We See Possibilities
Liz Kaster is the Manager of the Active Transportation COI. She has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning and has spent the last eight years working with communities across the Northwest to make it safe, easy, and fun to walk, bike, skateboard, and take transit. Liz lives in Tacoma and loves that her role with the PWI allows her to forge strong partnerships throughout the Watershed and collaboratively address critical community priorities, like Safe Routes to School and connecting the trail network.
Gwen Vernon comes to PWI's Agriculture Community of Interest with a passion for sustainable food and farming systems, and 17+ years of experience in resource conservation consulting and education. She completed Washington State University's "Cultivating Success: Agricultural Entrepreneurship" program in 2012 and holds degrees in Spanish, International Studies, and Education. Gwen is fluent in Spanish, having lived in Colombia and Spain. She is excited to use her knowledge, networks, and organizational strengths to coordinate the Ag COI.
I am Jenn Grimm and I live in Seattle. I am the manager for the Environmental Education COI (EECOI). My adventure with PWI began as the coordinator for the Biodiversity COI, but when it closed down I was selected to be the manager for the EECOI. I have degrees in Marine Science, Education, and Marine Policy. My past positions include working for small and large non-profits, city government, and a state university. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines helping with coastal resources management. I love to travel, photography, reading, and exploring the outdoors.
Sherry Graham is originally from Indiana but, through career and education, has had the pleasure of living in many great places across the country. Sherry earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management from West Virginia University in 2004. In 2015, she earned a Masters in Natural Resources Management from North Carolina State University.
Between 2006 and 2010, Sherry lived and worked in the state of Washington. During that time, she was a forester for the WADNR where she developed a deep appreciation for the state's beauty and abundant natural resources. Upon completion of her Master's, Sherry returned to Washington and is ecstatic to be a part of the Forests Community of Interest in the role of Coordinator. Sherry is committed to helping people understand that a healthy earth is the only path to a healthy human race. She lives in the Theater District in Tacoma and works from a home office as Coordinator for the Forests COI. What brought me to the FCOI: A deep appreciation for the ways in which the PWI dovetails perfectly with my career goals and interests.
Carrie has been a resident of Tacoma for over 10 years, choosing to live here after completion of her military service. She earned a BS in Environmental Science from UW Tacoma, and has been strongly involved in community and volunteer activities throughout the Puyallup Watershed. Carrie was introduced to the Puyallup Watershed Initiative wile working for a local nonprofit. She was first involved in the Environment Education COI, and then helped start the Industrial Stormwater COI. Carrie is invested in the PWI because she believes it has the power to continue to make the Puyallup Watershed a great place to live.
Just and Healthy Food System
Brandi Yañez-Riddle (Qulla-Quechua) lives in Central Tacoma with her family and is a recent first generation graduate from the UW’s College of Built Environments – Community, Environment & Planning Program. She has a passion for food justice and indigenous food sovereignty work and is amazed at the power of food to bring people together. Her favorite book is Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book because food analogies are fun! She now proudly serves as the Coordinator for the Just & Healthy Food System COI.
Sarah joined the Puyallup Watershed Initiative in September of 2017. Serving as Office Manager, she manages the day-to-day operations including office systems, event planning, and facilities management. Sarah was born and raised in Seattle, and has been a Pierce County resident for the last 17 years. Prior to joining the PWI, Sarah worked in aerospace as an Office Manager/Executive Assistant, with extensive experience in administrative support, quality systems, vendor relations, and procurement.
Jennifer joined the Puyallup Watershed Initiative (PWI) in September of 2015. Her PWI journey began years before as a nonprofit participant, and evolved to include co-management of a Community of Interest and eventually Initiative-wide support as a PWI Community Relations Manager. Now, she welcomes the opportunity to serve as PWI Acting Director supporting the Initiative's growth and development into an independent, community-based nonprofit. Jennifer was born and raised in Tacoma, and managed regional projects around urban green space restoration and environmental education prior to joining the PWI. Jennifer holds a Master of Public Administration and B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences both from the University of Washington.
Community Relations Manager
April joined the Puyallup Watershed Initiative in spring of 2017. She serves as the Community Relations Manager for Equity and Strategy. April has deep experience in non?profit management and community engagement. Prior to joining the Puyallup Watershed Initiative, April directed a grassroots non?profit in King County that developed the leadership of LGBTQ communities of color. She has a proven history of successfully engaging regional and national networks in addition to helping non?profits structure their boards. April holds an MBA in Nonprofit Management and a M.A. in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, as well as a B.A. in International Studies from University of Washington.