Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust Staff
Caitlin Ames, Stewardship & Outreach Associate
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!
As Development Director, Erika sees her job as this – making sure that everyone on Vashon knows about the work of the Vashon Land Trust and knows how, where, and when to learn more, to engage, and to contribute to its success. Erika gained her love for wild places and land conservation during summers at the family homestead in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Norther Minnesota. She learned at a young age that wilderness protection is never guaranteed and needs to be defended constantly and vigorously. She is passionate and committed to saving and protecting undeveloped land for people and wildlife and feels privileged to use her 12 years of non-profit fundraising experience here at the Vashon Land Trust. Erika and her family have called Vashon home since 2010. She joined the Land Trust in 2015.
Erika is not a fan of Haiku. Fair enough.
PHOTO coming soon
Julie Grunwald grew up in the Pacific Northwest – happily exploring its beaches, forests, streams and mountains. These early experiences sent her on a trajectory towards her current job working as Operations Manager for the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust. She loves working to preserve and restore critical wildlife habitat, shorelines, watersheds, farmland in central Puget Sound. Julie is proud to help raise awareness about the positive benefits of nature, providing access through public trails, helping the community learn to live side by side with our natural world in a healthy, respectful way.
Julie moved to Vashon Island in 1995, is married and raising two teenage boys in the beautiful playground that is Vashon-Maury Island. She’s happiest by a creek, on a mossy trail, or swooning over birdies through her binoculars.
Julie’s Land Trust Haiku
Love the brilliance of
the wet, green, dark silver ~ life
hums, shimmers brightly
Board of Directors 2018
Tom Amorose, President
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. 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 Holmes, Vice President
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
Jon Thomas, Secretary
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.