Meet Our Staff
The Whidbey Island Conservation District currently has a modest staff of three full-time and four part-time employees. For information or assistance about our programs & services - farm & ag assistance, forest stewardship, Firewise & wildfire preparedness, water resource management, backyard & habitat conservation, native plants, or other questions related to natural resource conservation on your land, please call or stop by our office located in the historic Williams House at 1 NE 4th St., Coupeville. Our general working hours are Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Please note that our office is now closed to visitors. According to current CDC data, our county is experiencing a high level of risk of COVID-19 transmission. In order to keep our community members and staff safe, we have closed our office to visitors and our team is working remotely.
Have a general question or comment, but not sure who to direct it to? Here are several ways to contact us:
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What to Expect When Requesting Assistance from the Whidbey Island Conservation District
- Our services are free and voluntary, so lots of folks love to work with us, and we look forward to working with you!
- We have 2 staff who assist with satisfying client requests
- We assist requests in the order that they are received
- Please allow for 2 weeks for an initial reply
- General info requests take approximately 1 month to respond to
- New site visit requests to properties are on a 6-month waitlist currently
- Farm, animal, and waste management plans are on a 1-year waitlist currently
- Here is a list of directories and/or organizations which may be able to respond to your request sooner. We can not recommend private sector professionals as a government entity, so have included directories housed by other entities that are populated by the professionals themselves:
- Agriculture & Forestry Professionals Directory via USDA - https://nrcs-sites.secure.force.com/FindaTSP
- Forester & Silvicultural Contractors Directory via WSU Extension - https://bit.ly/3xT2eVJ
- Arborists Directory Pacific NW International Society of Arboriculture - https://bit.ly/37S8YJ6
- Online Learning Module for Understanding Wildfire Threat to Homes - https://bit.ly/3AOeCID
- Environmental Consultants Directory for Wetlands & Wildlife - https://bit.ly/2VZHY7J
- Landscaping / Gardening Consultation with WSU Master Gardener Hotline - https://bit.ly/3CUTodZ
- Island County Noxious Weed Program Coordinator Consultation - https://bit.ly/2VXnHQe
- Construction / Land Development Contractors Directory via SICBA - https://www.sicba.org/list/
Management & Operations Team
Our Management and Operations Team helps oversee the operations and function of the District. This is represented by one full time and one part time employee. Read below to learn more about Heather and Michelle.
Heather joined the District in June of 2021 as the new District Manager. She moved to the Pacific Northwest from northern California, where she was the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. Prior to her work in Santa Cruz, she led the education and exhibits departments of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and its marine science-focused sister institution, the Sea Center. Heather has a Bachelor’s in Geology from Smith College and two Masters of Science focused in paleontology and geology from the University of Southern California and the University of Rochester. For more than 20 years, her career has focused on connecting people with the natural world and inspiring stewardship of it. She is thrilled to lead the District in its mission to provide natural resource expertise and support to all of Whidbey.
Heather is available Monday - Friday.
FINANCE & OPERATIONS MANAGER
Michelle joined the District in May of 2021 as the Finance & Operations Manager and brings over 15 years of experience in the Finance and Operations world. Michelle moved to the Pacific Northwest from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012 where she worked as a Finance Director and Consultant to Professional Services Firms and Non-Profits. Most recently she worked with Sound Salmon Solutions, a Washington State Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group and is currently their Board Treasurer. Michelle has thoroughly enjoyed the Pacific Northwest’s nature and has taken advantage of the beautiful hiking areas on Whidbey Island, where she now lives. Michelle is also an avid gardener and is learning to enjoy the Pacific Northwest weather by cooking, knitting, gardening (sometimes in the rain), and putting on rain gear to enjoy the outdoors with her dog Issie.
Michelle is available Monday - Thursday.
Education & Outreach Team
Our Education & Outreach Team consists of a part-time, project specific Education professional. Read below to learn more about Allison.
