Cascadia Conservation District
Serving Chelan County

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead


 

Links:

Committed to Conservation

The Cascadia Conservation District is self-governed by a volunteer Board of Supervisors who oversee the work of ten dedicated staff members with a broad range of expertise. Both are committed to the wise use of natural resources and understand the value of voluntary, locally-led conservation in our communities.

Members of the Board of Supervisors serve three-year terms and work to establish priorities, set policy and supervise District staff. The Board consists of three members elected by District voters and two members appointed by the Washington State Conservation Commission through an application process. The Board may also consist of associate members appointed by current Board members. Associate members may attend board meetings and weigh-in on issues, but are not granted voting rights.

 

Board of Supervisors

The Cascadia Conservation District Board of Supervisors holds regularly scheduled meetings on the third Tuesday of every month at 3:30 PM. Meetings are open to the public. For updated meeting information visit our Meetings & Events page.

Josh Koempel, Chair

Roger Wristen, Auditor
Junell Wentz, Member

Jim Bartelme, Member

Moving south from Alaska in 2003, Jim returned to his roots in the Wenatchee Valley after a 30+ year career with the US Forest Service.  During retirement, Jim enjoys supporting the efforts of the Cascadia Conservation District (CCD) assisting voluntary land owners with technical and financial assistance to implement state of the art natural resource conservation measures on their property and the CCD’s efforts promoting conservation measures through outreach and education programs.   He started working with the CCD in 2005 by participating as an interested land owner in the Peshastin Creek Drainage Community Wildfire Protection Plan and has continued to be an active member of the CCD.  Jim also likes being in the outdoors, especially back country camping and high lake fishing.

Rita Lovett, Member

Rita and her family moved to Wenatchee from Alaska in 2016 to be closer to extended family and to enjoy the four seasons and outdoor activities of this area. She is Corporate Counsel for Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, where she focuses on commercial transactions and regulatory compliance. As an attorney, Rita has advised agricultural industry clients, a fortune 50 oil and gas company, and the State of Alaska's natural resource agencies. She spent two years on Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East providing legal support for oil and gas development projects. Rita has a strong interest in responsible development and resource conservation. She believes in reducing consumption and in recycling and reusing existing resources, including the difference each of us can make by composting organic waste. Since moving to Wenatchee, she has developed an interest in sustainable farming practices and water use.

 

Larry Cordes, Associate
Conard Petersen, Associate

 

Contact information for each employee is included below. Employees are listed in alphabetical order by their last name. Visit our Contact Us page for mailing information.

 

Staff Members

Mark Amara

Archaeologist

Bio coming soon!

MarySutton Carruthers

Resource Specialist II

MarySutton has ten years of experience working in the natural resource field including water quality and fish habitat work in Skagit County and forest restoration and salmon recovery work in eastern Washington. She holds a B.S. from University of Vermont focusing on environmental science and conservation biology and a M.S. from Western Washington with a focus on freshwater resources.

Michael Cushman

Program Director

Mike has lived in Wenatchee since 2002 and has worked at the District since 2012. Before Cascadia he worked in Geotechnical and Environmental consulting in soil and groundwater remediation, engineering geology, and project management. Throughout these experiences he has found the greatest reward in working with people, sometimes through difficult situations (flooding, landslides, wildfires), is in finding solutions that not only benefit the resource, but also the landowner. When not working, Mike can be found outside with his wife and kids or behind a camera.

Peggy Entzel 

District Administrator

Peggy was raised on a farm in Central Washington, graduated from Trend Business College and worked in insurance before becoming the District’s part-time secretary in 1986. Peggy handled the shared office with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, helped with data entry for the Cashmere Mountain Soil Survey, and assisted with water quality monitoring and the Kids in the Creek outdoor education program. As the District grew, she was asked to take on the leadership role.  Today, Peggy focuses on financial, personnel, and office management. She spends her free time with her three grandchildren, and enjoys visiting with family and friends.

