Lois Ruskell

I’m thankful for past generations’ efforts towards stewardship, but I know there is still more to do.
— Lois Ruskell
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Lois has been with the District since 1989, she originally started out as a dairy technician and planner but is now our Public Relations Coordinator. Lois is a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to outreach in Snohomish County. She was managing editor and steward of the Nexus for 25 years and more than 100 issues, receiving national recognition for her efforts. Before joining the District she co-managed a 200-acre dairy farm with 400 additional acres of crops in Minnesota. Lois has also worked with the Extension Service in two states, managed a 5 million dollar watershed project in the prairie pothole area of the Midwest, and was an Ag Fellow at the University of Minnesota. The District would not be where it is today without her influence and drive to push us forward. We are grateful for her lifelong commitment to protecting and conserving our natural resources. 

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Pat Stevenson

We have choices we can make now to lessen the effects of climate change and population growth. We don’t need to endlessly study and plan, we need to take action.
— Pat Stevenson

Pat has been a biologist for the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians since 1988. Pat was one of the primary architects of the 2005 Stillaguamish Chinook Recovery Plan, which guides all Chinook restoration work in the watershed today and he had a direct hand in securing more than $20 Million for salmon recovery work in the Stillaguamish Watershed. Pat’s accomplishments include: initiating the  Stillaguamish Festival of the River, which celebrates its 30 year anniversary in 2019, and implementing dozens of engineered log jams in local rivers and studying their performance over time to ensure their efficacy and use by fish. Pat’s drive for environmental education and science, and his passion for on-the-ground impacts influence his actions and many of those around him and encourages us to think bigger, do better, and base policy decisions on reality by going outside and seeing the problem on the ground.

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Vince Bertrand

The realization of a very tangible shift in the culture around stormwater is what brings reward. The countless small efforts that have allowed for community involvement, education, and behavior change are why I truly enjoy what I do.
— Vince Bertrand

Vince has been instrumental in partnering with us in Monroe, coordinating the Monroe Wetland and the Lord’s Lake Restoration projects as well as annual Earth Day events. He invited our education team along on his water quality sampling route to learn about what scientists do to protect our waterways. This kind of partnership help us communicate about real-world applications of science, how humans interact with the environment, and potential careers in science. Vince helped kick off our Lawns to Lettuce program in Monroe, coordinating with Monroe High School’s Future Farmers of America students. as well as Jardinería con un Propósito, or Gardening with a Purpose, a class targeted to reach the prevalent Hispanic Population in Monroe. We are super grateful for Vince’s support!

Nora Carlson & Lora Hein

We want to live lightly with a smaller carbon footprint, to care for wildlife habitat, mend the harm done by development, and beautify our spot of the planet and we also want to demonstrate to our neighbors another model of how a yard can be making a beautiful impression for people when they walk by.
— Nora Carlson & Lora Hein

Lora and Nora installed a rain garden on their Edmonds property under our Veterans Conservation Corps program. They have both been wonderful advocates for the District’s Community Conservation program and eager to have their property serve as a demonstration site for sustainable living. In addition to the rain garden, they have installed solar panels, sheet mulched their entire yard, and implemented a number of other low impact landscape features. Thank you for helping us demonstrate sustainable landscaping, Lora and Nora!  

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Debbie Hatcher

Being a steward of the environment has always been a passion throughout my life. Being a teacher provides a valuable avenue to enrich the learning to children of protecting the environment.
— Debbie Hatcher

Debbie is a 4th-grade teacher at Maltby Elementary school who continually goes above and beyond with her students. She furthers her students’ education on the stormwater subjects covered by SCD’s lessons through continual reinforcement. Her students are thoughtful and appreciative and it’s largely due to her teaching. Debbie takes additional time out of her teaching schedule to review with her students and emphasize stormwater concerns and solutions. Mary Hale, SCD Youth Educator, said, “She is truly educating a generation of students appreciative of the planet where they live.”

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Robbie Johnson

Working with the SCD on our original property was like having a very-experienced friend help us along the way. They gave us the confidence we needed to spend money on things like rock for the heavy-use area, lime for our pastures, a million t-posts for our track, and hearty tree-starts and grass seed for our budding forest and neighboring pastures.
— Robbie Johnson

Robbie is a very proactive and enthusiastic cooperator who enjoys implementing best management practices and seeing them have a positive impact on his land. This includes everything from new heavy use areas, manure bins, and renovated pastures to re-foresting 50 acres to preserve as a mixed conifer forest. He and his wife run a therapeutic horse experience for young people on their property. Not only do the best practices help the horses and the land, they also positively impact youth coming to engage with the horses. “Robbie is the most proactive, energetic and encouraging cooperator you will ever see, who is genuinely happy getting best management practices on the ground and see the positive impact they have on his land,” says farm planner, Michael Hipp.

