Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust Staff

Kate Riley, Executive Director

For over two decades, Kate has focused her work on ‘community conservation’, at the intersection of social and ecological change. Kate holds a MS in environmental engineering and has had a broad career in international development, green infrastructure, and governmental and non-profit management. A firm believer in ‘the long game’, Kate enjoys investing her leadership skills in community outreach for diverse audiences, organizational capacity building, and creative partnerships towards our common goals. Kate can be reached at:

Kate’s Haiku:

The quiet place-
is it the island,
or is it me?


Tom Dean, Conservation 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

Abel Eckhardt, Stewardship Director

Abel was raised in the high desert of Washington State. He moved west of the cascades in search of lush forests, cool temperatures, and an education in environmental science, conservation and community engagement. He has both literally and figuratively built a wonderful life on Vashon island where he is determined to leave a wake of loveliness behind him as he wades through life. He is happy to be providing the island with places to practice Shinrin yoku.

Ryan Jones, Farm Manager – Matsuda Farm

Ryan is an 11-year US Army veteran. He spent his military career as a Combat Medic and Licensed Practical Nurse. After two combat deployments, he came to the realization that he needed to change paths. He spent 18 months as an intern at Matsuda through the Veteran Conservation Corps internship program. After working closely with Caitlin Ames (the former Farm Manager) he was hired to take their place on the farm. Ryan hopes to continue the practices of regenerative agriculture on Matsuda and farm the land with respect and honor the peoples that have stood on the land before him.

Keller Cyra,  Stewardship Coordinator

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

Keller’s Haiku:
Nootka rose bud
Salmonberry thorn
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 2022

Sara Van Fleet, President

Sara Van Fleet discovered Vashon one rainy December day in 1996 and it was love at first sight. She moved to the mossy west side with her husband Sam in 1999 and over the years they have worked to restore and enhance wildlife habitat on their three-acre property. Sara received a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Washington and worked for 18 years as the Associate Director of the Southeast Asia Center at the UW. After leaving the UW in 2016 she has enjoyed digging into her garden and the many wonderful gifts of island life.

Sara’s Land Trust Haiku:
Frozen ground yielding
Melts into spring bog lanterns
Frogs sing loud love songs

Jon Thomas, Past 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, Stewardship Committee Chair

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.

Kris Olson, JEDI Action Alliance Chair

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


Linda Griffith Crayton, Treasurer

Linda Crayton and her family finally moved to Vashon in 2013. Linda was first a member of the Vashon Maury Land Trust before joining the Board (now Treasurer) in 2017. Linda’s business background includes her experience as a CPA working at Price Waterhouse, Chase Manhattan, and Tides Foundation, before running her own small businesses. She is an enthusiastic supporter of the VMLT’s mission.

Linda’s Land Trust Haiku:
Dirt. Duff. Green. Alive.
Vashon trails hum, buzz, and fill
My heart, mind and eyes

Chip Giller

As a Portage resident, Chip Giller represents the hyphen in the land trust’s name. He joined the board in 2008. Chip is the founder of the digital media organization Grist, which he launched in 1999, intent on using a new type of journalism to engage the next generation on environmental issues. Grist now has an audience of more than 2.5 million, and has been especially successful reaching readers in their 20s and early 30s. They follow for information, inspiration, and conversation—as well as an injection of much-needed humor. Chip has been honored with a Heinz Award for launching the country’s most influential green media platform, and been named a TIME magazine “Hero of the Environment.” He is now using the Grist platform to showcase and connect an emerging set of leaders working toward a future that doesn’t suck. Chip is a graduate of Brown University, proud papa of two native Vashonites, and proud husband of one remarkable wife.

Chip’s Land Trust Haiku:

O, muse: Moss, mildew,
Murk, muck — masking maritime
Marvels of m’island.

