Bainbridge Island Land Trust - Working together to protect the Island's natural resources
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The Bainbridge Island Land Trust protects and preserves private property as well as acquires land for parks and trails.
About BILT
Overview and History
Board and Staff
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The Bainbridge Island Land Trust protects and preserves private property as well as acquires land for parks and trails.

BILT Board and Staff

A 15-member Board of Directors governs the Land Trust. Our Board is an engaged and hard-working group who represents the many different facets of the Bainbridge Island Community.

Our staff includes our Executive Director, Jane Stone, who joined the Land Trust in 2014. Laura O'Mara joined BILT in 2003 and oversees the Membership and Fundraising program. Conservation Director, Brenda Padgham, has been with BILT since the fall of 2006. Avery Bowron joined the staff in January 2015 as the Stewardship Coordinator. Sinclair Ball is our Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator. Debbie Rimkus is our Administrative Assistant.

Connie Waddington
Connie Waddington, President

Connie is excited to return to the Land Trust. Her passion for land conservation started with the campaign to save the GrandForest which led to her first term with the Land Trust.  She went on to serve on the boards of the Kitsap Open Space, Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition and the city's Open Space Commission. One of her favorite activities was to help develop and participate in the Nature Mapping program for the Bainbridge Island School District which introduced 5th and 6th graders to the concept of being volunteer scientists and stewards.  Her family, husband Bill and son Scott, moved to the Island in 1986. She has a degree in biology and worked in medical research before starting her second career in land protection. Connie and Bill can be found fishing for halibut, salmon and crab on most summer weekends.
Erin Kellogg
Erin Kellogg, Secretary

Erin is an experienced conservation nonprofit manager, having served as Vice President for Ecotrust Canada in Vancouver, BC and Director of Policy and Communications for Ecotrust in Portland, OR. She has worked on environmental issues in resource-dependent communities from Astoria, Oregon to Cordova, Alaska with coalitions of First Nations, scientists, policymakers and community groups. Erin's passion for the environment began out the back door of her childhood home in Connecticut, where she roamed the largest tract of undeveloped land between Boston and New York.  After graduating from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, she migrated west in search of ever larger expanses of wilderness, eventually landing in the Pacific Northwest. She has lived on Bainbridge Island since 2001, where she enjoys exploring the island's parks and waters on foot and by kayak with her husband and two young children.
Barb Robert
Barb Robert, Treasurer

Barbara, a lifelong resident of Washington, moved to Bainbridge Island in 2004 with her husband, Leon.  Now retired, Barbara was a CPA and Certified Internal Auditor who spent many years in the Accounting, Internal Audit, Finance, and Treasury departments of major local businesses including Bank of America, Washington Mutual, Safeco Insurance and Microsoft.  Barbara was enthused with the concept of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and became involved when asked to head up the "May Day at Hilltop" event, and to join the Finance Committee.  Barb enjoys traveling, bicycling, skiing, gardening, and walking in Fort Ward Park with Leon and their children, grandchildren, and granddogs.
Ray Victurine
Ray Victurine, Vice President

Ray is the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Business and Conservation Initiative, which he launched in 2007.   The program engages with industry, governments and other stakeholders to explore innovative approaches to balance conservation and development interests through design and implementation of best practices aimed at reducing and compensating for impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.  Ray also directs WCS's Conservation Finance Program which focuses on the development of sustainable financing mechanisms that contribute to positive biodiversity conservation and sustainability outcomes.  Ray serves on the Boards of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, the Conservation Finance Alliance, and has been active with organizations engaged with the carbon market.   He is also a member of the Biodiversity and Livelihood Advisory Committee for Total Uganda.   He is trained as a natural resource economist, and has worked on conservation and sustainable development issues in Africa, Asia, and Latin America for more than 30 years. Ray has lived on Bainbridge Island with his wife and two children since 2000.  He served for several years on the City's Community Forestry Commission and with other Commission members created a Community Forestry Strategy that was delivered to the City. He now lives downtown in the new Grow Community.
Andrea Adams
Andrea Adams

