Rein focuses on engaging our members, activists, and public on all things Puget Sound. Previously, Rein was the Advocacy Manager at People For Puget Sound, where he did the following: organized the annual lobby day for the environmental community, generating grassroots support during the legislative session; built a diverse stakeholder coalition building on oil spill issues; managed activists, interns and volunteers; and helped garner public support for a strong Action Agenda for the health of Puget Sound. Two factors drew Rein to the Sound in 2004: being a Pisces and his childhood spent on the beaches and salt marshes of Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts. San Juan Island’s beauty and its archipelago landscape bring solace, calm, and appreciation to him. Plus, he loves picking his own oysters at the Westcott Bay Oyster Farm. When not at work, Rein loves to travel, bike, hike, sail, cook, and sauna in his back yard, all the time with his wife Marcy.
Jaron joined WEC as an intern in 2016 and later joined the Development team with excitement to play a role in the environmental movement. He graduated in 2013 from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, and his background includes work in hospitality and event management. As a lifelong resident of Washington state, he is passionate about supporting WEC’s work to protect our clean air, water, and lands. You might find Jaron climbing the peaks of the Cascades, training for his first marathon, or playing guitar at an open mic.
A long-time leader in Washington’s environmental community, Joan started working at WEC in 1992, served as Executive Director in 1995-2014, and has served as CEO since 2014. Joan was instrumental in developing the now nationally-recognized Environmental Priorities Coalition, the successful collaborative of over 20 groups that works together for strong state environmental protections. Joan is often sought out for her insight and judgment on environmental issues by state policy makers, other advocacy groups, and foundations. Her guidance and vision have helped WEC combine its 40 years of experience with innovative strategies resulting in strong environmental protections for Washington state. Prior to joining WEC, Joan served as Administrative Director of Earth Share of Washington. Joan has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Middlebury College, as well as a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs. She has served on numerous boards including Sierra Club Seattle Inner City Outings, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, and the State Environmental Leadership Program. In addition to working for environmental protection, Joan also enjoys spending lots of time outside, especially hiking with her husband Don or racing her kids down the slopes.
Alex leads the vision for communication strategy at Washington Environmental Council. Alex comes from a diverse background using classic and modern communication methods to raise organizational profiles. His experience includes large-scale campaigns in support of education and advising strategy for focused campaigns promoting causes such as clean water, women’s rights, and the protection of communities impacted by immigration laws. Prior to joining WEC, Alex managed digital engagement at Pacific Lutheran University where he led direct email production, doubled social media engagement with alumni, and elevated online micro-campaigns to their highest performing year. His experience also includes editorial work at local publications and multi-media design with Emmy-Award winning producers. Alex received dual degrees in journalism and music, and holds a Master of Business Administration where he researched targeted communication, digital marketing trends and propaganda in Costa Rica. He serves on the board for the Rainbow Center, an LGBTQ advocacy group in the South Sound. You can typically find Alex killing time at Costco, making breakfast for dinner, or driving unusual distances to try a new cup of coffee.
Evan is the Major Gifts Manager for Washington Environmental Council. After college, Evan left the flatlands and Great Lakes of Michigan to work in Washington’s National Parks at Mount Rainier and at Olympic National Park on the Elwha River Restoration through the Student Conservation Association (SCA). He then went on to join the SCA development team in Seattle where he brought in funding to support underserved youth development and conservation service. Always up for a type II adventure, Evan enjoys skiing, climbing, backpacking, cycling and cooking.
As a Northwest native with strong environmental sensibilities, Julie is thrilled to provide administrative support for WEC. Her Seattle-based career choices are a veritable box of chocolates: social media strategist, small business owner, school registrar, and legal assistant. A life-long learner, Julie holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Washington, and certificates in Nonprofit Fundraising Management and Social Media Strategy and Implementation. Julie’s happy place is on a northwest hiking trail.
Katherine (Kat) Holmes serves as Field Director for Washington Environmental Council. She fell in love with field work as an Organizing Fellow with Fuse Washington and is excited to help build coalitions and develop grassroots power for the environment throughout Washington state. Kat grew up in Kent, Washington, fell in love with Puget Sound at Salt Water State Park, and graduated with a degree in Biology/Ecology, from Western Washington University. A teacher and community builder at heart, she spent 15 years teaching martial arts and leading volunteer projects with Starbucks in Bellingham. She moved back to Kent to be closer to her mother, became active with 350 Seattle and WEC and is ready bring a racial justice lens to environmental advocacy. Kat loves coffee, food, farmers, poetry and can be found training and playing outside in her free time.
Arianne Jaco works in the Evergreen Forests Program and is a recent transplant to Washington from Texas. She received her BA from the University of Kansas and her MA in English Literature at Texas Tech University. She started at WEC serving as the coordinator for the Marbled Murrelet Coalition and now works as an advocate for conservation and sustainable management of forests on state lands. In her spare time, Arianne enjoys backpacking and epic road trips.
