Engaging youth in conservation and stewardship in the San Juan Islands is the primary mission of the Madrona Institute. A secondary mission is to educate citizens of the San Juans on issues of significance to our community, such as climate change, agricultural sustainability, and biodiversity.
The Madrona Institute operates at the nexus of citizenship, leadership, stewardship, and partnership… building capacity for community resilience in the years ahead, with special emphasis on conservation of natural resources. The Madrona Institute was incorporated in 2005, received its non-profit status from the IRS in 2006, and began program operations in 2009.
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. 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 work at the Madrona Institute is lead by:
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.
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. He is a co-founder of Leadership New Mexico and Leadership San Juan Islands. With over twenty-five years of management and development experience in the nonprofit sector, he has served in a variety of administrative roles. In addition to public service at the state and federal levels, his background in local government includes serving on the San Juan County Agricultural Resources Committee for 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. He and his family operate a small organic farm on San Juan Island.