Scott Hudson, Vice President







Dana Illo,  Secretary & Development Committee Chair

Dana Illo is a native Pacific Northwesterner. She received a BA from The Evergreen State College (Environmental Studies) and an MA from The Leadership Institute of Seattle (Organizational Development). Vocations and avocations of note include working with the Montana Land Reliance and living in the Alaska bush with her young family and 15 Huskies. After moving to Vashon Island in 1990, she was (among other things) a founding board member of the Friends of Fern Cove, managed the Land Trust’s first capital campaign to protect the Shinglemill Watershed, was co-owner of the Lavender Sisters, served on the VIGA board and is currently a member of the Food Access Partnership. She is also an artist and a farmer, with a fondness for dry beans and long walks (Camino de Santiago Compestella and the Dales Way).

Mary Frances Lyons

A mid-west native, only in her 40’s did Mary Fran figure out how wonderful it is to have a view, and thanks to family connections, she wound up with a view on/of Vashon Island.  Her experience as a search consultant has proven valuable in her time on the Land Trust board, dealing with a myriad of issues over the years.  Most importantly, she has had the privilege of being part of a team dedicated to keeping Vashon…Vashon.  It is this same goal that led her to support the Land Trust for years before she was able to actually move here full-time.  Her interest in all things musical led to her composing a rap song detailing the history of Vashon and of the Land Trust.  She is an amateur birder, and it is no coincidence that land preservation efforts are to the benefit of the birds.  But she likes to think that her biggest contribution is making sure the Land Trust is moving forward always, advancing community interests in conservation and open space preservation.

Mary Fran’s Land Trust Haiku:

Glens and vales between
Forests and fields play hopscotch
Homes for all beings

Charley Rosenberry

Charley Rosenberry graduated with a B.A. degree from Whitman College in 1981. He graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 1988.

From 1986 through 1990, Charley worked for Evergreen Legal Services providing legal aid to inmates in the custody of the State of Washington Department of Corrections and patients at Western Washington State Hospital in Steilacoom, WA. From March 1990 to May 1998, Charley worked in the Law Office of Mitchell Riese. Charley provided legal services to youth committed to the State of Washington’s Juvenile Justice & Rehabilitation Administration (JJ&RA).

Charley is currently a solo practitioner. His office is in Vashon, WA. Since November 1998, the State of Washington has awarded Charley the contract to provide legal services for youth in JRA custody. Charley is JJ&RA’s only legal services provider. His clients are in institutions throughout the state and come from every county in the state. The JRA contract comprises nearly all of Charley’s practice.

Charley was an active member of Seattle’s Plymouth Congregational Church. He served on various boards and was Church Moderator from January 2002 to January 2004.

Charley is on the Board of Overseers of Whitman College He served on the Board of Plymouth Housing Group and currently serves on the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust Board. He is active in several charitable foundations.

Charley was the head coach/co-head coach of the Vashon High School Boys Lacrosse Club from 1992 to 2012. Though one of the smallest schools to play lacrosse in Washington, Vashon won the State Championship in 1997 and 2005. Charley was selected Washington High School Lacrosse Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2006. He was chosen for the United States Lacrosse, Washington Chapter, Hall of Fame in 2010

Charley lives with his wife Lanora and her children Megan and Merideth, and dogs, llamas, horses, chickens, and cats on Vashon Island. Charley enjoys working on the farm, packing with his llamas, fly fishing and spending as much time as possible outdoors.

Kirk Starr, Farm Committee Chair

Kirk Starr is a retired pediatrician who has been involved with the Land Trust for 20+ years. He has served on the Board for the past 4 years with a focus on farms and trails. His other interests include the Food Bank, running, backpacking and his garden.

Kirk’s Land Trust Haiku:
The mountain high
The trail long and steep
Oh the glory

Don Stuart

Don Stuart is a former nonprofit organization manager and advocate for natural resource protection. As Northwest Director for American Farmland Trust, he helped create the Farmland Protection Program in the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the Office of Farmland Protection at the Washington State Conservation Commission. He was also a practicing trial attorney, a lobbyist, campaign manager for the successful defense of a statewide ballot initiative, a candidate for Congress, and he and his wife Charlotte built and fished an Alaska commercial salmon troller. Don now enjoys reading, writing, and “messing about with boats.”

Don’s Land Trust Haiku:

Sun-sparks on water
Just a single salmon jumps
Will next year bring more?

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