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Staff

Conservation Northwest staff work around Washington State, in Bellingham, Seattle, Kettle Falls, Twisp, and Omak.

Use our online form to contact a staff member

Paul Bannick, major gifts director

Paul Bannick206.675.9747 x 202, pbannick (at) conservationnw.org
Paul Bannick heads up our major gifts program out of Seattle. Paul has worked in major gifts since 2001. Before that, he worked for 15 years in the high tech field, helping grow Aldus into the top force in desktop publishing, then later working with Adobe and Microsoft. An accomplished naturalist and winner of national and international photography awards, Paul has a passion for nature. His first book, The Owl and The Woodpecker, features the natural history of all 41 species of North American owls and woodpeckers and their roles as keystone and indicator species.

Mitch Friedman, executive director

Mitch Friedman. Photo by Amy Gulick360.671.9950 x 113, mitch (at) conservationnw.org
Mitch Friedman never held the same job for longer than a few months prior to founding Conservation Northwest. He has served as executive director since 1989. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Washington and is the father of two. His biography makes for good reading!

Chase Gunnell, communications manager

Chase Gunnell206.675.9747 x 209, cgunnell (at) conservationnw.org
Chase got his start in communications as a reporter and student leader at Washington State University. After college, he coordinated media and outreach events for a statewide political campaign, worked on corporate accounts for Starbucks, and spent several years as a public affairs consultant at Cocker Fennessy in Seattle, where he worked with many Northwest tribes and as a lobbyist in Olympia. Chase grew up hiking, climbing, and hunting in Washington’s wild places, and can often be found fly fishing on a Northwest river with his bird dog, Gillian.

David Heflick, conservation associate

David Heflick509.684.8287, dheflick (at) conservationnw.org
David Heflick graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 1977 with a degree in education. Before becoming actively involved in the environmental movement in 2000, David was a self-employed musician. He is also the author of two books, the latest being a road cycling guidebook for eastern Washington. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, backpacking, bicycling, and wildlife photography. David lives in a log cabin on 20 wooded acres near the Canadian border. He is our mapping and forest resources guru.

Alison Huyett, conservation associate

Alison Huyett206.675.9747 x201, alison (at) conservationnw.org
After finishing her master’s in environmental management at Duke University, Alison found herself drawn to the Pacific Northwest where she gets to play in the mountains and the water. While at Duke, she focused on community-based conservation and human-carnivore conflict, conducting her research with the Snow Leopard Conservancy – India Trust in Ladakh surveying remote Himalayan villages. She also worked as the assistant staff biologist for Rocky Mountain Wild in Denver, CO, on habitat connectivity issues and citizen science programs. In her free time, Alison finds any excuse she can to be out in the mountains either trail running, hiking, climbing, or camping.

Jay Kehne, Okanogan County outreach associate

Jay Kehne509.470.1767, jkehne (at) conservationnw.org
Jay Kehne joined Conservation Northwest after a 31-year career with the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service where he put his wildlife biology and soils degrees to work providing conservation assistance to farmers, ranchers, and landowners in eastern Washington. He served for many years as resource conservation and development coordinator for Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties. Jay lives in Omak with his wonderful wife Rita and two children on six acres overlooking the Okanogan River. He loves to ski, backpack, hike, hunt, raise a big garden, hobby farm, cook, and meet, talk, and share ideas with all kinds of folks.

Joel Litwin, web contractor

Joel Litwin Joel Litwin is a web consultant who came to us after years of working in marketing and sales for the Oceanic Society in San Francisco and Northern Lights Expeditions in Bellingham. He now works for Airporter Shuttle. A former mountain climber, Joel was attracted to the heavily glaciated North Cascades, though he now prefers less life-threatening pursuits. An accomplished professional percussionist, he has played with many groups, including the LA-based Latin band, Incendio.

Chris Clark, development director

Chris Marx206.675.9747 x 204, chris (at) conservationnw.org
Chris heads up our Seattle office and oversees all things fundraising. A lifelong Northwesterner, she’s honed her craft at such organizations as Grist, the University of Washington, and Rosehedge AIDS Housing. Commitment to protecting wildlife and her native landscape drew her to us and her dream job (no kiddin’!) Outside the office, Chris is likely to be found horseback riding, eating tacos, or in a hammock reading zombie novels. We’ll forgive her that last bit.

Jasmine Minbashian, communications director

360.671.9950, ext. 129, jasmine (at) conservationnw.org
Jasmine Minbashian has been working in the field of wildlife and forest conservation for over 17 years, serving as past director of the Northwest Old-Growth Campaign and Pacific Crest Biodiversity Project. She holds a MS in Polar Studies from Cambridge University. She has spent countless hours exploring the forests of the PNW, surveying wildlife and monitoring timber sales, and recently costarred in Land of the Lost Wolves, a BBC film about return of wolves to Washington's Cascades. In her spare time, Minbashian enjoys photography, horseback riding, and backcountry skiing. 

Erin Moore, publications contractor

Erin MooreErin Moore has worked 30 years in publishing, including at the Northwest Passage newspaper in Seattle in the '80s and communication specialist at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in the '90s. She has a master's in forest ecology from the University of Washington, topping a research career in soil microbiology and belowground nutrient dynamics. In her time spent free of the computer, she will be gardening, mushrooming, river kayaking, or backcountry skiing.

