Donate Now! Subscribe
 

Staff

Photo Courtesy of Tom UniackTom Uniack (he/him)
Executive Director

Tom joined Washington Wild in 2003 after graduating from the Master’s program at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. For 13 years he served as Washington Wild’s Conservation Director and in early 2016 was named Executive Director. His leadership role within a core group of both local and regional Wilderness advocates has significantly advanced the protection and restoration of Washington’s wild land and waters. This notably includes the successful passage of the Wild Sky Wilderness Act (2008) and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions Act (2014).

Tom’s role as Executive Director has been carefully structured to combine organizational and mission leadership. His ability and passion to lead both Washington Wild and the conservation community will ensure continued success in protecting wild lands and waters in the beautiful state of Washington, now and for future generations.

Prior to grad school, Tom was with Defenders of Wildlife for seven years in Washington, D.C. where he worked on a range of issues from Arctic wilderness to preserving Florida black bears. Tom and his wife, Stephanie, are the proud parents of son Luke, and twins Charlize and Sierra.


Evan Lepine (he/him)
Deputy Director     

Evan joined Washington Wild in July of 2019. He grew up in Northern Michigan exploring everywhere from Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior, to the sand dunes of Sleeping Bear National Park near his hometown of Traverse City. 

With years of development experience, his main focus is to strategize, create, and implement a comprehensive fundraising program that will increase both engagement and financial support for the organization and its programs. Celebrating 11 years in Washington, Evan and his family enjoy paddleboarding on Lake Washington, snowboarding at Stevens Pass, and backpacking in the North Cascades. 


Chris Chappell (he/him)
Brewshed® Alliance Director 

Chris joined Washington Wild in February 2020 to manage the Brewshed® Alliance and Washington Wild’s conservation campaigns. Hailing from the Sonoran Desert (Phoenix, AZ), Chris has a background in conservation and craft brewing, spending 4 years with The Nature Conservancy in Arizona and 2 years with Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.

His focus with the Brewshed Alliance is to build a community of brewers, maltsters, hop growers, pub owners, etc. around protecting our incredibly valuable wildlands and waterways now and forever. While not at work, you can find Chris in any of the Seattle area’s music venues, breweries, or forests.


Kaeli Fertal (she/her)
Communications and Engagement Manager

Kaeli joined Washington Wild in November 2022. Growing up exploring the rocky coastlines of New England, Kaeli’s fascination with marine ecosystems led to her pursuit of a degree in marine biology at the University of Rhode Island. After earning her degree, Kaeli worked in a variety of settings—from field and lab-based scientific research, to compliance monitoring and informal environmental education.

As the Communications and Engagement Manager, her goal is to inform and empower our communities to realize a sustainable and environmentally just future for all. Outside the office, you can find Kaeli with her husband and their adorable pup Finley, catching waves along the coast, enjoying a hike in the Cascades, or plotting their next adventure over a cold beer. 


Christal Belsterling (she/her)
Business and Finance Manager   

Christal joined Washington Wild in June 2023 after graduating from Bethel University with a degree in Business HR and a minor in Reconciliation Studies. She grew up exploring the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood Forest, which helped cultivate her love for the Pacific Northwest and the drive to care for it.

As Business Coordinator, Christal works to oversee our database, membership, and assists with our Wild Night Out Event. Outside of work, Christal enjoys going hiking and backpacking with her sisters or working on her various craft projects ranging from embroidery to lettering.


Board of Directors

If you are interested in joining the Washington Wild Board of Directors click here for more information.

Nick Lipsky
President

Nick Lipsky joined the Washington Wild Board in December of 2019. Born and raised in the Seattle area, Nick was lucky enough to have access to the lands, lakes, and waterways we are trying to protect to this day. He spent part of his summers growing up in the YMCA Camp Orkila program exploring Orcas Island and other San Juan Islands as well as participated in trail upkeep efforts through Garfield High School within the Cleveland Memorial Forest. He graduated from Western Washington with his BA in Marketing and received his MBA from Seattle University. He currently works for Coinstar as a Senior Account Manager/Client Partner. He was drawn into Washington Wild and their strong sense of responsibility for our environment by his wife Kristen who served as a graphic designer for Wild Night Out and the monthly newsletter. After several events he was hooked and wanted to find a way to further support the mission of Washington Wild. 

Nick, his wife Kristen, and their two kids are all lifetime Washingtonians and look forward to keeping it that way. They love to explore the wilderness on family hikes and trips throughout the PNW, including BC.


