Staff

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Staff

Top Row: Andrew Phay, Chris Clark, Frank Corey, Jeff Littlejohn, George Boggs, Katie Pencke, Emily Hirsch,  

Second Row:Corina Cheever, Wayne Chaudiere, Kristin Haider, Aneka Sweeney, Nichole Embertson

Front Row: Bill Bonsen, Dawn Bekenyi, Brandi Hutton, Meagan Harris, Jenny Coe, Scarlett Graham

 

George Boggs, Executive Director

George BoggsGeorge was hired in the spring of 1997 to fill the challenging role of District Coordinator. With two degrees, experience as a farmer, trustee of an irrigation district and attorney credentials, George is well qualified to meet this challenge. Assuming the Coordinator's position is a way to provide the farming community with leadership on the problems they face. George's diverse background and enthusiasm helps in the progress of preserving Whatcom County's natural resources. gboggs@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x115

 

 

Dawn Bekenyi, Administrative Assistant

Dawn BekenyiDawn has been with the District since November 1991. She is the office quarterback- some of her responsibilities include bookkeeping , clerical support, and reception. Dawn is another long time Whatcom County resident- having attended Ferndale High and Whatcom Community College. She is a big fan of baseball and rodeos. dlb@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x101

 

 

 

Andrew Phay, GIS Technician/Cartographer/IT Admin.

Andrew PhayAndrew came to the District straight from Western Washington University where he majored in environmental planning and minored in GIS. His cartographic and GIS skills have been used on most of the projects that have been done at the District. Andrew is the in-house network troubleshooter, database manager and the Webmaster for this website. Working along side NSEA Personnel, Andrew has also worked on stream projects with local schools. It allows the students to get a different look at the area around their schools and homes while helping them plan their projects. aphay@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x129

 

 

Habitat Program

Frank Corey, Resource Coordinator - Riparian Restoration

Frank CoreyFrank Corey joined the District staff January 5, 2004 to coordinate riparian restoration projects in cooperation with Whatcom County Public Works. Frank will be coordinating the activities of two Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department crews working to re-establish native plants on drainage and flood control projects.
Frank spent the last four years working for the Washington Conservation Corps, implementing riparian restoration projects for the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. Before that he spent many years growing and planting trees in nurseries and as a landscaper.
A Thurston County native, Frank has lived in Whatcom County for 20 years. As a child he split his summers between his grandparent’s 100 year old dairy farm in Oregon and his family property on the upper Nooksack River. After finishing Olympia High School, Frank earned an Associate of Science degree in Landscape Horticulture from South Puget Sound Community College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Western Washington University. fcorey@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x131

 

Wayne Chaudiere, Natural Resource Specialist - CREP/Firewise

Wayne ChaudiereWayne has been with the District since 1996. His responsibilities at the District include Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) project management, geographic information system (GIS) mapping and technical assistance for manure composting, farm planning and compliance with the County's Critical Areas Ordinance. Education and experience include a B.S. in Forestry, international resource management as a Peace Corps volunteer, stream restoration, agroforestry, forestry, forest surveying and road design and water quality and quantity monitoring. wchaudiere@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x116

 

Emily Hirsch, Natural Resource Specialist

Emily HirschEmily joined the District early in 2010 as the Plant Sale Intern and liked it so much she asked if she could stick around. Emily has assisted the District in several programs including monitoring CREP project sites, updating internal and state database records and conducting a survey of Whatcom County Ag for the WSDA.
Emily, a Midwest native, has a BS in both Biology and Geology from Western Kentucky University and moved to Bellingham in 2000. Prior to joining the District, Emily worked as a wetland ecologist for a private consulting firm. There she assisted clients with meeting land use objectives where critical areas and species are present. She has conducted numerous field investigations to delineate and characterize wetlands and streams in a variety of environments and worked with local, state and federal agencies.
She has also served as a Remediation System Operator and Environmental Technician for a Groundwater Extraction, Treatment and Recharge System and two Fuel Extraction Systems on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. She became a full-time employee in 2011, and continues to provide support for a variety of projects and offer her experience as a wetland specialist to the district. ehirsch@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x114

 

 