Rob Peterka, IT administrator

Erin Moore360.671.9950, ext. 116, rob (at) conservationnw.org
Rob Peterka works part-time overseeing the technology in our offices and satellite locations. With a degree in soil science and environmental management, he focused on forest and wilderness soil survey for about seven years in California, Oregon, and Colorado. His use of GIS and technology ultimately led him down the path of IT management for county government in Colorado. When he's not in the server room at Conservation Northwest, you might find him out skiing, mountain biking, or playing some sax.

Stephanie Pietromonaco, development manager

Stephanie Pietromonaco260.675.9747, ext. 207, stephanie (at) conservationnw.org
A Seattle native, Stephanie completed her BA in Chemistry at Wake Forest University, studied in Venice, Italy, and adventured through New Zealand. She studied skin cancer as a research scientist at UW Medicine before pursuing a career in non-profit development. After working at Rebuilding Together Seattle and Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, Stephanie is particularly excited to work with the wonderful supporters of Conservation Northwest to secure the habitats wildlife need, from wolves to grizzly bears. During her free time, Stephanie enjoys volleyball, dancing, rock climbing, reading, and spending time with her big Italian family.

Pat Roberts, accountant

patroberts2.jpg360.671.9950, ext. 119, proberts (at) conservationnw.org
Pat Roberts grew up surrounded by the scenic wildness of northeast Minnesota. Lured by a photo of Bellingham Bay and Mt. Baker featured on the catalog cover, she enrolled at Western Washington University in 1970. According to Pat, you can take the girl out of Minnesota, but you can't take Minnesota out of the girl - though she certainly doesn't miss swatting mosquitoes or enduring below zero temperatures! An accountant with 25 years experience, she served as fiscal manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters before coming to work for Conservation Northwest. On free weekends you will find her relaxing at her Lake Samish home or out in the woods with her husband, Mike.

Joe Scott, international conservation director

Joe Scott360.671.9950 x 111, jscott (at) conservationnw.org
Joe Scott graduated with a BS in finance from Boston College. Joe has been with Conservation Northwest since 1998 and has managed our British Columbia program for the entirety of his tenure. His work embraces endangered species including mountain caribou and grizzly bears. A coalition effort he helped spearhead, the Mountain Caribou Project, successfully gained a mountain caribou recovery plan from the BC government, protecting more than 5 million acres of caribou habitat in BC's Columbia Mountains. Joe now leads our trans-boundary grizzly bear recovery efforts in southwestern BC, working closely with the Sta'at'imc First Nations.

Julia Spencer, development associate and office manager

360.671.9950 x 110, julia (at) conservationnw.org
Julia SpencerGrowing up on the Olympic Peninsula surrounded by the Olympic Mountains, the ocean, and the incredible rain forests left a strong impression on Julia and a passion for protecting wild landscapes. It may explain the plant jungle she’s created in her office, too! Her interest in protecting our environment led her to gain a BA in environmental policy from Huxley College of the Environment at WWU. Prior to Conservation Northwest she worked at the state legislature and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. For fun, she helps organize the Subdued Stringband Jamboree music festival each August just outside of Bellingham.

Jen Watkins, conservation associate / I-90 Wildlife Bridges Campaign coordinator

Jen Watkins206.675.9747 x 203, jen (at) conservationnw.org
Jen Watkins began working with Conservation Northwest in 2001 as part of the outreach team for The Cascades Conservation Partnership. She continues to work on connectivity issues in the Central Cascades with the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition and with our national forests program on the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests. Jen graduated from the University of Washington’s College of Forest Resources and has a strong interest in community collaborations and wildlife connectivity.

Dave Werntz, science and conservation director

Dave Werntz360.671.9950 x 114, dwerntz (at) conservationnw.org
Dave Werntz is a forest ecologist long involved in Pacific Northwest conservation efforts. Originally introduced to wilderness in the northern Great Lakes region, Dave quickly recognized the global importance of large wild landscapes and their remnant populations of lynx, grizzly, and wolf in Washington's Cascade Mountains. He is also an expert at calling spotted owls.

George Wooten, conservation associate

George Wooten509.997.6010, gwooten (at) conservationnw.org
George Wooten came to Twisp, Washington, to discover wild nature, only to find it being systematically dismantled by resource extraction. With a background in botany, computers and chemistry, George worked for 10 years with the Okanogan National Forest on grizzly bear habitat evaluation, research natural areas protection, and timber sale evaluations for wildlife habitat. After fighting in the 1994 fires, George left the agency to work as a consultant on projects including roadless mapping, wetlands delineation, surveys for legal challenges to unsound developments, K-12 teacher education, and wildfire behavior mapping. He also teaches local community college courses in computer applications and botany.

Abbey, Bellingham hospitality coordinatorAbbey

Abbey has been helping out in the Bellingham office since she was eight weeks old. The staff rely on Abbey for relaxation, fun, and her warm, affectionate greetings. Abbey especially enjoys Conservation Northwest field trips and hikes, and is an expert at tracking, wilderness exploration, edible grass identification, and sniffing for voles and other small rodents.

Lucy, office friendLucy

Friendly Boston terrier Lucy spends a lot of her time inside the Seattle office and outside in the Cascades! She has more energy than all the rest of us put together, and reminds us regularly that directed action can be very fruitful.

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