The Madrona Institute was incorporated in 2005, received its non-profit status from the IRS in 2006, and began program operations in 2009.
The Madrona Institute operates at the nexus of leadership, stewardship, and partnership… building capacity for community resilience in the years ahead.
The Madrona Institute serves in multiple capacities as a convenor of public lectures, seminars, and workshops addressing self-reliance issues such as food, energy, water, climate change, and associated conflicts local to global; as an educator providing an information clearinghouse on climate change; as an intermediary in inter-governmental relations – local, state, tribal and federal; and as a networker building relationships with organizations that share mutual interests in natural resources conservation and education.
The Board of Directors of the Madrona Institute is responsible for the overall governance of the organization as well as for providing special expertise in financial resource development that advances the organization’s work. Board Officers include Elaine M. Kendall, Secretary; James D. Skoog, Treasurer; and Ronald A. Zee, President. Ms. Kendall serves as a Board member of the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild and the San Juan Farmers Market Association. Mr. Skoog serves as a Board member and Treasurer of the San Juan Island Public School Foundation, as a Commissioner with the San Juan County Land Bank, and was a co-founder of Leadership San Juan Islands and past chair of the San Juan Island Community Foundation. Sarah Crosby, Chair of the Madrona Institute Advisory Council, serves as an ex officio member of the Board.
The Advisory Council of the Madrona Institute is responsible for providing sound counsel in the program direction and general advancement of the organization. The Advisory Council currently includes: Craig A. Bill, Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs; Lincoln Bormann, San Juan County Land Bank; Stephanie Buffum-Field, Friends of the San Juans; Sarah Crosby, Washington League of Women Voters Board (Council Chair); Ed Dillery, former American Ambassador/U.S. Foreign Service (ret.); Kathleen Foley, San Juan Preservation Trust; Jonathan Greenberg, Stanford University & Heenan Blaikie LLP; Kari Koski, Friday Harbor Laboratories; Katie Loring, Leadership San Juan Islands; Linda Lyshall, San Juan Islands Conservation District; Randy Martin, Skagit Valley College; Thom Pence, U.S. Forest Service (ret.); Kevin Ranker, Washington State Senator; Lee Taylor, San Juan Island National Historical Park; Nick Teague, Bureau of Land Management; Mike Vouri, San Juan Island National Historical Park; Jerald Weaver, San Juan Island National Historical Park; and Sandy Wyllie-Echeverria, University of Washington.
Program managers at the Madrona Institute include:
Karrie Cooper, Program Manager & Network Coordinator, Stewardship Network of the San Juans, joined the Madrona Institute April 1, 2012, to coordinate the operations and projects of the Madrona Institute-sponsored Stewardship Network of the San Juans. She has coordinated a number of local environmental programs in the last four years including At the Water’s Edge Lecture Series, It’s a Short Run to the Sea water quality awareness program, KELP: Kayak Education and Leadership Program, and Living Along the Shore shoreline awareness program, working for the San Juan Initiative, The Whale Museum, and Friends of the San Juans. She has worked as a kayak guide for Outdoor Odysseys Kayak Company and as an environmental educator for Sound Experience: The Schooner Adventuress. A graduate of Prescott College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Wilderness Education & Leadership, she is certified as a Marine Naturalist through The Whale Museum Marine Naturalist Training Program.
Sarah Hanson, Program Manager & Crew Leader, San Juan Island Conservation Corps, joined the Madrona Institute June 1, 2012, to direct this youth conservation program. Having worked with the Student Conservation Association since 2003 as a high school conservation crew leader, professional crew leader, and works skills instructor, she is a skilled outdoor educator specializing in youth leadership development and service learning in the natural resources arena. She has experience in trail design, maintenance, construction, and restoration throughout the Western States, has served as a technical advisor and crew supervisor for the Pacific Crest Trail Association and a crew leader for the Washington Trails Association. No stranger to San Juan Island, she was a middle school and high school sports coach for the San Juan Island School District for two years, a former kayak guide with Outdoor Odysseys, and has volunteered with the Garry Oak Restoration Project on San Juan Island and The Whale Museum’s Soundwatch Program. A graduate of Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Geophysics, she is certified in CPR and as a Wilderness First Responder.
Shann Weston, Program Manager & Volunteer Mentor, San Juan Islands Community Stewardship Corps, joined the Madrona Institute October 1, 2012 to direct the development of this new adult volunteer conservation initiative. She coordinated the WSU Extension Beach Watchers Program for the last five years, was an Instructor in Environmental Science at both Skagit Valley College and Spring Street International School for seven years, and served previously as Environmental Programs Coordinator for Friends of the San Juans and as Director of the San Juan Nature Institute. She has worked as a naturalist, fisheries biologist, and outreach specialist in a career dedicated to natural resources education, and continues to serve as a naturalist for the national Elderhostel/Road Scholar Program. A graduate of Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies and the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) with a Master of Science degree in Natural Resources Management, she is a member of the San Juan County Marine Resources Outreach Committee and a member and former Chair of the Stewardship Network of the San Juans.
Ronald A. Zee, President & CEO of the Madrona Institute, has been engaged in the field of leadership development for many years initiating capacity-building programs from the community to the international level. With over twenty-five years of management and development experience in the nonprofit sector, he has served in a variety of administrative roles previously – as founding Executive Director and Vice President of the Santa Fe Institute, Vice President of The Keystone Center, and Deputy Managing Director of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes. He worked for the U.S. Department of Energy in Santa Fe during the Carter Administration, for the Governor of New Mexico as a special assistant for energy policy, and served as an aide to former Vice President and U.S. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in Washington, DC. He has provided development counsel to various organizations including the National Tribal Environmental Council, the North American Institute, and the Aspen Institute for Global Climate Change. He has been an advisor to the American Indian Ambassadors Program, a national Native American leadership development program of Americans for Indian Opportunity since its inception in 1993. He has been a national board member of the American Leadership Forum and the Community Leadership Association, and is a charter member of the International Leadership Association. He is a co-founder of Leadership New Mexico and Leadership San Juan Islands. He has five years of teaching experience with instruction in leadership development, conflict resolution, and public policy. His background in local government includes serving on the San Juan County Agricultural Resources Committee for the past seven years, three of those as chair, and serving as past District Manager of the San Juan Islands Conservation District where he is the current Board Chair.
The Madrona Institute is most grateful for the generous support of its program activities from the following organizations: Puget Sound Partnership, San Juan Island Community Foundation, San Juan Masonic Lodge No.175, United Way of San Juan County, and the U.S. Department of the Interior: National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management.