Board Members

Washington Foundation for the Environment (WFFE) has a working board of ten individuals. Our board is comprised of people with a broad base of experience and expertise in environmental issues. This ranges from experience leading nonprofit organizations and overseeing environmental education programs to involvement in the policies guiding use of our region’s natural resources.

WFFE is currently recruiting new Board members, particularly those with social media skills and with deepened expertise in personal fundraising strategies. If you are interested please contact  Heidi Siegelbaum at

hydrangea1-500px (3)The Board of Directors is responsible for the functioning of the Foundation. We have intentionally chosen to work with a very low overhead, without staff or a permanent office. The board members serve on committees that work between board meetings on key program components.

Alisha Taylor was a middle school science teacher in Seattle Public Schools for 7 years, and currently works as a science curriculum specialist with the district. Before that, she worked as a school programs coordinator, environmental educator, and naturalist for non-profit environmental education organizations in Seattle, Portland, and Eugene, OR. She is an avid gardener and traveler, and enjoys spending time outdoors and having adventures with her husband and five year old son.

Ann Butler is a Health Services Consultant with the Washington State Department of Health. Rounding out her expertise in water quality, watershed management and communication, Ann was previously with People for Puget Sound and the Washington State Department of Ecology. She is an avid hiker and backpacker.

Don Theiler has an extensive range of environmental planning and management experience. Most recently he served as manager of the King County Wastewater Management Program which serves the Seattle Metropolitan Area. In this position he was responsible for overall policy development and direction of the largest wastewater system in the Pacific Northwest. Previous to this he served as director of the Air Management Program for the State of Wisconsin. During this period he was instrumental in the development and passage of one of the Nation’s first Acid Rain control programs as well as precedent setting toxic and ozone reduction programs. In addition he has had extensive international experience working on environmental protection programs for the World Bank in Eastern Europe. He has worked on programs in Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, the Ukraine, and most recently in China. He also served in Africa in the Peace Corps for four years. He also served as President of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and was chairman of that group’s air toxic’s committee for ten years. In addition to the Washington Foundation for the Environment, he serves or has served on the boards of the following agencies: the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, and the Center for Clean Air Policy.

Ingrid Tohver. Until recently, was a research scientist for the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) at the University of Washington. Ingrid’s research focused on the responses of regional watersheds to the projections of a warmer climate for the future. During her 8-year tenure at the CIG, Ingrid participated in studies assessing the projected shifts in the frequency of extreme hydrologic events. She was also responsible for writing reports detailing the implications for natural resource sectors in the region, including water supply, hydropower operations, agriculture, and fish habitat. Ingrid collaborated directly with resource managers, other researchers, aquatic habitat specialists and dam operators who use the data and reports culminating from CIG’s hydrologic research. Ingrid also contributed to CIG’s outreach efforts by giving presentations on hydrologic studies and CIG’s broader research objectives to stakeholders and the general public. Ingrid graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in botany, and from the University of Florida with a M.S. in forest science.

Katie Auker, Board Secretary has a BA in Speech Communication from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a M.Ed, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington. Katie works at Explorer West middle school and has worked in education administration for 19 years. She has managed non-profit programs in public schools as well as ran her own after-school language business and an education center in California. She is the girls basketball coach and an outdoor education faculty trip leader. She is excited to work at a school that has a focus on sustainability and outdoor education that allows her to share her enthusiasm with the community. Outside of school you can find her hiking, backpacking, camping, cooking, chasing live music, and hanging out with her rescue dog, Barley.

Nancy Richardson Ahern. Nancy’s career spans several decades in public utility and environmental management, including leadership roles in Seattle Public Utilities, the King County Department of Natural Resources, and the City of Bellevue.  These positions encompassed a wide range of programs including drinking water, wastewater, solid waste, stormwater management, flood control, salmon restoration, and open space protection.  After obtaining a doctoral degree in natural resources management early in her career, her interest evolved into the nature of organizations and “people management.” Her master’s degree in organizational systems coupled with her science background brings a unique perspective to problem solving.  Nancy now works as a management consultant drawing from her 25 years “in the hot seat” as a local government manager.

Randy Shuman is the Board Vice President,  is a retired oceanographer.   He previously managed the Science and Technical Support Section of the Water and Land Resources Division at King County. He is an Affiliate Faculty member of the University of Washington School of Oceanography. He previously operated a shellfish farm in Willapa Bay on the coast of Washington.

 Current Positions:
Affiliate Associate Professor of Oceanography, University of Washington School of Oceanography. Biological and Chemical Oceanography.

Member: Research Advisory Committee: The Seattle Aquarium Research Center for Conservation and Husbandry (SEARCCH) , 2003-present

President: Applied Marien Research, Inc.

Stacia Bell has a B.S. in Business Marketing from the University of Washington and a Master’s in Teaching from Seattle University.  Stacia has been the librarian at Madison Middle School in West Seattle for the past seven years. Prior to becoming a librarian, she taught sixth grade reading at Madison. She is very passionate about information literacy and connecting students with those “just right” books that allow them to experience, perhaps for the first time, just how much fun reading can be with the right book. When she’s not reading, Stacia loves to travel the world with her husband, hang out with her two cats, and spend time outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She and her husband, Glenn, live in West Seattle.

Susie Vanderburg, Board Finance Director,  is a retired Environmental Educator with an M.A. in curriculum writing from Western Washington University. In the past she worked as an elementary teacher, a Public Involvement & Education Coordinator for Thurston County, and the Education Director for the LOTT WET Science Center in Olympia.  She has fond memories of coordinating Thurston County’s Stream Team program and currently volunteers as a docent for Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Tim Owens, Board President, has a B.A. in Politics and Government from  The University of Puget Sound and an M.A. in Teaching from Seattle University.  Tim joined Explorer West after teaching eight years at Madison Middle School in West Seattle. He was first hit with the teaching bug while teaching at a high school in rural, northern Japan where he was an assistant language teacher for two years.  Tim has a vast appreciation and understanding of the world through study and travel.  In addition to living in Japan, Tim lived and studied in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.  Tim and his wife, Shelby, live in West Seattle and enjoy hiking, backpacking and international travel in their spare time.