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Our staff work around Washington state and into southern British Columbia, including two main offices in Bellingham and Seattle. Conservation Northwest field staff and contractors also live in Olympia, Twisp, Omak, Orient, Vancouver and Whistler, working throughout Washington and British Columbia.

Our staff work around Washington state and into southern British Columbia, including two main offices in Bellingham and Seattle. 

Conservation Northwest field staff and contractors also live in Olympia, Twisp, Omak, Orient, Vancouver and Whistler, working throughout Washington and British Columbia.

CNW staff photo 2015

The Conservation Northwest team at our September 2015 staff retreat. Photo: Paul Bannick
Jeff Baierlein, Development and Communications Director
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.

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. Photo by Amy Gulick360.671.9950 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!

Nina Gruber, Auction Coordinator
Nina Gruber headshot

206.675.9747 x 207, nina (at)
Nina is a desert child whose love for the land grew in the fertile Sonoran Desert. By working on urban and rural farms, trekking through diverse landscapes, and eating her way across cultures, Nina has landed in Seattle to combine all her favorite activities. Building on her interdisciplinary degree from NYU focused on our relationship with our land as expressed by food and environmentalism, Nina was previously our Special Events Intern working on our 2015 auction. She is now planning our 2016 Hope for a Wild Future Auction and Dinner. She hopes to continue to celebrate our connection with the wild lands of the Pacific Northwest through events and fundraising.

Chase Gunnell, Deputy 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 on a Northwest river with his bird dog, Gillian. In his spare time, Chase is an active volunteer on salmon and steelhead conservation issues.

Aleah Jaeger, Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project Coordinator and Membership Associate
Aleah Jaeger headshot web

206.675.9747 x 201, aleah (at)
Aleah received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Sociology from Whitman College. A Eugene native with a lifelong passion for wildlife conservation, she grew up backpacking, mountain climbing with her dad, kayaking and biking in the San Juan Islands, and cross country skiing at Mount Bachelor. She interned with Conservation Northwest and worked as a contractor for the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition before taking on her current role coordinating the Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project. She is thrilled to be working with, and learning from, the Conservation Northwest staff once again. In her free time, she can be found hiking, tirelessly looking for orcas, attempting to play guitar, and practicing French.

Jay Kehne, Conservation Associate, Range Rider Pilot 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.

Juhi LaFuente, Membership Assistant
360.671.9950 x 115, juhi (at)

Juhi works as a membership assistant in the Bellingham Office. She currently attends WWU pursuing a BS in Marine Ecology from Huxley College of the Environment. Throughout high school Juhi was highly involved at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. The knowledge she gained and the interactions she had through volunteering influenced her decision to major in marine ecology. With her degree she would like to continue to help educate and inspire people to care about the ocean. In her free time, Juhi enjoys spending as much time outdoors as possible. She loves backpacking and tidepooling on the Olympic Peninsula.

Joel Litwin

Joel Litwin, Web contractor

Joel 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.

Jenni Minier, Grizzly Bear Outreach CoordinatorJenni Minier web headshot 2015
928.301.0465, jenni (at)

Jenni’s passion for the being in the mountains is both an asset and detriment to her work at Conservation Northwest. When she’s not tied to the computer or on the phone, you will find her in the North Cascades, trying to squeeze three day trips into two -- always on the look out for elusive North Cacades wildlife. She’s a skier and a climber and is determined to share her enthusiasm and appreciation for wildlife and the outdoors with others. Jenni is a graduate of Western Washington University with a BS in Environmental Science and an MS in Geography with a focus on Transboundary Natural Resource Management. Jenni works on contract as our Grizzly Bear Outreach Coordinator.

Erin Moore, Publications contractor

Erin Moore

Erin has worked 30 years in publishing, including at the Northwest Passage newspaper in Seattle in the mid-'80s and as communication specialist at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in the '90s. She has a master's in forest ecology from the University of Washington, researching forest soils, tree roots, and fungi. She edits, designs, gardens, and prunes professionally. She supports our newsletter as a contractor.

Pat Roberts, Fiscal Manager
patroberts2.jpg360.671.9950 x 119, proberts (at)

Pat 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 Programs Director
Joe Scott360.671.9950 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.

Julia Spencer, Development and Membership Manager

360.671.9950 x 110, julia (at)
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.

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 Bridges Coalition 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.

Abbey, Twisp hospitality coordinatorAbbey

Before moving to Twisp with her humans, Abbey had 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.

Gillian, Chief birdwatcherGillian

Often found in our Seattle office on Tuesdays and Fridays, Gillian has a keen eye 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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