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Andy Loch

My motivation to be a good steward is grounded in the word steward. I see myself as not an owner but temporary occupant. I coupled this with the idiom “actions speak louder than words.” How could I advocate for the conservation of our natural resources if I wasn’t doing it myself? If not me, then who, if not now then when?
— Andy Loch

In 2013, Andy bought the property that had historically been the Sorgenfrei family farm. Elsie Sorgenfrei had previously spoken to SCD about restoration, but Andy was the one who got the project really rolling. Andy enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program or CREP, and he agreed to the Adopt-A-Stream Foundation securing a grant to restore the stream. As a result, 6.8 acres of stream were planted with over 3,500 native trees and shrubs, and his livestock, now fenced out of the stream, were provided with an off-stream watering system. Thanks to Andy for his dedication and diligence to follow through with his restoration intentions!

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Syd Nerland

At this point in my life, I am trying to leave a legacy for my grandsons and granddaughter. I want to pass on the farm in good condition to my family.
— Syd Nerland

Syd raises beef cattle north of Oso, however he found that raising livestock west of the Cascades has its challenges. On advice from his neighbor, Syd contacted the District for help with mud and manure management. The solution to Syd’s issue was a compost-bedding pack barn where his cows can be confined during the winter months and manure can be easily managed with composting. Syd’s system not only manages his herd’s manure, but also uses horse-stall waste as his main source of added carbon to absorb manure and urine, taking care of two potential risks to water quality in one system. 

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Brian Orr & Lori Bailey

We are 60 years old, not without a few challenges, and we have lived in suburban/urban environments for most of our lives – illustrating that anyone can become a conservationist and make a meaningful difference on any scale, large or small.
— Brian Orr & Lori Bailey

Since purchasing their property, Brian and Lori have performed extensive work to ‘clean it up’ as well as restore the natural habitat that was degraded by previous owners. They took a holistic approach to their restoration activities, making their property not only pleasant to view but functional for native species of plants and animal habitat. They eliminated invasive species, planted an extensive native habitat, and reforested portions of the property. They also manage runoff and their chickens so well that their neighbor and SCD Board Supervisor Adam Farnham, says “No feathers, no smell, no rodents. All very well done!”

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Dawn Pucci

We all have an important role to play in recovering our ecosystems that support where our food is grown, wildlife thrives, tourists visit and families work and play.
— Dawn Pucci

Island County and Dawn specifically have supported the District and salmon recovery in the Salish Sea for many years. She views her role as helping all salmon recovery stakeholders succeed, and she does an amazing job of supporting the volunteers, organizations, and her own department staff in accomplishing the watershed’s goals. Recently, Dawn helped advocate for funding, and provided design and engineering review, construction support, permitting assistance, publicity, and public engagement for our Kristoferson Creek Fish Passage Projec, and her leadership of the Salmon Recovery Technical and Citizen Committee has strengthened the committee’s reach and coordination across watersheds in Port Susan and Puget Sound.

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Jim Eichner

The more we give to the health of the soil and water, the more it is able to give back to us.
— Jim Eichner
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Food banks serve as a vital distributor of food, but getting the freshest produce is a challenge. Father Jim Eichner started Food Bank Farm to address this challenge and has a goal to donate a million pounds of produce by 2021. Jim, himself a volunteer, attracts 1,500 additional volunteers each year including corporate volunteers, seniors, and kids, and everyone in between. Tasks are divided up among volunteer groups. Some may plant squash seeds, another group cares for them throughout the growing season, and another group harvests them. Jim always says to his volunteers, “Not only will you be helping feed those in need, but you will also be feeding your own soul in the process.” Our former Lawns to Lettuce Program Coordinator, Cameron Coronado said, “Jim has dedicated his life to helping those in need. SCD is committed to serving residents of Snohomish County. This partnership will only continue to bring positive change to Snohomish County.”

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Housing Hope

Housing Hope is committed to the environment because people experiencing homelessness tend to face the impacts of environmental damage and climate change first-hand.
— Housing Hope
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Not only does Housing Hope offer affordable housing opportunities, but they also offer tailored services such as life-skills training, childcare, case management, and employment services. Last year, the District teamed up with Housing Hope to educate residents with the lowest incomes and the greatest need for the benefits of gardening and nutritious food. Through an urban agriculture grant and our internal Lawns to Lettuce program, SCD was able to provide a growing season of education and assistance. These skills not only benefited Housing Hope clients that growing season, by saving them money and providing nutritious produce, but it will also benefit them far into the future. These gardens create space and beauty that all of the Housing Hope residents can enjoy. 

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Scott Chase

Scott’s dedication to protecting and conserving the region’s natural resources, in part by continually bringing together organizations with similar objectives and hordes of dedicated volunteers, is what makes his partnership over the years so inspiring.
— Lois Ruskell, SCD Public Relations Coordinator

Scott is one of SCD’s most steadfast partners on Camano Island. Scott served as the Washington State University (WSU) Island County Shore Stewards Coordinator for many years and is an active volunteer for Sound Water Stewards and WSU Waste Wise. His commitment to protecting and conserving the health of shorelines and water resources, in part by continually bringing together organizations with similar objectives and hordes of dedicated volunteers, is what makes his partnership over the years so inspiring. It seems that Scott knows every environmental group on Camano Island and Snohomish County. Scott believes that we can accomplish more when we share our strengths, ideas, and energy. Scott retired from his position with WSU in November 2017, but vows to remain an avid and committed volunteer. We are grateful for his dedication. 