Jessica McCarthy

Jessica McCarthy
Vice President

Jessica joined Washington Wild in March 2020. Growing up in the Seattle area, her connection with the outdoors began with childhood mornings spent fly fishing with her dad in Washington’s pristine rivers and endless hours spent in the woods near her home. While the ocean remains her first love, she spends as much time as possible in the mountains as an avid hiker. Jessica has a B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University, an M.P.A. in Social Policy from the University of Washington, and 20 years of nonprofit development and leadership experience. She is passionate about conservation, climate change awareness, and making these issues more accessible to underrepresented groups. She was drawn to Washington Wild for their history of successfully building coalitions to bring about positive change and is excited to continue supporting that legacy.  

Jessica lives in West Seattle and her favorite woodland animal is the pika.


Raymond Kwan
Treasurer

As the Director of Operations and Co-founder of Lucky Envelope Brewing, Ray has been an active member of the Washington Wild Brewshed Alliance from the start. Ray had aspirations to start his own business beginning in high school. After pursuing a traditional finance career path in Los Angeles & Seattle and obtaining his MBA from Georgetown University (Hoya Saxa!), he finally made the decision to pursue his passion of being his own boss.

As a New Jersey native, Ray has an affinity for pizza, bagels, and 24-hour diners. When he is not working at Lucky Envelope he can be found taking photographs of local events (including Wild Night Out!), cyclocross races, and the great outdoors. He also enjoys taking fun photos with his cat, Skipper, typically with the use of a green screen and some bad photoshop skills.



Colin Kikawa

Secretary

Colin joined the Washington Wild Board in September 2020. Growing up in Southern California he developed a love of nature by visiting the National Parks with his family.

He fell in love with the Pacific Northwest after moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington. He and his wife Katie have raised a family with a love of all things outdoors and a great appreciation of the natural beauty of the area. Colin has enjoyed winters skiing at Crystal Mountain where he has been a part-time snow sports instructor for more than 15 years. In the summer, he has enjoyed climbing most of the area’s volcanic summits and is now looking to spend more time hiking and fly fishing.

This love of the outdoors and knowing that these resources must be preserved and protected for future generations drew him to join the Washington Wild board.



Trey Bertram

Board Member

Originally from Minnesota, Trey ventured to the Bay Area before discovering the extraordinary beauty of Washington State upon relocating here in 2019.

Exploring Washington’s wild places sparked his curiosity, leading him to immerse myself in literature such as Wilderness Alps: Conservation and Conflict in Washington’s North Cascades and Olympic Battleground: The Power Politics of Timber Preservation. These works underscore the profound legacy of Washington Wild. He’s proud to contribute to safeguarding our natural treasures.

In his leisure time, he cherishes moments of fly fishing, cycling, and hiking, often with his family by his side.

 



Megan Blackstone, WA Wild BoardMegan Blackstone

Board Member

Megan has over 10 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant specializing in audit. She has worked in both public accounting as an external auditor and in industry as an internal auditor with a Certified Internal Auditor designation. Megan has served as a member of the DEI counsel at TrueBlue and as a chair of Healthy Minds Collective, a mental health employee resource group.

Megan is also an apprentice beekeeper certified with the Washington State Beekeepers Association and an organic gardener, who focuses on planting to support native pollinators. Passionate about conservation and preserving our wild spaces, she is excited to join the finance committee of Washington Wild.

 



Lyndsay Gordon

Board Member

Lyndsay has a long history with Washington Wild. Starting as a volunteer in 2007, she eventually joined the staff in 2013. Utilizing her experience and industry knowledge gained by working at two different breweries and earning Cicerone Certification, Lyndsay took the reins of the fledgling Brewshed® Alliance. Instrumental to its growth, Lyndsay’s expertise contributed significantly to realizing the vision of the Brewshed®—to bring the conservation and craft brewing industry together to advance our shared interest in protecting clean water sources.

In 2019 she returned to get her Master’s in Public Policy & Governance with a focus on environmental policy and public finance.  After graduate school, she started at the Department of Ecology in the Toxics Cleanup Program, where she works to help clean up legacy contamination throughout the state.

Her love of the outdoors started at a young age through hikes, tent trailer camping, backpacking, and a general desire to explore the great outdoors.


Roberta Moore
Board Member

Roberta and her husband David recently moved from rural Nevada to Washington in August 2021, after almost 30 years of living in wide open spaces, just two miles from Great Basin National Park, in the foothills of the Snake Range (and in the middle of the Hydrographic Great Basin).

Growing up in Los Angeles, my family escaped to the Sierra Nevada, and those experiences instilled in me the inherent value of wild places and how, if we didn’t protect them, they could soon disappear. Our diverse and beautiful landscape is a priceless inheritance we leave for our children and future generations.                                          

Roberta, a retired National Park Service Ranger/Interpreter, author and co-editor of Wild Nevada: Testimonies on Behalf of the Desert, is a conservationist, dedicated to protecting wilderness and public lands. She is also on the Board of Directors for Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

Roberta (Conservationist, author, graphic designer, visual artist, musician/singer) is dedicated to utilizing those talents to convey her passion for natural and cultural histories.


