Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust Staff
Tom Dean, Executive Director
Tom got his start in the outdoors complaining to his dad about the weight of his pack and the length of the trail. Somehow that morphed into a love of plants, despite the fact that they have no eyes and you can’t bang on their cage and make them move. Again without explanation, Tom was offered a job at the Vashon Land Trust in 2003, and has steadfastly refused to leave ever since.
Tom got his start with plants through the birth of Restore America’s Estuaries, organizing plantings along the Duwamish River with stock from the Judd Creek Nursery. Somehow, that morphed into taking the helm of the Vashon Land Trust – shortly after conservation efforts in the Judd Creek watershed had begun in earnest. All these years later, there is still much work to be done.
Tom’s Land Trust Haiku:
The season when the
Developers stop, we raise a toast
And call the truce
MORE TO COME
Caitlin Ames, Farm Manager – Matsuda Farm
Caitlin Ames holds a BA in International Politics with a minor in sustainable development. Her studies guided her interest in small scale agriculture, which brought her to the Land Trust in 2016. Outside of work, Caitlin sits on the Board of Directors of the Vashon Island Growers Association, where she focuses on improving access to island grown food for all Vashonites. When Caitlin isn’t working or volunteering, she runs our trails, gets into the mountains for backpacking, and loves experimenting in grain free cooking and baking. She’s also great at turning names and descriptions of people she knows into Beatles songs. When you see her, ask her to say coffee, she loves that.
Caitlin’s Land Trust Haiku:
A love of farming
Turns into conservation
Lettuce feed Vashon!
Keller grew up roaming the ravines and forests of Vashon Island as a youngster, and attended the prestigious Co-op Preschool in Burton. Studies in environmental science and an interest in sustainable agriculture brought Keller to the Land Trust as an intern in 2018, then joining the stewardship team the following year. “With our growing network of trails and preserves, the fun never ends!” Working to improve the resiliency of the island’s natural systems is work that anyone can get involved in. If you are interested, drop a line to email@example.com.
Nootka rose bud
Sweet fruit, salty breeze
Sarah Sigmund, Operations Manager
Sarah grew up in the Midwest but spent most of her life, after graduating from Michigan State University, in New England and more recently Southwest Florida. Her love of nature started with summers spent in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado during her childhood. Sarah brings to the Land Trust a wide variety of education and work experience, including technical and graphics arts skills. When not working, you may find her with binoculars in hand on one of the many special Land Trust trails on the Island.
Board of Directors 2020
Jon Thomas, President
After receiving a Bachelor of Architecture from the U of W and a Master of Architecture from Berkley in the early 70’s, Jon discovered the gems that are Vashon and Maury Island. He established an architectural practice on the island in 1973, specializing in housing and the preservation of the islands critical areas.
From 1980 – 1985, he was a faculty member of the Design Department at Cornish College of the Arts.
He was a member of the planning committee for a major revision to the Vashon Community Plan and a board member for a class one water system on the island.
He was a founding board member of Vashon Household and while completing a program to become a King County Land and Water Steward, was invited to join the Board of Land Trust in 1991 and served until 1995. Asked to rejoin the Board in 2005, he is a member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the Stewardship Committee along with serving on other committees.
With decades of experience with many of the islands properties, critical areas, county land use regulations and zoning, water and septic regulations and limitations, he assists the Land Trust in evaluating property acquisitions and easements and planning of long-term goals.
Tom Amorose has lived on Vashon for nearly forty years. His current stint on the Land Trust board is his second, the previous one having taken place in the mid-1990’s. Tom is enrolled in the Washington Forest Stewardship program and works to improve the forest health of his west-side woods. By training, he’s a researcher who currently studies the rhetoric of public lands in the American West.
Tom’s Neill Point Haiku:
Who cares for this patch
of broken plantings and fence?
Nettles bide their time.