Patrick Haggerty 

Project Coordinator II

Patrick Haggerty began his career on a dairy farm, and after pursuing an education in natural resource management he found himself exploring the world through work as a commercial fishermen, wildlife biologist, fisheries biologist, wildland fire fighter and forester. At Cascadia he utilizes his diverse experience to provide technical assistance and conservation planning for landowners to assist them in the wise stewardship of their natural resources based on sound science. His work currently focuses on improving forest health across landscapes, and helping communities prepare for and recover from wildfire.

Valerie Hampton 

Administrative Assistant

Playing in the woods, riding horses, fishing, and outdoor science classes in grade school gave Valerie an early appreciation for nature. Education at Central Washington University in Journalism/Public Relations and experience in bookkeeping formed the backdrop to Valerie’s introduction to resource conservation. In 1996, Valerie started with the District as a part-time secretary. Her interesting and varied tasks now include assisting with grant invoicing, financial reporting, payroll, benefits, budgeting, contracting, staff support and policy development. Married, with two adult children and one grandson, Valerie enjoys family time, cooking, and word games.

Kim Lancaster

Archaeologist 

 Bio coming soon!

Amanda Levesque Newell

Education & Outreach Specialist

Amanda Newell manages the education and outreach programs for Cascadia Conservation District. Some of these efforts include: a quarterly newsletter, coordinating the Kids in the Creek outdoor education program, managing the Firewise program, as well as participating in many outreach and education events throughout the year, such as: Earth Day Fairs and the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival. Amanda has a Bachelor's degree in Communication with a Minor in Latin American Studies from San Diego State University. She also enjoyed study abroad terms in Costa Rica and Italy. In her free time Amanda enjoys world travel, outdoor recreation, spending time with family & friends, and running her small blueberry farm. Amanda has been with Cascadia since October 2010.

 

Sandy Letzing 

Resource Specialist II

Sandy Letzing a 2014 addition to the team, does a her primary work running the Urban Ag program, cost-share program and providing technical assistance and conservation planning to landowners, and was recently voted most likely to give (brutally) honest feedback by the staff.

Sandy grew up in Seattle and spent several years in Corvallis and Sun Valley ID as a biologist, professor, ski fanatic, medic and firefighter.  She has a B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Water Resources, a MRS to a F.S. rappeller and has one son.  Find her on the slopes, a bike or in a kitchen in her free time. 

Ken Muir

Project Coordinator II

Ken has worked as a Project Coordinator for Cascadia Conservation District since 2017. The focus of his work has been on salmon recovery and habitat restoration projects. Ken has education and background on river geomorphology and hydrology as well as water quality and fish monitoring. He has planned, implemented and monitored restoration projects throughout the Upper Columbia River area. Prior to joining the district, Ken has worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service as well as private consulting working with various endangered species throughout Texas and Washington State.  As a graduate from Texas Tech University, Ken is passionate about conservational biology and restoration ecology. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, birding, gardening as well as brewing beer. 

Sasha Vafaei

AmeriCorps Member

Sasha is a recent graduate from University of California, Davis, where she completed a degree in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. She has a background in botany and field research, with an emphasis on habitat restoration. She is passionate about environmental stewardship and animal welfare.

Sasha's primary responsibilities with Cascadia will be: bringing environmental education to students throughout Chelan County, coordinating our Native Plant Sale and Native Planting 101 Workshop, coordinating volunteer programs and more! 

Nada Wentz

Office Assistant

Cascadia Conservation District hired Nada 11 years ago for the position of Office Assistant. As an Office Assistant her duties included receptionist, clerical, filing, taking meeting minutes, Board meeting schedules and prep, and mailing of correspondence.  She has held clerical and bookkeeping positions prior to becoming a mom, but she chose to stay home with her four children until they were grown. While at home with her family, in-home daycare and piano lessons helped with the family income. She enjoys canning fruit, sewing, card making, knitting and baking. "Raising a family has deeply ingrained the need for good stewardship practices, not just financially, but in taking good care of all that we need and enjoy.  She considers herself blessed to be allowed to work for Cascadia Conservation District and with the staff."