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Terry Williams

Terry has worked tirelessly to establish collaborative forums to tackle some of the tough issues surrounding salmon recovery and the restoration of Puget Sound.
— Monte Marti, SCD Manager

Terry is, and has been an important leader in the tribal and salmon recovery communities throughout the Pacific Northwest since the 1980’s. Previously as the Tribal Liaison to the Environmental Protection Agency, and currently as Commissioner of Fisheries and Natural Resources, Terry often speaks to groups about tribal treaty rights and the importance of working together with private landowners. He has dedicated his lifetime working tirelessly to establish collaborative forums to tackle some of the toughest issues surrounding salmon recovery and the restoration of Puget Sound. He has lead efforts to establish a number of important groups that foster and implement his collaborative spirit including: the Northwest Straits Commission, Marine Resource Committees, Qualco Energy, Snohomish Salmon Recovery Forum, Snohomish Sustainable Lands Strategy and the Puget Sound Partnership Local Integration Organizations.

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Monte Marti

Every generation has a few individuals who embody a spirit of selflessness and who pour their whole being to making their community a better place to live. Monte is one of those few individuals and Snohomish County is blessed to have him tirelessly working for us.
— Tristan Klesick, Klesick Farms

Monte has been affiliated with and a driver for Snohomish Conservation District for close to four decades. He is our greatest champion and an avid conservationist who is passionate about Washington State’s natural resources, and particularly our farming heritage.

Monte has been SCD's District Manager since 2010. Before becoming the manager, he served for 25 years as a volunteer Board Supervisor at the District, a volunteer for the Washington Association of Conservation Districts for 16 years and on the WACD Plant Material Center Advisory Board. Before joining the District Board in 1985, Monte was a technician with the District in the early 80’s, just as the Centennial Clean Water funds were coming into place to help fund water quality incentives and technical service to farmers.  Monte brings 25 years of business management experience at Verizon Communications. He has a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Economics (Natural Resources emphasis) from Washington State University and was raised on a crop and dairy farm in the Columbia Basin in Eastern Washington.

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Brea Dormaier

Brea goes above and beyond to give her students experiences both inside and outside of the classroom to learn about environmental issues and solutions.
— Lily Cason, SCD Youth Educator

Brea is a dedicated 4th grade teacher, who, every year, with her teaching team, invites SCD to teach their students about environmental education. The classrooms host a tank of salmon so students can make observations about their growth. With her administrators and teaching team, Brea also helped champion student involvement in the installation of green schoolyard projects like rain barrels, rain gardens and garden beds that create impactful environmental education learning opportunities for years to come!

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Eric Fritch

Eric is selfless, he inspires others thru his motivation and passion for helping others. He gives of his time, provides assistance and education, and he wants to make his farm a better place for all.
— Bobbi Lindemulder, SCD Operations Program Manager

Eric currently supports four farms on his farmstead, all of which promote conservation and sustainability. He has a strong passion for generational farming and spends time mentoring youth about animal husbandry and proper care. Eric is highly engaged in the agricultural community and he also has his own sustainable grass-fed beef operation, with a fully implemented farm plan and extensive riparian fencing.

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Holy Cross Catholic Church

We are blown away by Holy Cross’ commitment to the earth- they plant potatoes for the food bank, help organize volunteer planting events to protect their section of the Pilchuck River.
— Ashley Shattuck, Former SCD Restoration Project Assistant (WCC)

Holy Cross Catholic Church completed a large native planting project along their section of the Pilchuck River in March, 2017. They recruited over 50 volunteers, including the baseball team from Archbishop Murphy High School. Together they planted over 426 plants. The Church has also planted native species to restore their NGPA area. Not only are they responsible stewards of the environment, they also grow vegetables to share with local food banks, and provide firewood from their tree lot to those in need. 

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Carol McMahon

Carol is an enthusiastic neighborhood steward. She installed her rain garden many years ago before we began our cluster project, and she was excited to continue to add GSI solutions to her property.
— Alicia Kellogg, SCD Community Conservation Project Coordinator

Carol is an enthusiastic neighborhood steward who has worked with SCD to install a rain garden and a rain barrel system at her home to reduce stormwater runoff. Carol then took initiative to share her projects with neighbors by inviting them to participate in a cost-share opportunity with the City of Lynnwood and SCD. Carol’s neighbors followed her enthusiastic lead by installing rain barrels and rain gardens at their homes, resulting in their neighborhood collectively capturing and filtering substantial stormwater runoff and protecting local waterways.

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Carol in the News

Holly Small

Holly is an educator that is passionate about farming and wants to make sure people have the best information and tools available as possible. Her mission is to not see people fail.
— Bobbi Lindemulder, SCD Operations Program Manager

Holly is passionate about farming and uses her own experiences, including a background in cattle ranching, to provide real-world scenarios in her classes. She has developed farming programs that have been adopted statewide. Beyond education, she is a thoughtful and caring person who has comforted those who are struggling and has helped farmers who are passing their farms onto the next generation. SCD staff have enjoyed working with Holly on the development and implementation of the WSU Cultivating Success program.

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