Natalie produces WEC’s publications, campaign communications, and multimedia projects as well as managing the website. A graduate of Whitman College with a degree in Biology-Environmental Studies, Natalie brings experience and enthusiasm for translating WEC’s technical work into engaging, digestible information for our members. She has previously served as the Whitman’s Sustainability Coordinator, worked with the Grand Canyon Trust, was a Climate & Clean Energy intern at WEC, and held other positions that have grown her interest in environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, you can find Natalie fighting for social justice, competing with her local Ultimate Frisbee team, and cross country skiing.
Stina is a Field Organizer with Washington Environmental Council with a decade of experience organizing for affordable housing with the Tenants Union of Washington state, for immigrant justice with the NW Detention Resistance Network, and for climate justice with Rising Tide-Tucson. Stina became ignited around climate, water, and energy issues while working as a Research Fellow with Black Mesa Water Coalition, an intertribal environmental justice organization based on the Navajo Nation, where she coauthored a report on solar development practices to affirm tribal sovereignty. During her master’s work with the Climate Alliance Mapping Project at the University of Arizona, Stina produced a map of “unburnable” oil reserves using an Indigenous rights and biodiversity lens. Stina’s dream for Washington state is a restorative and inclusive economy that doesn’t force communities to choose between a stable climate and good jobs – and she’s eager to help build the bold grassroots movement it will take to get there. When not organizing or training others to organize, Stina savors time outside or playing music with her partner, friends, family and dog, Peanut. A 5th-generation member of a Swedish-Irish Olympic Peninsula family, Stina owes her family’s livelihood to the bounty of Coast Salish lands and the stewardship of Coast Salish peoples.
Becky joined WEC in 1994 and has led successful campaigns on sustainable forestry and helping to defeat the irresponsible development initiative—Initiative 933. Working closely with architects, developers, and educators, she led WEC’s 2005 campaign to pass Washington’s first-in-the-nation law requiring public buildings to meet green building standards. Currently, Becky serves as WEC President and has previously directed WEC’s Climate and Clean Energy Agenda to pass strong policies to reduce climate pollution and transition to clean energy, as well as staffing our ongoing sustainable forestry work. She feels lucky to have a job where she can help bring people together to create solutions to complex problems, even though it involves an unnatural number of meetings. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of Oregon, and prior to joining WEC, taught English in rural Japan. Becky lives in Seattle with her husband and daughter and enjoys gardening, singing, eating her husband’s excellent cooking, and playing outside.
Emily is a Field Organizer for Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. She got her start as an organizer in Whatcom County, where the need for environmental advocacy and protection of the community from coal trains drove her to get more involved as an intern at Re-Sources for Sustainable Communities. She graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in Economics/Environmental Studies and spent the later part of her college career deeply involved in the divestment campaign at WWU. As a graduate, her work in environmental advocacy led to more involvement in the local politics in Whatcom County, and she spent the 2015 election cycle managing a County Council campaign crucial to the battle over coal exports in Whatcom County. When she’s not working, Emily is probably getting outside on her mountain bike, hiking, running, or exploring new food and music venues in Seattle.
Devan is a graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Natural Resource Management. He brings to WEC a background working professionally in data analytics and database management, most recently at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. Devan has also volunteered time doing restoration work with Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association and as the Stewardship Coordinator at Save Habitat and Diversity Of Wetlands (SHADOW). Understanding and protecting our environment has been a passion of Devan’s since watching Captain Planet and Fern Gully as a child. Outside of work, Devan enjoys reading comic books, planting trees, playing team sports and going on adventures with his wife Elisabeth.
Kathy leads the overall fundraising and development activities for both Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. Kathy has over 20 years of fundraising experience, nearly all of it in the environmental sector. She was lured back to WEC/WCV after a seven year absence, during which time she worked as the Development Director for Resource Media, a nonprofit communications firm that specializes in environmental issues. During her tenure there she helped to nearly triple the organization’s budget, and as a member of the management team, established the structure and systems that successfully guided Resource Media through this period of rapid growth. For ten years Kathy served as WEC’s Development Director, creating the organization’s overall fundraising framework. Kathy is a graduate of Colorado State University and has a certificate in Nonprofit Management and Fundraising from the University of Washington. She and her husband are slowly remodeling an old home and restoring its gardens. When not pondering which native plants grow best in dry shade or how to repair a stone wall, they spend time as much time as possible hiking and biking.
