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Our staff work around Washington state and into southern British Columbia, including a main office in Seattle and field offices in Bellingham, Spokane and Twisp. Conservation Northwest field staff and contractors also live and work in Olympia, Omak, Chewelah, Vancouver, Whistler and Lillooet, British Columbia.

Our staff work around Washington state and into southern British Columbia, including a main office in Seattle and field offices in Bellingham, Spokane and Twisp. 

Conservation Northwest field staff and contractors also live and work in Olympia, Omak, Chewelah, Vancouver, Whistler and Lillooet, British Columbia.

Learn about our staff and contractors working on the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative, mountain caribou recovery and other conservation efforts in British Columbia


CNW Staff 2016

The Conservation Northwest team at our 2016 Staff Retreat in Okanogan County. 
Jeff Baierlein, Chief Operating Officer
Jeff Baierlein web headshot

206.675.9747 x 204, jeff (at)
Jeff brings to Conservation Northwest 26 years of experience with environmental and wilderness organizations. His background is in nonprofit leadership, fundraising, education and advocacy, including serving as Executive Director of the Hoh River Trust; connecting, protecting and restoring wildlife habitat on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. He also led wilderness-based programs as Executive Director with both Outward Bound and the Boojum Institute. Jeff has served on the Washington State Governor’s Task Force on Environmental Education and on several nonprofit boards. He has undergraduate degrees in Environmental Education and Human Development from Prescott College and a Master’s of Science in Management from Antioch University.

Paul Bannick, Major Gifts Director

Paul Bannick206.675.9747 x 202, pbannick (at)
Paul 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.

Laurel Baum, Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project Coordinator

Laurel Baum 206.675.9747 x 201, lbaum (at)
Laurel received her B.S. in Environmental Science with a focus in Conservation Restoration Ecology from University of Washington Bothell. She has been a volunteer for five years with the Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project and is excited to be involved on a new level as the Project Coordinator. Having a passion for botany, she has collected data as a forest research tech with Oregon State University on a project studying secondary succession in Northwest forests, and spent two summers on Mount St. Helens studying primary succession and physiological traits of the plant community. Laurel is also an active volunteer with King County Search and Rescue, an instructor with the Everett Mountaineers Basic Climbing Course, and an equestrian.

Natalie Doerr, Foundation Relations Managernataliedoerrwebheadshot

206.675.9747 x 206, ndoerr (at)
Natalie loves to combine her passions for biology and writing, so she was thrilled to join Conservation Northwest to manage the team’s grant writing and foundation relations efforts. Natalie has a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology and a BA in English literature. She previously worked as a grant writer for an orthopedic research group in Seattle. She has published many scientific articles on wildlife, and her research on bowerbirds has been featured in National Geographic, Science Daily, and BBC One Planet. She lives in Redmond and enjoys cooking, gardening, and filming her husband’s skateboarding exploits.

Mitch Friedman, Executive Director

Mitch Friedman 2016360.671.9950 x 113, mitch (at)
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 Director


206.675.9747 x 209, chase (at)
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 Coffee Company, 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, mountaineering, and hunting in Washington’s wild places, and can often be found fishing with his bird dog, Gillian. In his spare time, Chase is an active volunteer on public lands, salmon, and steelhead conservation issues.

Heather Hutchison, Membership Associate and Public Lands Defense Organizer

Heather H web

206.675.9747 x 124, hhutchison (at)
After growing up in the Midwest, going to school in Washington, D.C., and living abroad in Ecuador for five years, Heather joins Conservation Northwest as a recent arrival to the Pacific Northwest. With a background in socio-environmental issues and experience in field organizing and advocacy work, Heather is eager to contribute her energy and passion to Conservation Northwest’s mission and goals as Membership Associate. When not working to save Pachamama (Mother Earth), she can be found exploring her many newfound hobbies, including backpacking, rock climbing, hiking, and skiing, and taking in as much of the PNW’s beauty as possible.

Matt Johnson, IT Administrator
Matt Johnson

mjohnson (at)
Matt has extensive professional experience and education in information technology systems and electronics. After realizing both the deplorable status that non-human animals hold in modern society and the constant degradation of the environment by humanity, he decided to apply his training to solving these problems by working for a world class non-profit, Conservation Northwest. Matt also has experience as a volunteer for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Howling For Wolves, is trained as a Minnesota Master Naturalist, and worked on a successful campaign to limit pesticide use in Minneapolis, among many other conservation-related activities.