As a newly minted graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Andrea joined Cambridge Alternative Power Company, one of the first wave of alternative energy businesses spurred on by federal subsidies. She shifted to management of temporary personnel for firms in Boston, then moved across the country to become marketing director for the Seattle Club, and to help launch the Riverplace club in Portland. The environmental field called and she worked for five years as regional director of the Environmental Careers Organization, a nationwide program to develop professionals for green jobs through internships at government agencies, nonprofits and companies. She and husband John moved to Bainbridge in 1992, where she ran her own ecotourism company, Weathervane Tours, until 2000, when the couple  - already parents of two daughters - adopted a son from Russia. Since then, she has served in many capacities, including mental health case manager, special event coordinator, school program and placement organizer. A former board member of Friends of The Farm, and current manager of rental property in Winthrop, Andrea enjoys traveling in the U.S. and overseas, and is a non-fiction writer and editor.
J. Grant Blackinton
J. Grant Blackinton

Grant grew up outside Denver, Colorado and spent family vacations camping in the Rockies. He was active in the Boy Scouts, and enjoyed several hiking and canoe wilderness trips. He got his Electrical Engineering Degree in 1966, then lived and worked in both California and Sweden designing digital voltmeters. He spent a year in 1971-1972 traveling in Africa, traveled by boat up the Congo River, Climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and met some of the most civilized people on the planet. Returning from Africa, he lived in Geneva, Switzerland for 6 months studying French and then moved to Hawaii to attend the University. He participated in several ocean research cruises on the University ship and earned his PhD in Ocean Engineering in 1985, specializing in ocean acoustics. He co-founded an ocean survey company based on the sonar systems that he designed. The company moved to Seattle in 1991 and he finally retired in 2009 after amassing over 1800 days at sea.
Gregory Geehan
Gregory Geehan

Greg and his wife Kathy grew up in Tacoma and graduated and graduated from the University of Washington. Greg went on to earn a PhD in Marine Geology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He then worked in the oil industry for over 20 years, managing applied research efforts related to oil field development, in a career that took him to Houston, Alaska, London, Kuwait, and Columbia. Upon retirement, Greg and Kathy returned to the Puget Sound area and chose to live on Bainbridge Island partly because of its reputation for supporting education and environmental conservation. Greg is a docent at IslandWood, a member of the Bainbridge Island Kiwanis club, and spends some of his time exploring local geology, giving presentations, and working with Cameron Snow on a video covering our island's geological history.
Ed Gilbert
Ed Gilbert

The son of a US Air Force officer, Ed was raised in London and Ankara, Turkey. He received a BA in English and masters in economics from Ohio State University, an MA in public policy and a law degree from the University of Chicago. Ed taught law in Singapore as a Henry Luce Scholar. He joined law firms in New York, and practiced there and in Hong Kong before becoming a partner with Perkins Coie in the Pacific Northwest for several years. Next came project finance work in Singapore, China, and Southeast Asia, followed by positions in private equity and banking from 2000-2014, with Lone Star Funds, Merrill Lynch, Shinsei Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon based in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Ed and his wife, Linda, moved to Bainbridge Island two years ago, where they enjoy hiking, cycling, kayaking, and sailing - when he takes time off from active involvement in Rotary, and of course, the Land Trust's projects committee.
David Harrison
David Harrison

David is a senior lecturer at the Evans School of Public Affairs at UW. He is also founder and coordinator of Strategies to Eliminate Poverty, a grant-making program seeking to reduce the extent and severity of poverty in the NW. For the academic school year, he will serve as director of the Nancy Bell Evans Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy. David is one of the organizers of Skill-Up Washington and is a member of their Executive Committee. Skill-Up WA is a new collaborative in King County sponsored by several foundations and companies, as well as local and state government. Skill-Up WA strives to double, and then redouble, the number of low income, under-skilled working adults in King County who are seeking a post-secondary education credential. David has held many other positions related to education and workforce development, including serving as a member of the Bainbridge Island School Board for several years. He and his wife, Cynthia, live on Bainbridge Island and have two grown sons.
Lew Mandell
Lew Mandell

Lew is an economist who specializes in the financial behavior of consumers.  An island resident since 2006, Lew and his wife Nancy live on Point White Drive.  He is Professor Emeritus of Finance and Managerial Economics and former Dean of the Business School at SUNY-Buffalo and served as the Kermit Hanson Professor of Finance at the University of Washington from 2008 to 2011.  Lew teaches and lectures throughout the world and is a consultant to the World Bank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  His 22nd book What to Do When I Get Stupid just came out.
Suzanne Merriman
Suzanne Merriman

