Jennifer Weddle, Co-Executive Director
Jennifer Weddle (MSc, MIT) grew up on the east coast, attended college in Washington, and has been living in and learning about the Okanogan since 2009. Jen served as a member of OHA's board from 2012-2019 and is excited to be taking on a leadership role as Co-Executive Director. She also enjoys her work as part-time teacher at the Tonasket Outreach Program. Jen and her husband, Jordon, have two children in elementary school, and she loves spending time her family, being outside, running, and reading.
Sarah Kliegman, Co-Executive Director
Sarah Kliegman, Ph.D. was born in Tonasket, WA and grew up in the highlands. Her involvement with OHA started at a young age, and OHA’s work to stop the open pit gold mine inspired her educational pursuits. She earned degrees at Reed College and University of Minnesota. Subsequently, she worked as an environmental chemistry researcher and a chemistry professor. Sarah loves to share and prepare meals with the plentiful produce of the Okanogan, travel and meet new people, and explore the natural world by foot, by bicycle, or on skis wherever she goes.
Julie Vanderwal, Conservation Coordinator
Julie Vanderwal has worked at the intersection of environmental science and education for over 20 years. She holds degrees in environmental technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and child development/education from Barstow College, and has a teaching permit for enrichment programs. Julie has taught in outdoor education and public school contexts, working with all ages in Southern British Columbia, Northern California, South Eastern Quebec, and North Central Washington. Since 2010, she has worked as Conservation Coordinator for OHA, developing and coordinating OHA’s education and restoration programs. When not working, Julie can be found in her garden, skiing, biking, hiking, playing music, or exploring the outdoors with her daughter.
David Kliegman, Executive Director Emeritus
David was a founding member of OHA and worked as a volunteer before becoming staff in 1994. Working as a legal liaison for OHA, he coordinated a campaign that used science and the law to stop the large-scale, open-pit, cyanide-leach mine proposal on Buckhorn Mountain in 2000. Since then he has persistently scrutinized the subsequent underground mine, urging the mining company and regulatory agencies to do their jobs to reduce environmental damage. Under David’s leadership, OHA purchased and maintains the Lost Lake Wetland and Wildlife Preserve, and began and sustains robust education and restoration programs. David enjoys his family, being outdoors, hiking, and gardening. He is a woodworker, manages a woodlot, and operates a portable sawmill. He has made the Okanogan Highlands his home since 1980.
George Thornton, President
George Thornton was born and raised in the Oroville area, growing up on a small family farm. Aside from college years, he has lived his entire life in the area. Through his US Forest Service and personal experience, he has hiked most of Okanogan Highlands. George taught high school for 33 years, and worked summers for the Forest Service for over 20 years, primarily doing vegetation surveys. He is retired but is involved in a variety of community and civic organizations and County committees. George has always had a strong connection to the land and nature. His background in education, economics, and geography connect him with the goals and activities of OHA. He appreciates OHA as a recognized voice for nature, safe water, and sound, sustainable economic development in our region. George has been a board member since 2010 and is currently Board President.
Lisa Eversgerd, Vice President
Lisa Eversgerd moved to the Okanogan Highlands in 2008. Soon after, she joined OHA and was elected to the Board of Directors. After 16 years running a Wilderness Trail Crew for the Forest Service, Lisa is now a small business owner and runs an organic farm, providing produce for her rural neighbors in the highlands. Lisa loves all aspects of OHA's work and is especially interested in the restoration program and positively impacting the watersheds of the Okanogan Highlands. She is Vice President of the Board and serves on the Get Lost! Trail Race committee and the Hiring Committee.
Hanna Kliegman, Treasurer
Hanna Kliegman has made the Okanogan Highlands her home since the fall of 1980. Her children were born and grew up in the here. Hanna worked as Technology Director at Tonasket School District until retiring. Hanna has been involved with OHA from early on and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1996. From the early days of the organization, many OHA tasks and meetings took place at the Kliegman home, their whole family participated, and OHA has been large part of Hanna’s life. She has folded many a newsletter, reviewed articles and documents, cooked numerous meals for board members and organizational events, attended countless meetings with agency personnel and government leaders, and helped organize many fundraisers. She is currently on the Executive Committee serving as Treasurer, and is on the Get Lost! Trail Race committee, the Education Committee, and the Hiring Committee.
Tyler Graves, Secretary
Tyler Graves teaches middle and high school students who are learning English as a Second Language at the Tonasket School District. He has three young children, and enjoys the outdoors -- hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping with his wife and family. Tyler values OHA’s mission and sees many ways for us to preserve and conserve the natural world around us. He has been a board member since 2014.
Jerushah Ramos moved to the Okanogan in 2013, and is a mother, a small farm employee, and an aspiring small farm owner. Her interest in OHA began with learning about the organization’s local restoration projects, and was furthered by her desire to support safe and clean watersheds. Jerushah has been a board member since 2017, and has served as OHA’s volunteer Community Liaison since 2016, working with students in the classroom and providing support for the Highland Wonders education program.
Ossitta Richtree is an in-home healthcare provider. She likes to swim, bird watch, and has a special interest in recycling. Ossitta has been a supporter and active in OHA since the beginning, she is particularly concerned about the mining issues that OHA is working on. She serves on the Fundraising Committee and has been a board member since 2007.
Rick Massey was appointed to the OHA board in September 2019, and brings fresh perspectives, resources, and connections to the organization. He has special interests in protecting the wild places around Tonasket, and in developing a larger network of trails and areas for recreation and education. Rick shared with OHA, “When I was a kid, mountain biking and being outdoors was one of the main things my family did together. I would love to have our kids grow up with access to a wonderful network of trails. My greatest hope is to raise the next generation to protect and cherish our local outdoor spaces.” Rick grew up in a small town on the “wet side” of the state, lived in California and Japan, and returned to Washington fifteen years ago. Rick and his family moved to Tonasket about five years ago to be closer to his wife’s (Erin VanderStoep’s) family. They have two boys, Sol (age six) and Abe (age one), who are already learning to be outdoor adventurers.