believes that to build a truly sustainable future, it's crucial we find ways to make cities more livable and learn to see them as interconnected parts of our natural environment.  Avery will have the primary responsibility of working closely with conservation easement landowners and volunteer land stewards to oversee the ongoing stewardship of easement properties, and he will have an active role assisting with restoration and conservation initiatives of the Land Trust.
Becca Nissley
Becca Nissley, AmeriCorps Stewardship and Volunteer Associate

Becca relocated from Reading, Pennsylvania to western Washington in 2012, where she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and full-time staff coordinating and leading environmental programs at the Dungeness River Audubon Center in Sequim. She holds a B.S.E. in Biology Education from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and is continually interested in environmental education and stewardship. On weekends she can usually be found hiking, biking, and birding the forests and shorelines of the West Sound and Olympic Peninsula. She is very pleased to have the privilege of residing on Bainbridge Island, which offers plenty of places to enjoy the incredible cultural and natural resources of the Pacific Northwest.
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