Suzanne (Zan) Merriman was raised in the East Coast tradition that values the outdoors, a gene carried through both parents. She spent summers in a log house on five acres in Putnam County NY. There were salamanders under rocks and fireflies at night. Vacations in Vermont: one of Zan's favorite childhood memories is walking through a wood of maple trees down to a fast moving river and reaching her hand into the chilly water to catch a fish. And she caught one. The fish were so plentiful and she had the grasp and dreams of a child. Those woods, hills and valleys of Vermont populate Zan's memory to this day: the smells, the sounds, the wildlife. Bainbridge is a place like that, worth preserving, worth enjoying for generations. After graduating from Boston University with a BS in journalism she spent several years in Washington DC, working and pursuing a graduate degree in cultural anthropology. When reality hit--later in life than it did for many--Zan decided to get an MBA (UC Berkeley 1983). A career in finance followed, running parallel with her interest raising money for non-profits. Zan loves Bainbridge and is delighted to be considered for a role with the BI Land Trust to help preserve the best of this island for all to enjoy.
Matt Otepka
Matt Otepka

Shortly after moving to the Island in 2006, Matt and his wife Sara welcomed their first child. It was during his first year of parenthood that Matt became familiar with the Land Trust as it seemed the only time his infant son would sleep was after he had been strapped to a parent and walked through the woods. Since then, Matt and Sara have crisscrossed the Island many times, often on Land Trust trails with a kid on their back. These first family walks on Land Trust properties made it clear to Matt that he was someplace special and convinced him to lend a hand. Soon, Matt was helping the Land Trust Communications Committee with quarterly newsletters and annual reports until a two-year work project for Sara took them to Europe. Upon their return to the Island in 2012, Matt remained at home with the kids and did not immediately return to his previous career in public relations and marketing for high-tech companies. Today, Matt is building a company on Bainbridge focused on up-cycling electronic waste to create new technologies for businesses and consumers. When he's not with family or friends hiking the Island or digging in the garden, Matt prefers stalking trout with a fly rod in hand.
Asha Rehnberg
Asha Rehnberg

In 2002, Asha parlayed her experience as a senior real estate paralegal in Minneapolis into a personally much more meaningful second career in the NW Land Trust community. She has served as land protection project manager and later as conservation director for the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy (formerly Inland NW Land Trust) in Spokane, WA, as a board member for the Bowen Island Conservancy in British Columbia, and from 2008-2013 as the executive director of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.  After stepping down from that role, she has continued to be a committed and active land trust volunteer, serving on its finance, fundraising and projects committees ever since, and recently also becoming a volunteer lead steward for the Land Trust's Carlson conservation easement. Asha and her business partner husband Larry Pluimer live on Bainbridge and run two businesses out of their island home, ably assisted by two rascally cats and the best dog ever.

Deb Rudnick
Deb Rudnick

Deb Rudnick is an ecologist and has lived on Bainbridge for the past decade. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Brown University. Deb has fifteen years of professional experience in stream, wetland and estuarine ecology and ecological risk assessment. She has worked across many ecosystems throughout several areas of North America for a variety of private, non-profit, and government institutions and agencies in research, risk assessment, and natural resource management positions. She has chaired the Bainbridge Island Watershed Council and manages the Council's salmon monitoring and conservation programs. She serves as vice-chair of the Bainbridge Island Environmental Technical Advisory Committee that advises City staff and Council on environmental programs including the local shoreline and critical areas ordinances. She sits on the BILT Stewardship Committee and is the lead steward for Meig's Park and Farm.  Deb is married to Rob Ast, an emergency physician with Harrison Hospital, and they have one daughter and a silly boxer dog, Henri, who are both seven years old. 
Gene Seligmann
Gene Seligmann

Gene has lived on Bainbridge Island, including several years in North Kitsap, over 40 years.   Before moving here in 1972, he had been an annual visitor to the Island with family and friends.  Recently retired from his full time "small town" law practice in Seattle, he continues to represent long-time clients from his home.  While in practice in Seattle, Gene was a Trustee of the King County Bar Association and trustee and officer of the King County Bar Foundation.  Over the years, Gene has also represented property owners on the Island in a variety of transactions including transfers involving the Land Trust.  He loves to walk the trails on Bainbridge; his growing awareness of the impact of the passage of time on the Island has sparked his interest in participating in the good works of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.
Jane Stone
Jane Stone, Executive Director