Born and raised in Seattle. U.W. grad. Forty years away from the Northwest working as a journalist in California, New York, Washington, D.C. and Southeast Asia. Reporter, editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and helped start the digital news site Crosscut.com. Lifelong sailor and singer. Member: UK-based Ocean Cruising Club. Bass-baritone in Vashon Opera chorus. Maury Island resident. Devoted to the Land Trust’s mission, membership and colleagues on the Board of Directors.
Gene’s Land Trust Haiku:
Often seen over harbor
Today, not so much
Amy Beth Holmes returned to put down roots on Vashon in 2007, after initially falling in love with the island in 1999 when she completed her student teaching at Vashon High School. She and her husband, island born and raised Toby Holmes, accidentally bought a farm and have not looked back since.
Although her initial professional life began as a marine biologist and teacher, after moving to Vashon and beginning to farm, Amy quickly saw how land and sea connected here on our island. She adapted her background knowledge to the scientific pursuit of farming in a way to stay connected and protect the aquatic ecosystem surrounding her farm and home. She listened to stories from her mother-in-law, Shirley Ferris, about her tenure as board member and then president of the Vashon Land Trust. When a fellow friend invited her to join the board, the answer was easy.
Today, Amy not only serves as a board member and the Vice President of the Vashon Maury Island Land Trust, but she also serves as the Vice Chair of the King County Agriculture Commission. These roles inform her work throughout the region as a consulting agricultural expert to government and non-profit organizations. She is fascinated by the inner-workings of code and bureaucracy and loves coming through land easement agreements, and policies that affect what we do here at the Land Trust.
When not geeking out over land use issues, you can often find Amy somewhere on her farm, pruning, harvesting, collecting, or stocking the farmstand. And if she is not there, she must be somewhere fun with her two kids, dancing, skiing, sailing, or traveling the world.
Amy’s Land Trust Haiku:
Farming on Vashon
With a view of what we love
So grateful to serve
Kris Olson is a lawyer, author and weaver. As a lawyer, she taught at Lewis & Clark Law School and served as Oregon’s United States Attorney (appointed by President Clinton). Janet Reno tapped her to be on her Advisory Council, specializing in environmental issues, Native American Affairs and domestic terrorism. Kris currently consults with tribal governments on sovereignty, cultural resource and federal recognition issues. As an author, she wrote the biography Standing Tall published by University of Washington Press and many magazine and journal articles. As a weaver, she built her studio on Luana Beach Road and designs architectural tapestries.
Raised on an island in New York, Kris helped build trails on its Nature Conservancy lands. She was an original member of the bi-state Columbia Gorge Commission and was appointed to the board of the Tribal Lands Program of the Trust for Public Land. As a resident of Oregon for over forty-five years, Kris served on the boards of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, Westwind Stewardship Group, Portland City Club, ACLU, Museum at Warm Springs, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Metropolitan Human Rights Commission, Artists Repertory Theatre, Lezak Social Justice Fellowships at Lewis & Clark, Scandinavian Heritage Foundation, Metropolitan Public Defender and the Oregon College of Art & Craft, among others.
Kris is a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School, mother of five, grandmother of five.
Kris’ Land Trust Haiku:
Our native island
Home to ancestral stewards
May habitat thrive
Tom Spring, Conservation Committee Chair
Tom Spring has been a member of the Land Trust since 2005 and has served on its board since 2010. He is retired from the City of Seattle where he served in various senior management roles in the water utility. In the mid-1990s, Tom was responsible for two very large land exchanges which enabled Seattle to consolidate its ownership of forest lands in its two Cascade Mountain municipal watersheds. He also has experience with streamflow and watershed restoration issues.
He grew up in Tacoma and his family’s Vashon roots go back to the 1890s when his grandfather attended Vashon College in Burton. Tom has lived on lower Fisher Creek since 2004, and has watched his own three grandchildren grow up on Vashon.
Tom holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Puget Sound and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Washington. He served in the Peace Corps in Brazil.
Tom’s Land Trust Haiku:
Salmon, cedars, bog and streams
Trails for dogs and hikers
Plus a farm