Nathan McCurtain is a field organizer with Washington Environmental Council who started organizing work as a volunteer for Candidate Barack Obama in 2008. Since then Nathan has volunteered and worked on campaigns in the Puget Sound region until he joined the Washington Environmental Council team. Nathan grew up in Puyallup, Washington and fell in love with the beauty and history of the area. He graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Washington and went on to study Law before joining initiative campaigns in Washington. After 14 years in Puyallup and six years in Seattle, Nathan has settled down in the Tacoma area where he connected with the Tacoma Tide Flats issue which brought him to WEC. Nathan enjoys tea, restaurant hopping, reading, and musicals and can be found enjoying the outdoors or glued to his computer depending on the weather.
Kristi manages WEC’s social media and email communications and is a recent graduate of Seattle University with a degree in Environmental Studies and Biology. She was previously a climate campaign intern with WEC and also interned with King County’s Water and Land Resources Division. In her free time, Kristi enjoys painting, cooking, and finding the cheapest happy hour on Capitol Hill.
Darcy works across WEC’s program areas to pass and defend environmental laws and secure public funding for essential programs and projects. Darcy has more than a decade of experience in environmental law and policy issues including land and water conservation, renewable energy development, water law, toxic pollution cleanup and prevention, salmon and steelhead recovery, and budgeting. She also has experience managing high-profile election campaigns in several states and worked with the AFL-CIO to create an affiliate organization for non-union households. Darcy has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law. When she is not in the office, Darcy is usually having fun with her family by gardening, whitewater rafting, hiking, camping, and cheering on the Sounders and the Green Bay Packers.
Sean Pender worked at WEC for the first time from 1997-2000, when he was the Office Manager/Development Associate. Starting in 2001, he worked at an organization that provided technology consulting services to nonprofit conservation groups. Over the course of his decade there, he mostly did administrative and HR tasks, with healthy dollops of IT support, fundraising support, Salesforce administration and proofreading thrown in. Starting in January 2013, he’s back for another round, excited to be working as the Administrative Director for WEC and WCV. Sean has a degree in Political Science from Western Washington University and in his spare time he enjoys riding his bikes, reading non-fiction, and yelling at the TV during soccer games along with his wife. But their daughter hates soccer so she has begun the process of believing that her parents are crazy.
Rebecca directs the fossil fuel program at WEC and manages the broad coalition fighting oil infrastructure through the Stand Up To Oil campaign, which has stopped oil terminals across Washington and Oregon. Rebecca deeply enjoys working with tribal nations, rural communities, labor, elected officials, and across the environmental community to protect our region for all. She has a duel master’s degree from the University of Washington in Urban Planning and in Public Administration. When she isn’t fighting the oil industry, Rebecca enjoys exploring our waterways and mountains with her daughter and husband.
Sameer joined WEC in 2014 to work on coalition building and policy development to advance WEC’s climate and clean energy objectives. Prior to joining WEC, Sameer worked in a wide variety of government, election, and advocacy roles. His work experience spans various positions on the Hill and the Washington State Legislature, multiple Presidential and Congressional campaigns, and numerous internships at energy and environmental entities, including the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Wind Energy Association, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He holds a B.A. from Washington State University and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington. In his free time, Sameer enjoys reading, power napping, jogging, writing environmental poetry, drinking coffee, meditating, and simply soaking in the view of Seattle’s beautiful environment.
Lisa joined WEC in 2012 and has over 10 years of experience in the environmental community and non-profit world. At WEC Lisa started as the Outreach Director for the Environmental Priorities Coalition, then moved up to become the Evergreen Forests Agenda Director. Before coming to WEC, she was the Senior Project Manager at NatureBridge working on the Elwha Dam removal project in Olympia National Park. She also worked as the Chapter and Government Relations Manager for Audubon Washington, the Statewide Advocacy Coordinator for the Arc of Washington and as staff to a Thurston County Commissioner. Lisa chaired the local chapter of Thurston Conservation Voters for two years and currently serves on the board at Wolf Haven International. Outside of work, Lisa enjoys traveling. Recent adventures include Guatemala, Cambodia, and Namibia where she worked with the Cheetah Conservation Fund. She is also proud to be a year round bike commuter, even on the rainiest Seattle days.
Mindy joined WEC in 2016 to lead the People For Puget Sound program, where she dedicates time to improving and maintaining the health of our unique ecosystem. Her previous work focused on identifying sources of contamination to Washington’s waters – streams, rivers, lakes, and Puget Sound – and designing management plans for the Department of Ecology. She has a serious nerd background, with environmental engineering degrees from Berkeley (BS), MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MS), and UW (Ph.D.). Mindy’s specialties are tackling complex problems and communicating solutions with decisionmakers. In her spare time, she can usually be found teaching mountaineering, climbing the high peaks of the Cascades and Olympics, kayaking Puget Sound, managing a forest preserve on the Kitsap Peninsula, or traveling and diving around the world with her husband Jim. Mindy is a proud Tacoma resident.