Farm Planning

Chris Clark, Engineer - Livestock

Chris ClarkChris joins the district team to help with nutrient management planning. Raised in the Skagit Valley, Chris worked for a family owned dairy in Burlington during high school. While earning a Biological Systems Engineering degree at WSU, Chris worked on a wheat farm, experimented growing forage crops on the Palouse and grew Holstein heifers. He enjoys working with farmers and solving problems with practical solutions. cclark@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x124

 

Bill Bonsen, Natural Resource Specialist

Bill BonsenIn 2006, Bill retired from NRCS after 47 of service, most of which was spent in Whatcom County. He has since returned to our office to help the WCD with design projects. Bill has not let health issues or retirement get in the way of his continued service to local ag producers. 360-526-2381 x112

 

 

Corina Cheever, Natural Resource Specialist

CorinaCorina joined the District in 2011 as a Livestock Planning Technician. She is here to assist landowners by providing technical assistance, farm plans and to answer other resource management questions. Corina grew up in Snohomish County and loved to feed the goats on day trips to her Aunt’s hobby farm. She graduated from Western Washington University where she spent four years earning a Bachelor of Science in Geology with an Environmental Concentration and exploring Whatcom County on foot, bike, and skis. During summer of 2014, she completed a bicycle trip across the US seeing the incredible beauty of the southern states. Prior to working for the District, Corina worked for Washington State Parks.  ccheever@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x104

 

Katie Pencke, Natural Resource Specialist

Katie Pencke joined the district in May of 2016 as a Livestock Planning Technician. She is here to assist landowners by providing technical assistance, farm plans and to answer other resource management questions.

A native of Seattle, Katie earned a bachelor’s of arts in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in Tucson in 2002. She worked for the next six years in the experiential environmental education field with youth, as a bi-lingual medical interpreter and health care educator, and gardener for Seattle Parks and Recreation. She joined the Seattle Tilth staff in 2008 and worked as an educator with that agency for the next seven years. In addition to managing Seattle Tilth learning gardens and teaching classes, she helped start a small farm incubator in South King County and managed a seven acre urban learning farm in Southeast Seattle for four years. Most recently she worked for the King Conservation District as a Farm Drainage Project Coordinator, helping farmers and rural landowners maintain farm drainage.   She moved to Everson with her family in early 2016 to pursue personal farming goals and a position with the Whatcom Conservation District. kpencke@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x105

 

Kristin Haider, Natural Resource Specialist

KristinKristin Haider joined the district in May of 2017 as a Livestock Planning Technician. She is here to assist landowners by providing technical assistance, farm plans and to answer other resource management questions.

Kristin has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and a M.S. in Ecology from Penn State where she studied soil ecology within a dairy cropping system experimental trial that looked at sustainable approaches to manure and weed management.  

Prior to joining the district, Kristin worked for the USDA, Agricultural Research Service in Madison, WI. At the USDA, Kristin was part of a team that studied cucumber genetics with the goal of developing enhanced germplasm. Kristin has also worked as an endangered species intern with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Elkins, WV, taught biology labs at the University of Mississippi, and worked in non-profit land conservation in Placer County, CA.

khaider@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x108

 

 

Dairy and Research

Nichole M. Embertson, Ph.D., Science and Planning Coordinator - Sustainable Livestock Production Program

Nichole EmbertsonDr. Nichole Embertson joined the District in 2008 as a Nutrient Management Specialist and Science and Planning Coordinator, and has been an adjunct at Washington State University since 2012. Nichole received her B.S. from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and M.S. from University of California Davis and Ph.D. from Colorado State University both in Environmental Management of Livestock Systems with a specialty in Air Quality. Dr. Embertson currently provides technical assistance on nutrient and environmental issues to farmers, agencies and industry and conducts research with livestock producers on effectiveness monitoring of conservation practices. She is leading the development of manure application risk management tools for producers including a real-time manure advisory, application risk management decision support tool, and on-line nutrient management planning. As of 2015, Nichole is also the Director of the new Washington Discovery Farms® program. Her experience with production needs, ecological systems, and manure management allows her a unique perspective in the development and delivery of information to producers, agencies, students, and communities alike. nembertson@whatcomcd.org 360-526-2381 x126

 

