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About Us

Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund
Advisory Board

The Gig Harbor Land Conservation Advisory Board is made up of a diverse group of community residents. We work together to raise dollars for the Fund and to select property projects to which those funds will be directed. In addition to our Advisory Board, we are proud to have many community volunteers helping grow this Fund.

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Advisory Board MEMBERS

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Robyn Denson (Chair) is a member of the Gig Harbor City Council. She is a long-time advocate for environmental causes and believes whole-heartedly that open spaces are important for the health of a community – people, plants and animals. Robyn was a founding Board Member of Harbor WildWatch, served four terms on the Gig Harbor Parks Commission and 2 terms on the Pierce County Conservation Futures Citizens Advisory Board. Robyn also wrote and managed two successful grant applications in 2021 for the conservation of  North Creek Salmon Habitat Site Phases 1 & 2 (sales pending). In her former life, Robyn was the Development Director for several large non-profit organizations and has also served as non-partisan policy staff for the Washington State House of Representatives.

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Jennifer Keating is an enrolled member of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and a Land Use Planner and Assistant Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. She has worked for her tribe for 14 years and and has served on multiple committees and commissions including the Planning Commission, Census Complete Count Committee, Chair of the Sustainability Group, Judicial Committee and serves as the Peninsula School District Native American Education Parent Representative. Jennifer enjoys advocating for tribal representation and natural/cultural resource protection for a better future for both Native and non-Native communities. Jennifer partnered with Robyn on the drafting and many presentations required for the Conservation Futures grant process to secure funding the North Creek Salmon Heritage Site Phases 1 & 2.

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Michael Behrens is a Professor of marine ecology at Pacific Lutheran University.  His current research focuses on the larval ecology and restoration of native oysters,  and community-based monitoring of rocky beaches in the South Puget Sound.  Much of this work is now in collaboration with Harbor WildWatch and University of Washington - Tacoma. He received his BS in Biology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  In addition to his job, Mike has worked with environmental education and conservation programs in California and Washington, most recently serving various roles with Harbor WildWatch. Through this work and his love outdoor recreation, Mike has expanded his view to the connections between the land and our waters. He is excited to work with Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund to help identify land to protect the organisms and ecosystem functions that they provide.

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Margarita Leas grew up in Colombia, where she graduated with an advanced degree in Business Administration and Marketing. She worked as a marketing executive at Suramericana de Seguros, one of the largest insurance companies in South America. In 2001 she met an American military member.  They dated for a year, and she moved to the United States 19 years ago to start her new life.  Since her husband served in the Coast Guard, they moved often, living in 5 different states before settling here in Washington. Within a year of moving to the United States, Margarita created Cultural Nexus LLC after realizing she could use her skills and bilingual ability to help Hispanic families adjust to American societal expectations and integrate into the American School System.  Margarita and her family moved to Gig Harbor in 2018 where they have put down roots and hope to flourish in, and contribute to, this culturally vibrant community.

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Lucy Zhou currently serves as Treasurer of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation. She has co-chaired many Tacoma Moon Festivals and annual auctions of CRPF since joining the board in 2014. This experience has also taught her that it’s never too late to get involved in the local community. Lucy has enjoyed living in Gig Harbor for 11 years and she loves to walk along the harbor and hike in the woods in her hometown. She regards it as an honor to serve on the Advisory Board for the Gig Harbor Land Conservation Fund, contributing in a small way to preserving the natural beauty of Gig Harbor. Lucy worked for many years as a biomedical research scientist in academia. She holds a PhD in molecular biology from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor's degree in medicine from Shanghai Medical University (now Fudan University).

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Diane Marcus - Jones has over 30 years of professional Natural Resource and Land Use planning experience with governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and consulting companies. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Management from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a Master of Science degree in Forest Ecology and Planning from the University of Washington. Prior to retiring, she worked for Pierce County as a Senior Planner for 17 years focusing on agriculture and forest lands. At Pierce County she oversaw the Transfer and Purchase of Development Rights program; a program which conserves properties of significant natural and cultural resources in perpetuity through conservation easements. She was also a founding board member of the Peninsula Heritage Land Trust (which is now a part of the Great Peninsula Conservancy). Diane and her family have lived in the Gig Harbor area for 40 years and she is dedicated to conserving the natural and historical beauty that abounds in this region.
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Want to Get Involved?

Do you have a skill you believe will benefit the Fund? Email us at ghlandfund.com. We need folks to help with fundraisers, administrative work, etc. and of course we'd love to get you on a list for our newsletter and upcoming events!

PresS

3.21.2024 Gig Harbor Now - North Creek - Quality over Quantity

3.11.2024 Gig Harbor Now - Environmental Salvagers Beat Buldozers to  Native Plants 

1.21.2022 MSN News/Patch - Gig Harbor Conservation Effort Aims To Preserve Natural Beauty

1.18.2022 Gig Harbor Now Article - New land conservation fund targets pockets in and around Gig Harbor

1.18.2022 Tacoma News Tribune Article - Is there Gig Harbor land you want to stay undeveloped? This nonprofit fund wants to know​

2.2023 Gig Harbor Living Local Jan/Feb 2023 - Gig Harbor Celebrates Environmental Conservation See page 34 for a spread about the North Creek Salmon Heritage Site with photos of one of our clean-up events!

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