Jane Myers Stone first arrived on Bainbridge Island in 1984.  At that time there were few truly public open spaces but thousands of acres of private undeveloped land that were used as de facto parks.  She recalls attending one of the first organizational meetings of the Land Trust and was later involved with both the board or projects committee from 1997 through 2007.  She's excited to return to the Land Trust, which has truly "grown-up" to become a successful conserver of the Island's beautiful places, for the benefit of all.  As a geotechnical engineer who has practiced on Bainbridge for over 28 years, she has seen dramatic changes to our local landscape.  Look for Jane on the island's many trail systems; fishing, backpacking or skiing in the mountains; and enjoying a home grown meal from the garden.
Brenda Padgham
Brenda Padgham, Conservation Director

Brenda brings over 27 years of natural resource, community engagement and public relations experience to the Land Trust through her involvement with a number of non-profit, state and local organizations and agencies including the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, local and state Audubon Societies, the Watershed Information Center in Yakima, and more. Brenda joined the Land Trust in 2006. Working with landowners, volunteers and the community, Brenda oversees the Land Trust's Stewardship Program, which helps ensure protected properties retain their conservation values - forever. She also is involved in major initiatives of the Land Trust such as new acquisitions, restoration projects and conservation planning. Brenda is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, with the past 23 years spent in Washington. She lives on the Island and constantly explores the rivers, mountains, coastlines and more of the PNW with her son James, her dog Homer, and friends and family.
Laura O'Mara
Laura O'Mara, Membership Director

Laura feels entirely fortunate to work with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust--the Board, Staff and Members are a remarkable group. Having worked for a number of non-profits in paid and volunteer roles, she joined the Land Trust staff at the urging of a BILT member as the last of her three children entered 1st grade. Laura frequents Island trails with her husband, children, dog and friends--always in awe of the great physical beauty that surrounds us. She continually works with native plant restoration on her family's South-end property and plans to reside on the Island forever.
Debbie Rimkus
Debbie Rimkus, Office Administrator & Events Coordinator

Debbie Rimkus moved to Bainbridge Island in 1999 from the Washington DC area. She has both an administrative and non-profit background. As the former parish administrator for Grace Church, she also has extensive experience with large events. Debbie and her husband Andy raised two children and still enjoy family vacations that involve hiking. They feel fortunate to live on beautiful Bainbridge Island and as Meadowmeer residents are frequently out on the Grand Forest trails. In addition to hiking, Debbie enjoys reading, knitting and music.
Avery Bowron
Avery Bowron, Stewardship Coordinator

Avery is joining the Stewardship team at BILT after two years of ecological restoration work with EarthCorps and a summer of noxious weed control work with King County.  In his spare time, Avery enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, unnecessarily cooking everything from scratch and learning more about the flora, fauna, and fungi of the Pacific Northwest.  Avery earned a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from Macalester College, and a certificate in Wetland Science and Management from the University of Washington.  Growing up in Olympia, Washington and spending time in the wilderness gave him a love of nature and need to spend time outdoors.  In college, Avery learned to love cities, too, and to see them as integral to solving many of the environmental challenges we face as a society, but has been troubled by the idea that we must escape from the city to immerse ourselves in nature.  He believes that to build a truly sustainable future, it's crucial we find ways to make cities more livable and learn to see them as interconnected parts of our natural environment.  Avery will have the primary responsibility of working closely with conservation easement landowners and volunteer land stewards to oversee the ongoing stewardship of easement properties, and he will have an active role assisting with restoration and conservation initiatives of the Land Trust.
Sinclair Ball
Sinclair Ball, Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Growing up on Bainbridge Island, Sinclair spent her summers at the beach or exploring the Grand Forest on her bike. After graduating high school she moved to Seattle where she earned a bachelor's degree in Humanities for Leadership from Seattle University. During her time there she was also able to take a geology and natural history class that rekindled her interest in the outdoors. Sinclair comes to us with first-hand knowledge of the Land Trust having participated in our SCoCo program as both a high school student and this past summer as a leader working for BIMPRD. In her spare time Sinclair enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and playing with her son.
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