Scarlett Graham, Conservation Research Specialist

ScarlettScarlett Graham joined the District in 2016 as the Conservation Research Specialist. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, she received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Allegheny College in 2007. After a few years working in the private sector, she migrated to Washington where she received her M.S. in Environmental Science and Toxicology from Western Washington University. At the District, Scarlett uses her unique background in sediment cleanup projects, risk assessment, water quality modeling, and data analysis, coupled with her love of the outdoors and Whatcom County, to bring a new level of expertise to the District’s Conservation Research program. In particular, she provides technical and research support to various District programs through designing of field studies, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting research findings. One of the programs Scarlett currently supports is Washington Discovery Farms®, where she works with dairy producers to conduct edge-of-field water quality monitoring to determine the effectiveness of conservation practices. Scarlett’s work aims to support local landowners and farmers/producers in implementing better land conservation practices to preserve Whatcom County resources and farming.   sgraham@whatcomcd.org | 360-526-2381 x 117

 

Meagan Harris, Water Quality Data Coordinator

MegMeg joined the District in early 2017 to manage the water quality monitoring data for the Whatcom Clean Water Program. Meg works to ensure that water quality information is up-to-date and easily accessible to partner organizations and to the public. She provides support to the many programs in this county that preserve our water resources, protect human health, and support local agriculture.

Meg is not a stranger to working with environmental data; she has worked previously with the Washington Stormwater Center, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and Western Washington University- with a focus on all things water.

mharris@whatcomcd.org | 360-526-2381 x 107

 

 

Outreach and Education

Aneka Sweeney, M.Ed., Education Specialist

Aneka SweeneyAneka joined the district in 2014 to strengthen the community outreach and sustainable education programs.  Aneka works to enhance impact of district programs by working directly with community groups, school districts, state, county and city government as well as non-profit organizations to further the mission of Whatcom Conservation District.

A native of western Colorado, Aneka earned a bachelor’s of science in Biology with a minor in Environmental Restoration from Colorado Mesa University in 2001.  She then spent eight years as a Biological Science Technician for the USDA Forest Service in the Sierra Nevada of California.  She moved to Bellingham in 2008 to pursue a Masters of Education in Environmental Studies through Western Washington University.   After earning her degree in 2010 Aneka established and coordinated a youth environmental leadership program for North Cascades Institute, training the next generation of conservation stewards before starting with the District.  asweeney@whatcomcd.org or 360-526-2381 x103

 

Jenny Coe, Lake Whatcom HIP Coordinator

JennyJenny joined the District in early 2017 to take on the newly revamped Lake Whatcom Homeowner Incentive Program previously led by the City.  The program is part of a larger effort to reduce the phosphorus getting into the Lake through stormwater runoff.  Jenny thoroughly enjoys the social aspects of her work including connecting with people and empowering them to be stewards of a healthy environment and thriving community.

Jenny is no stranger to Conservation Districts.  She spent the past 15 years working with the neighboring Skagit Conservation District coordinating the Firewise Program, as well as working in other programs over the years such as CREP, youth education, outreach, and public relations. 

In her spare time, Jenny enjoys spending time with her 3 kids, enjoying the outdoors, taking dance classes, and enjoying all that is great about Bellingham.

jcoe@whatcomcd.org | 360-526-2381 x 106

 

 


 

Interns

Jeff Littlejohn, Community Development & Water Quality Assistant.

Jeff LittlejohnJeff started as a Backyard Monitoring volunteer in June 2015.  In October he was asked to join the district part-time as Community Development & Water Quality Assistant.  Jeff helps with the implementation of the Citizen Science and Landowner Engagement Program to enhance the efforts of the Whatcom County Public Works Pollution Identification and Correction Program and the City of Lynden Stormwater Community Education and Outreach Program.
 
By training, trade and passion Jeff is a community developer and naturalist.  He serves as the Executive Director of Imagine NW! an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) non-profit.  Jeff operates Visual Impressions, a video production group part of Imagine NW!.   When glaciers ruled Jeff was born in Washington D.C.; and has lived all over the U.S. and world.   A FAA certified Private Pilot; FAA registered Unmanned Aircraft System (drone) operator.  He studied at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Calvin Theological Seminary, and the ABCD Training Institute.
 
Jeff loves living in Washington State with the spectacular mountains, cold clear streams, the moss and lichen, the beaches…ocean, and even the rain are all highly valued.