Brian Muegge
Board Member

Brian is the Farm Program Manager for Salmon-Safe, a PNW-based environmental certification non-profit working with landowners to better promote watershed-friendly stewardship practices.

A wildlife biologist by trade, he has worked in several fields prior to joining Salmon-Safe – from working for the US Forest Service, a foodtech startup, to a couple Washington state craft breweries. Brian manages Salmon-Safe’s agricultural program throughout the Pacific Northwest, largely working with farmers directly as well as with place-based partners to further facilitate climate-resilient land stewardship practices.

Brian is acutely dedicated to enacting sustainable land practices in order to protect natural resources and wildlife, and is passionate about connecting with people across urban and agricultural settings to find common ground relating to conservation.

In his free time he can be found birding, fly-fishing, attending various sporting events, and reveling in his role as “Fun Uncle” to his 3 year old nephew. 


Steve Robinson
Board Member

Stephen “Steve” Robinson is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and a Native of the Pacific Northwest. He is a US Army veteran and has fifty years of experience in the communication field, serving as a newspaper reporter, a corporate public relations executive, Public Affairs Manager for the State Department of Natural Resources, Information Services Manager for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, and owner of SR Productions, a tribal support company. 

Steve served as Billy Frank Jr’s “PR Guy” for 30 years. His focus through the past three decades has centered on environmental protection and habitat restoration from the perspective of the tribes. Since retiring his public relations/lobbying business in 2019 he has become more active in volunteer work, serving on several environmental/Climate Change boards and committees. He is of Salish Kootenai descent.


Scott Schuyler
Board Member

Scott is a member and lifelong resident of the Upper Skagit Tribe; his mother is an Upper Skagit and his late father was Oneida. 

He attended Skagit Valley College, The Evergreen State College, and the University of Washington. Serving as the Natural Resources Policy Representative for his Tribe since 1987, Scott has been instrumental in protecting the Skagit River from mining and other destructive activities.

An avid tribal fisher for over 42 years, Scott is also a proud father of four and grandfather of six.


Caitlin Singer
Board Member

Caitlin joined the Washington Wild Board in May 2022 and is a committed member of the Brewshed® Alliance Committee. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Caitlin made her way up north to attend the University of Washington to study how people’s attitudes and behaviors affect the environment around them. She works as the Quality & Sustainability Manager at Georgetown Brewing, where she is passionate about finding new ways to enhance the brewery’s environmental footprint. She also loves to find new tomato varieties, new beers to support, and new ways to get out of her comfort zone. 


Roger Mellem, Immediate Past Board PresidentRoger Mellem
Board Member Emeritus

Roger Mellem has been an avid wilderness conservationist since before the first Earth Day in 1970. He has testified at many Congressional hearings and was the Sierra Club’s Acting Northwest Representative in 1973. Roger is a Life Member of the Sierra Club, Olympic Park Associates, and Montana Wilderness Association. He is also a member of a Yale University international environmental committee, the Leadership Council of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Roger is an attorney at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC in Seattle. He prosecutes, defends and resolves tough securities, real estate and other commercial cases on behalf of businesses and individuals, and serves as a mediator as well.

Roger graduated from the Honors College of the University of Oregon. Prior to entering law school, he spent four years managing environmental issues in Oregon government. Roger obtained his first year of legal training at the Yale Law School. He then transferred to the University of Oregon Law School, where he graduated second in his class. He clerked for a federal judge in Oregon for two years and then joined a Seattle law firm.

Roger’s affection of the outdoors involves climbing. In 1974 he did the first ascent of a 20,300-foot peak in northern Pakistan with the late wilderness advocate Willi Unsoeld. Roger instructed for the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School for parts of five summers, and during 2011 he climbed in the Colorado Rockies, Ecuadorian Andes and the Nepal Himalaya.


Art Wolfe
Conservation Photographer 
Washington Wild Honorary Chair 

I am honored to have just hit my 5-year Anniversary as an Honorary Chair for Washington Wild. By supporting Washington Wild, you are joining thousands of Wilderness Advocates across the state to make sure these places stay preserved for future generations to come. In this time of uncertainty, it is imperative to protect and defend the wild places that feed our spirit. Washington Wild is prepared to fight harder than ever to protect our conservation investment in the snowcapped mountains, low-elevation old growth forests and salmon spawning streams that make Washington State such a remarkable place.