NATURAL RESOURCE EDUCATOR
Allison joined the District in October of 2021 as the Natural Resource Educator. She a is a former environmental non-profit leader with over a decade of experience in sustainable farming, ecological restoration, and public education. Allison has a long history of gardening and love of food dating back to her childhood, on through volunteerism and professional pursuits. She has been improving non-profit systems since managing Books to Prisoners Olympia while pursuing her Bachelor of Arts at The Evergreen State College. After two years traveling with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program, she dedicated herself to creating more just, effective urban farms in Seattle as a Children's Garden Educator, Master Gardener, Farm Manager and Executive with Alleycat Acres, and Executive Director of The Common Acre. She is thrilled to be embarking on her own family farming journey here on Whidbey Island at Pickle Smoke Farm.
Allison is available Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Planning & Technical Assistance Team
Our Planning & Technical Assistance Team delivers public education and technical assistance services for the District. Each planner has their area of emphasis in helping residents and landowners on Whidbey Island. This is represented by two full-time employees. Read below to learn more about Kelsi and Gwendolyn.
NATURAL RESOURCE PLANNER
Farm & Livestock
Kelsi joined the District team in fall 2016 and served as the Marketing, Education & Outreach Coordinator for three years. In 2019, she transitioned into the role of Natural Resource Planner, offering technical planning assistance with an emphasis on forestry, farm and ranch operations, and coordinates the Whidbey Island Firewise Program on property wildfire preparedness. A sixth-generation Whidbey Islander from Coupeville with a family history in agriculture, forestry, and the trades, Kelsi has over thirteen of years experience in the fields of natural resources and education. She is a graduate of Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, and holds a Masters of Education with a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership & Administration.
Kelsi is available Monday - Friday.
NATURAL RESOURCE PLANNER
Gwendolyn joined the District in Spring of 2019 and has over ten years of experience as an environmental biologist, including five years as a Lead Biologist Scientist in the Water Management Section for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Utilizing her BSc. Oceanography (U. Washington, USA) and MSc Taxonomy and Biodiversity of Plants (U. Edinburgh, Scotland), most of her career has been based around water quality, land use & development, endangered species, water resource management, and environmental critical areas. Gwendolyn’s desire to serve her community in a non-regulatory role has brought her an opportunity to contribute her expertise and knowledge to the District as a Natural Resource Planner.
Gwendolyn is available Monday - Friday.
Whidbey Island Conservation District is one of 45 conservation districts in Washington state that serve its 39 counties. The District is part of the 12 Puget Sound Conservation Districts Caucus and, as such, have access to technical specialists, including engineers and foresters. These technical specialists focus on providing services to landowners in multiple conservation districts areas, but are vital parts of the localized conservation district team.
Stacey joined the District team in spring 2021 and serves as Forester for both Island and Snohomish counties, providing forest stewardship and timber management assistance, with an emphasis on forest health. Stacey's time is shared between Whidbey and Snohomish Conservation District, facilitating a regional and coordinated approach to forest management. Stacey earned her Masters in Forest Resources from the University of Washington and subsequently worked as the Forest Manager for the University of Washington’s Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest. She holds a BS in Society and Environment and a minor in Forestry from the University of California, Berkeley. She was born in Fort Bragg, California and grew up in a coastal redwood forest.
Stacey's availability can be determined by emailing her directly. See button below.
Tom is the Washington conservation districts’ Northwest Region engineer, providing licensed professional engineering services to San Juan Conservation District and its counterpart districts in Skagit, Whatcom, and Island counties. Tom’s background includes over twenty years of experience in the environmental field working with public agencies and consulting firms at the local, national, and international level. Tom is particularly interested in natural habitat restoration projects and has assisted individual landowners, non-profit organizations and public agencies in obtaining funding for, permitting, designing and managing construction of scores of such projects. He has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Dartmouth College, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Northeastern University, and a law degree from Seattle University.
Tom's availability can be determined by speaking with our District Manager, Heather McCoy, about your project needs.