Jay Kehne, Conservation Associate, Range Rider Project manager
Jay Kehne

509.470.1767, jkehne (at)
Jay 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.

Alaina Kowitz, Communications and Outreach Associatealainaheadshot
206.675.9747 x 210, alaina (at)

Alaina received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at Gonzaga University and has since crossed the Cascades to live in the rain. She grew up backpacking, hanging out in the backwoods of her family’s property in Northeast Washington, and enduring lessons from her dad on native plant species (but has since come to deeply appreciate botany). Alaina is excited to combine her love of the written word and her passion for wild things in her work. In her free time she can be found reading, exploring the Pacific Northwest hiking scene, or attempting to knit a wearable pair of socks.

Tiana Luke, Conservation Associate, Colville Forest field staff
Tiana Luke
360.901.9548, tiana (at)

Tiana received her B.S. in Biology from Western Washington University and a M.S. in Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. Most recently, Tiana served as a forester/botanist/GIS specialist with an environmental consulting firm near Spokane. She joined the non-profit sector when it became apparent the for-profit model didn't align with her values. In her work, Tiana strives to use science as the driving force behind her decisions and opinions, while seeking to acknowledge and understand the opinions of others. Tiana lives in northeast Washington with her family, including two dogs, and enjoys spending time in the woods, on the water and in the garden.

Maureen McGregor, Development Associate and Office Manager
Maureen McGregor website
206.675.9747 x 129, maureen (at)

Hailing from Texas, Illinois, Colorado and New Zealand, Maureen found her home in Washington after completing an M.A. in Environment & Community at Antioch University in 2011. As Development Associate and Office Manager, Maureen is thrilled to extend her hospitality and passion to welcome you into the Conservation Northwest community. Outside of the Seattle office, you can find Maureen homesteading, enjoying all the natural beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer, and engaging in a number of community events and activities.

Joe Scott, International Programs Director
Joe Scott 2016360.671.9950 x 111, jscott (at)

Joe 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 the North Cascades and southwestern BC, working closely with the Sta'at'imc First Nations and other conservation partners.

Jay Shepherd, Conservation Associate, Northeast Washington
Jshepherdweb208.420.7832, jshepherd (at)

Jay has a long history in wildlife research and management with state and federal agencies in western north America, most recently immersed in wolf recovery and reducing wildlife conflicts in northeast Washington. Jay grew up in Walla Walla, Washington where he worked on his family’s wheat farm and cattle ranch into his twenties. As a biologist, Jay worked with amphibians, ungulates, predators, seabirds and raptors, as well as shrub-steppe and old-growth forest habitat. Dr. Shepherd has a B.S. in Wildlife Resources, a M.S. in Wildlife Biology, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho. Jay loves the landscape and people of Northeastern Washington.

Paula Swedeen, Carnivore Policy Lead

Paula SwedeenPaula Sweeden is Conservation Northwest’s part-time, contracted Carnivore Policy Lead working out of Olympia. She represents us on wildlife policy issues at the state capitol and beyond, including wolf conservation, Canada lynx, grizzly, fisher, wolverine, cougars, and other forest carnivores. Paula has worked on habitat conservation issues around the Pacific Northwest for 24 years and even served on Conservation Northwest’s board in the early ‘90s. She worked for 12 years as a wildlife biologist and endangered species policy analyst with WDFW and DNR, and now serves on Washington’s Forest Practices Board and the citizen Wolf Advisory Board. Her recent work involves creating markets and ecosystem service payments to incentivize better habitat conditions on private lands where the regulatory reach is limited. Paula has a B.S. in Biology from Indiana University, a Masters of Environmental Studies and Political Science from Western Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Ecological Economics from the Union Institute.

Jen Watkins, Conservation Associate, I-90 Wildlife Corridor coordinator
JenWatkins2015webheadshot206.675.9747 x 203, jen (at)

Jen 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 Werntz360.319.9949, dwerntz (at)

Dave 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, Okanogan Forest field staff
George Wooten509.997.6010, gwooten (at)

George 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.

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.

Gillian, Chief birdwatcherGillian

Often found in our Seattle office on Fridays, Gillian has a keen nose for anything with wings and an appetite for elk scat. She loves assisting with our Gold Creek habitat restoration parties and is skilled at digging holes for native plants and shrubs. Gillian also enjoys bushwhacking into the backcountry to help check wildlife monitoring cameras, though she believes we’re wasting wolverine lure by not letting her roll in it.

In addition to our full- and part-time staff, we employ contractors, scientists, foresters and field technicians to further our work for a wilder Northwest. 

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