Danielle joined the Puget Sound program team in 2015 after providing WEC with contracted research support on several projects. She is a graduate of Western Washington University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy and Political Science. While earning her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, Danielle gained experience in international and domestic environmental policy clerking for NOAA’s Alaska Regional Counsel and the International Environmental Law Project. Since finding her way back home to Seattle, Danielle spends much of her free time exploring the Duwamish, sitting around a campfire, and jogging with her pup.
Griffin joined Washington Environmental Council as a Development and Events Intern in February 2014 and was lucky enough to continue as part of the Development team after his internship ended. Griffin grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and then traded one side of Puget Sound for the other when he moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where he received his degree in English and Political Science. You can find Griffin near the water, out on a hike, or enjoying a jog on any of Seattle’s many running trails.
Paula staffs WEC’s Evergreen Forest agenda. She has worked on forest conservation issues in the Pacific Northwest for 24 years and has been consulting for non-profits throughout the country over the past six years on ecosystem conservation and restoration policies with a focus on creating ecosystem service payments and markets involving carbon, wildlife, and water to improve management on private lands above regulatory requirements. She has served on the Washington State Forest Practices Board since 2010. Earlier in her career, Dr. Swedeen worked for the State of Washington (DNR and WDFW) for 12 years as a wildlife biologist and policy analyst on endangered species conservation in forests. She 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. She lives in Olympia with her partner and loves to hike, go birding, work in her garden and raise Nigerian Dwarf goats in her spare time.
Clifford has been the contracted, full-time state lobbyist for both Washington Conservation Voters and Washington Environmental Council since November 2002. He is responsible for the state lobbying programs for these two statewide environmental organizations. He spends much of his time in Olympia lobbying on behalf of the environmental community Priorities. Clifford has over 20 years of public and private sector experience both in Washington state and Washington, D.C. During his 11-year tenure in D.C., Clifford held positions as a political consultant; a staff member and congressional investigator for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by John D. Dingell (D-Michigan); and a federal lobbyist in the private sector for the Grocery Manufacturers of America. Since arriving in Seattle in 1995, Clifford has held senior level local government posts as a legislative assistant for Seattle City Council member Martha Choe and as the City of Seattle’s Director of Intergovernmental Relations under Mayor Paul Schell. He has also consulted on intergovernmental matters for the City of Seattle’s Department of Public Utilities. Campaign experience includes a role as Research Director on Patty Murray’s successful 1992 campaign for U.S. Senate. Clifford is a graduate of University of Kansas and lives in Seattle with his wife, three sons, one daughter, and two dogs.
Max joined the Evergreen Forest Program after completing a Master’s of Environmental Management at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. While at graduate school, Max’s studies focused on community-based approaches to conservation and ways to support sustainable land based economies. In the past, Max has developed new enterprise opportunities for loggers and landowners in the northeast and worked with community members to create restoration plans for parks in underserved communities. A native of Ohio, he is also a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and spent seven years building community garden programs before working as a field team leader with the National Civilian Community Corps on conservation projects in Alaska, California and Oregon. In his spare time, Max can be most often found in the garden, on the trail or in the kitchen.
Paelina is an intern with the field team at Washington Environmental Council. She graduated from Seattle University and has a background in international development and data analysis. Recent travels took her to Bolivia, where she developed a strong interest in resource management while interning with a small NGO. Heading to start her master’s in public policy at Duke next fall, she is excited to take this time learn more about local environmental issues and get involved in some political work. In her free time, you can find Paelina climbing mountains, playing ultimate frisbee, and cycling.
Kyle Evans serves as the Fall Community Engagement Intern for Washington Environmental Council. Kyle fell in love with the environment while growing up in Kirkland, Washington, and has been an active participant in all sports and enjoys the outdoors. He received a BA in Political Science at Seattle Pacific University. As an active participant with volunteering with Bothell Parks & Recreation and at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club of King County, Kyle is deeply concerned with not only environmental protections of our planet but also their sustainability. He continuously pursues environmental justice and hopes to spread knowledge to anyone willing to listen!
Sarah serves as an intern with the field organizing team. Having recently graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma with a degree in Sociology and Environmental Policy, Sarah is ready to take on environmental issues through political work. Sarah grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where her days spent on coastal beaches first sparked her love for the environment. During her time at University of Puget Sound, Sarah fostered her love for the ocean and interest in environmental issues through participation in the University’s Surfrider Foundation chapter. Given her interest in the environment and her academic background in Sociology, Sarah is passionate about environmental justice. She is excited to start working with Washington Environmental Council and to expand her field organizing skill-set. In her free time, Sarah can be found hiking, relaxing on the beach, and exploring new food in Seattle.